10 November 2010

Changes at UK Cross Stitcher

I stopped last night and picked up some of the new UK stitching magazines for the month. I got the new issue of Cross Stitch Collection, which I love! The Joan Elliott angel is just amazing. There are a couple other charts in there that are making me beg for more stitching time.

I had to decide between Cross Stitch Crazy and UK Cross Stitcher. I've been buying Crazy for 10 years, and I love it, but Cross Stitcher changed their format this month (it seems like they just changed it a few months ago besides), and so I decided to go the Cross Stitcher route this trip and get Crazy the next time I'm at the bookstore.

I was hopeful for Cross Stitcher. The cover was very retro; red and white with 50s-style writing. The back shows a pillow with a Jack Russell on it. And they sealed the deal with a Margaret Sherry Christmas stocking. LOVE LOVE LOVE. There were some pretty ornaments on the cover, a couple nice ones in the back.

But, reading the magazine . . . uggh. They are changing the format, it feels like, to show you how to use the designs in your home and how to embellish stuff you buy at the store into personalized gifts. And, in doing so, they seem to have lost the very essence of what I love about British magazines.

I started buying UK magazines because they were "chatty." American magazines present the designs, present a few letters with a picture or two, rarely with the stitchers' faces, have ads. British magazines have always felt like a stitching retreat to me: jovial people show off their stitching, they tell the story of how they made it, there's always something you're dying to stitch, it's fun, it's a gathering of people who genuinely ENJOY stitching.

Well, this new format feels so cold and "designer-y", it's like the stitchers left the table. I don't think you can fill a year of a magazine teaching people how to embellish packets of seeds. Maybe it's the fact that I can find (and have been finding) similar designs for free all year. And the finishing techniques are not radically different than the ones that they have always had. Wouldn't it be better to leave the format alone (if you're Number 1, you're doing something right), and maybe, once every few months, have a very special issue focused on finishing? Am I far off in this?

They do have a nice freebie kit this month. It's gingham hearts to stitch and stuff. Next month's freebie, if it makes it to the US, is a Scandanavian dove garland. But I have a bad feeling about the future of my buying the magazine because I looked at the "next month" page, a guilty pleasure, but one I love like I love cake, and it left me very flat. In contrast, when I opened that page in Cross Stitch Collection, it was like the heavens opened up and angels sang in a beam of light (Collection does that to me quite regularly, hopefully I'm not the only one who gets a bit excited at that page).

The biggest thing though, that let me know we have a problem is that I opened the December US Cross Stitcher, and want to stitch basically everything in there. There was a time where I disliked US Cross Stitcher and wouldn't have stitched a single thing, but it says worlds about how far they've come that I found more to stitch in that very simple magazine than in this one.

I hope this post doesn't come across as overly negative. I do appreciate that there are other segments of stitchers than I. And that I am a bit cranky and set in my ways. I am willing to give this a few more issues to see how the dust settles.
Perhaps I'm a bit jaded due to stitching smaller designs this year, and I'm willing to see how it falls out. But I'm not sure, given how much some of the other magazines have improved, that I can keep it up if it's not grabbing my attention.

Anyone else bought this and have thoughts?


Annie said...

Interesting. I haven't checked out the new format yet and I hadn't been paying attention to the US Cross Stitcher either. I guess they all do what they think they have to try to survive. Time for a trip to B&N to see what I'm missing!

Mother of Mayhem said...

I am a long-time buyer of UK stitching magazines and a new reader to cross stitching blogs. I agree with you wholeheartedly about UK Cross Stitcher. Although I like the fonts and some of the stylistic changes that were made, I don't like the direction it is going in either. They seem to be sacrificing patterns, both large and small, for quick tips and ways to use your cross stitch in the home. The tone of the magazine has changed. I agree that Cross Stitch Collection's offerings were great this month and, hopefully, they will stay the same. As far as US mags, I like JustCrossStitch the best. I will also give UK Cross Stitcher a few more issues to change my mind, but I was disappointed in its new direction.

Vicky said...

I stopped buying UK magazines ages ago mainly because I had so many and here in Australia you could only get UK xstitch mags. Now I have done a complete turnaround and have subscribed to SC.

Bette said...

You are absolutely correct in your feelings. I just received last months and this months issues yesterday. Found very little in either on that I would stitch. Same thing happened with Quick & Easy. Loved that origianl magazine. They they changed it to Cross Stitch & Paper Crafts. Dropped that subscription real fast. I may switch to World of Cross Stitching or Cross Stitch Crazy. I still love both of them.

Gillie said...

I don't buy British magazines (and I'm a Brit, lol), they are far too cutesy for my taste and seem to stitch entirely with Aida!

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls