I have been anticipating this moment for months. I have finally received copies of the DVDs put out by Annie’s, featuring back issues of Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework magazines. There are 4 DVD collections in all: Just Cross Stitch Collection 1991-2000; Just Cross Stitch Collection 2001-2010; Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Collection 1997-2013; and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartlery Collection 2001-2010. The price of the SAN collection is $59.95, while the two JCS collections are each $49.95. The ornaments collection is only $29.95. I now have all of these DVDs available in my store at www.crossstitchers.com
The DVDs all feature every page from every issue of the magazines. So you will get the cover, letter from the editor, all charts including their color photography, and yes, the advertisements. Of course, many of the ads will no longer be valid. Discount codes for websites will long be expired, and many of the companies listed will be out of business by now. Most likely, you won’t be able to purchase any of the materials packs from the back of the issues. But it’s fun to watch the ads evolve. In the early 90s issues no listings had website addresses. In the late 90s they started appearing more frequently but they were not your typical .com addresses of today. Remember things like http://www.geocities.com/something/somethingelse/yetanothersomething.html? And of course the latest ads nearly all feature the .com addresses we are used to.
In order to view the files on the DVDs you need to have Adobe Reader on your computer. This is available for free download if you don’t have it, but most computers will already have it installed. The files are all .pdf format. The charts are mostly in black and white, which is great for those who only have a black and white printer. In the later years, a few charts here and there do have backstitch lines in colors such as blue and red. But I noticed that not all charts have this. And I did not notice any charts on the 1991-2000 disc having color lines. Printing charts is easy. Just click the print button and choose which page(s) you want to print. Careful, if you don’t specify a page to print it will start printing the entire magazine, which is around 70 pages.
If you have an older, slower computer you might find that the DVDs take a while to start running and then to turn each page. But any of the newer systems will not have any problem at all reading the issues. With Adobe Reader you can view each page as large as you need to, making it possible to read the articles right on your computer without printing them out. Remember, you have to have the DVD in the drive in order to read the issues. Take it out and you can longer access the content. Unless you copy the issues to your computer, that is. And doing so may speed up the process of reading compared to trying to read off of the DVD. Because I live in a household where electronics often get ruined (the kids have so far managed to kill two laptops and a backup drive) I will make a backup of the DVDs “just in case” on my cloud storage. I know that no matter how hard I try to protect these discs, they WILL eventually get stepped on, scratched up, or just plain lost. So no matter what my little terrors do to my computer, the data on these discs will be safe.
I have included a few snapshots from the magazines. Of course, for copyright reasons, I cannot include actual charts or articles. But you can see that the covers as well as the individual project photos are in full color. The table of contents for most issues give you an idea of what’s inside that issue. And the charts are in black and white with symbols, which are easy to print. The earlier magazines are all scanned in. You can tell because often times you can see writing “through” the pages. In other words, when looking at a photograph you might be able to faintly see some type coming through from the other side of the page. It appears that the later issues are digital copies. The pages are probably the same as what the layout editors created on the computer initially. Sometimes when loading a page, you first see the background, then the “layers” all start to fall into place. This is different from just taking a back issue of the magazine and scanning it in, which would make each image “flat”. So the later the issues get, the better the quality should be. But even the issues from 1991 are plenty good enough to read and print.
Even if you have the print issues already, these DVD collections make a great addition to your stitching library. They make printing out charts a snap, if you’re the type of stitcher who likes to photocopy the charts prior to stitching so that the magazine stays in pristine condition. I am that type of stitcher! The other day while flipping through some back issues of Just Cross Stitch, I found a chart I wanted to stitch. Instead of scanning in the chart and then printing it, I simply put in my DVD and found that issue. I printed out the chart and key and I was ready to go.
I am delighted with these DVDs and can’t wait for more to come out. It would be wonderful to get older issues of both Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework. Of course, these DVDs were probably a time consuming project and I would assume the publishers want to see how well these sell before going back even further.
You can purchase all 4 DVDs here: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/textsearch.php?term=dvd
***Please note that this review was my own opinion. Annie’s did not ask me to review these DVDs or send me free copies. I purchased the DVDs directly from Annie’s with my wholesale account in order to sell them in my cross stitch store. My review is based upon my own personal purchase of these products***