As you might have noticed from the pictures of my craft room, I have collected a large array of craft books. I love to stitch designs from them, pick up tips or get some inspiration. Another good source for designs, tips and inspiration are embroidery magazines, but there are quite a lot to choose from. I will talk you through some of my favourites.
I subscribe to Inspirations magazine. It is published 4 times a year in Australia but if you don’t live there, the best thing to do is to subscribe through Manor House Magazines in the UK. They are their European agents and the subscription rates work out far better than when ordering from Australia. The magazine’s tagline is: “The World’s most beautiful embroidery magazine”, and this is truly the case. It features beautiful stump work, whitework, goldwork and needle painting projects, to name just a few. Every magazine features very different and very original projects, some aimed at beginners but many for those who have some experience in embroidery. The instructions are always very clear and include close-up pictures of unusual techniques and stitches. Every magazine includes a lift-out pattern sheet with all of the full-size patterns on it.
Besides Inspirations, I subscribe to two french magazines, Broderie Créative and Création Point de Croix. Both magazines usually have theme, which in Broderie Créative usually is an embroidery technique and in Creation Point de Croix a seasonal theme. Another really good french embroidery magazine was Il était un fil. Unfortunately that magazine is discontinued but if you do come across some back issues do have a look, as they feature some lovely projects and some nice background information on designers and techniques.
I don’t subscribe to any UK embroidery magazines as I find their European subscription prices too expensive especially compared to their original UK price. Most of them are available as a digital download, which is cheaper, but I am probably too old fashioned as I still prefer an actual magazine rather than a digital one. I just love flicking through an actual magazine whilst sitting on the sofa with a nice cup of tea (and a cake ;-)). Swiping through one is just not the same for me!
However, I really enjoy these magazines and when we are in the UK I always buy them (Cross stitch collection, The World of Cross Stitching, Crosssticher, Stitch etc.) from a local newsagent. I don’t only buy them for the designs but also to keep up to date with new products and check out the advertisements for local needlecraft shops we can visit when we are on holiday. Some of the UK cross stitch magazines are available in The Netherlands too. Since their cover prices is usually at least double the original UK price, I only buy them if they feature a couple of designs I actually would like to stitch.
Such a thing happend last Friday when we were in Amsterdam and I popped into Waterstones. It is Waterstones’ only branch in The Netherlands and whenever I am in Amsterdam I like to visit it to browse for new books (albeit that their craft section is not great) and to look at the magazines. I picked up a copy of Cross Stich Crazy which featured a free wooden cross stitch pendant to embroider. I had spotted these types of wooden pendants before at recent shows but couldn’t think what I would use it for and whether it would any fun to stitch as they are quite small. Since I really liked the floral designs for the free gift I decided to buy the magazine to see whether I would like stitching on wood.
I stitched the tag yesterday and it was so much fun to do. I had never stitched such a small design which could be finished in just an afternoon. It is very rewarding and easy to do so I think I will pick some different shaped pendants at the next show and start designing my own. I will be visiting the Handwerkbeurs in Zwolle in three weeks time so hopefully I will be able to buy some there!
The only thing I found when stitching, was that the brown colour inside the holes rubbed off on some of the light coloured threads. This meant I had to change threads more often, and use shorter lengths of thread. Does anyone know whether this always happens or because it was a free gift with a magazine (and maybe a of a lesser quality)?
Something I have not mentioned and that you might be wondering about: are there any dutch embroidery magazines? Yes there are, or at least yes there is. It is called Borduurblad. Translated literally it means Embroidery magazine but it really only features cross stitch designs. I sometimes buy it at a show or at my local newsagents if it features a nice design but the magazine, I am sad to say, is not one of my favourites. The magazine does not have many pages and a large number of them are taken up by a catalogue of all the designs and threads you can order. The magazine therefore only features about six designs. It also hasn’t got any background stories, letters or articles about new items or books. All of the other magazines I have talked about feature these, and these features make an embroidery magazine fun to read. Otherwise, a magazine becomes merely a source of reference.
In other news: I have finished four drawers of my embroidery cabinet. I am really happy with the way they turned out. Do let me know what you think! I will leave the final two drawers until I have decided which items I want to store in them.