“ Cross-stitch is a popular form of embroidery which uses X-shaped stitches to create a design or picture. Cross-stitch enthusiasts are often on the look out for new or unusual patterns and special interest cross-stitch magazines can be great for this. Tell us about your tips and favourite cross-stitch ideas. „
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I have been an avid cross stitcher since I was a little girl - I find it relaxing and its great to see a stitched picture take shape as you work your way through it. There are loads of online shops where you can buy kits from, and there are also several magazines which you can buy on the subject.
These titles include:
Cross Stitch Gold
Quick and Easy Cross Stitch
Cross Stitch Crazy
I have bought and read all of these magazines in the past, and though they are all on the same subject, I find them to be totally different.
Quick and Easy Cross Stitch and Cross Stitch Crazy focus on the busy stitcher that completes small projects like cards, and small scenes or pictures. I find the charts to be of a lesser quality than I'd perhaps like - they dont use backstitch or fractional stitches to their full potential as they are focusing on time here rather than the neatness of the picture. As a result of this I find the designs are often very "blocky" - they would look so much better with smooth edges, but this takes more time.
Cross Stitch Gold features more advanced pictures - often very large with stunning images. These will take the stitcher much longer, and are not aimed at beginners. This is more in the region of what I would expect a cross stitch magazine to be about - quality pictures that you have to put the time into to get the desired result.
Cross Stitcher, in my opinion, is the best cross stitch magazine out there. Often you get a free gift with the magazine, this is usually a free kit, and the quality of these free kits are amazing. At the moment I am doing one of these free kits (which is a Margaret Sherry Cattitudes kit) for my Mum for her birthday. You get all the threads pre-sorted for you, and the kit comes with everything you need such as needle, fabric etc. Compared to the quality of other magazine's free gifts, these ones really do stand a cut above the rest. Cross Stitcher normally features a variety of charts - small ones for cards or towels, medium sized pictures and large masterpieces. They cater for everyone and the charts are always of a high quality and often by well known designers.
All the magazines are roughly priced the same at around £4, and all will include a few pages on how to get started if you are a beginner, but try Cross Sticher before you try any of the others as it's the better of them.
Whilst travelling back on the train from a works conference quite a few years ago now (before marriage and children entered my life), I noticed a colleague doing some sort of sewing. When I asked her about it, she explained that it was cross stitching and a hobby she had been doing for many years. As she explained more about it, I became quite interested. As she bought the magazine regularly and didn't always have time to do the free kits, she promised to bring one into work for me to try......
And so another cross stitch fan was created!!
I started buying Cross Stitcher shortly after and still buy it to this day. The only difference is now I subscribe.
Anyway, onto the magazine itself.
Cross Stitcher is published by Future publishing and comes out on a monthly basis. It costs £3.35 and has approximately 100 pages.
Every month you receive a free gift - be it a little kit to sew, a container to keep threads in or a project organiser to keep your charts etc in.
Every month the magazine publishes the following;
Dates for your diary which includes any stitching event that will be happening in the coming month.
A 'dear Cathy' letters page where people write in with pictures of completed kits they have sewn, or projects they are currently working on.
A number of charts are printed every month as well. These charts are printed in colour so it makes them easier to follow and a key chart is also printed so you know which colour to sew where. It prints a 'shopping list' for each design telling you what size needle to buy, how much fabric, what size frame etc. It will sometimes give you a step by step for a certain stitch. It will also list all the stitches that will be used for the project, how long it will take to complete, and whether it will be suitable for beginners. It will also give advice on how to complete each specific project.
As a subscriber I have an extra section called 'subscribers' extras' which includes competitions and additional small projects for you to complete.
A section called 'Crossstitcher Club' where people write in and discuss projects they are undertaking, cross stitch clubs that readers have formed, penpals, design a chart, and readers writing in asking for help if they are looking for a certain kit which they cannot find, magazines they want to buy etc.
'Ask the Experts' section where you can write in with any problems you have with your sewing and get some good advice from the magazine staff.
'Buy the best' section which goes through top selling kits and any new kits that are on the market and give a rating on them.
'Beginners start here' section which gives advice to people who have never cross stitched before - for example how to start, what size needle is used, different types of fabric etc.
A 'Just for fun' section which includes competitions.
A 'Wise words' section which is words of wisdom. Some of these which can be quite funny.
A good thing which they do is certain projects featured in the magazine, you can buy the kit directly from them. This saves you the hassle of finding a sewing shop and travelling to it, buying the correct amount of fabric, finding the right size needle and spending ages looking for the correct thread. If you are a subscriber you can have them cheaper than someone who buys the magazine from a shop.
A great variety of designs are printed - such as DMC's Flower Fairies, Designer Stitches Popcorn the bear, Tina Wenke's spring sampler, valentine card designs by the likes of Sheila Hudson, Margaret Sherry and Maria Diaz, wall hangings by Joan Elliott, Lily of the Valley designs by Joanne Sanderson, a baby sampler by Gail Bussi and Lesley Teare's London Guard. These are just the ones that appear in this issue!!
Others that have been featured in previous issues include designer stitches Winnie the Pooh collection, DMC's Country Companions, Anchor's Me to You Tatty Ted and Friends, and Fay Whittakers All Our Yesterdays.
Apart from the normal stranded cotton which is the most commonly used (comes in a wide variety of colours. It is sold in what is called a skein, which means six individual strands which have been twisted together to make a thicker thread. When sewing you will normally use two or three of these), the magazine also includes charts with specialist threads used such as metallic and light effects (light effects threads are fluorescent, glow in the dark and precious metal thread to name a few), with instructions on how to use.
The fabrics which are covered in this magazine are;
Aida - This one is used the most for cross stitching. It comes in a large variety of colours which are easily available in sewing shops and is known by its count (holes per inch). The most commonly used size is 14 count (14 holes per inch). It works out that the higher the count, the smaller the holes will be. I normally work with a 14 or 16 count fabric. This is quite a stiff fabric and because of the regular weave, makes it a good choice for a beginner.
Evenweave - Again this comes in a variety of colours and is readily available. It is also referred to by its count, but because every cross stitch is worked over two vertical and horizontal threads the count will be higher. For example 28 count evenweave only has 14 stitches per inch, but 28 threads in the inch, as you sew over two each time (very confusing!). This is a softer fabric than Aida, but would more suitable for advanced stitchers. To be honest, I have never tried using this as it sounds too confusing - I think I would lose track along the way and go back to stitching over one thread instead of two.
Waste Canvas - This is Aida but what you can do with this is tack it to a tee shirt, pillowcase, bath towel etc and sew your design on the canvas. Once finished you lightly dampen the waste canvas and remove it with a tweezers. You pull it from the side and top and each section of thread will come loose. This allows you to stitch a design on anything you want, but without having to have aida on display all the time, which could ruin the effect.
Some of the stitches featured in the magazine are cross stitch, half stitch, back stitch, fractional stitches and french knots, to name a few. They are all used in cross stitch projects. A cross stitch is in the shape of a cross, half stitch is half a cross, back stitch is straight lines normally used to outline your work, fractional stitches are used when two colours need to go in the same square, french knots are little knots used for eyes, buttons etc.
My favourite section of the magazine is the 'Dear Cathy' section as reading how other people are working can motivate you along with your own project.
My favourite designer is Fay Whittakers and her 'All Our Yesterdays' collection, based on her paintings. (For those of you not familiar with her work it normally includes victorian dressed children)
My favourite section of the magazine is the 'Dear Cathy' section as reading how other people are working can motivate you along with your own project.
This is an ideal magazine for someone who has been doing cross stitching for many years as there are projects for experienced sewers, plus it is also suitable for beginners as there is always a project that would suit them, plus the 'Beginners start here' section. It is also suitable for someone who has never even tried cross stitching before as with the free kit that comes with the magazine, plus the step by step instructions on how to do it - it is a small enough project to have a go at - thats how I started!!
I would recommend this magazine.
Please note that this review has previously been published on Ciao website under my user name Welshfruitbat
You may not immediately associate former General Secretary of the TUC Norman Willis with a needle and thread, but prepare to be shocked. I have been getting Cross Stitcher on and off since last year, and did a double take when I read his regular column, now called Norman’s Month. Far from being a gimmick, Norman Willis is a keen stitcher, and very active - even stitching signs for a tea room, and for the members room of the Embroiderers’ Guild at Hampton Court palace. Norman’s column is a welcome reminder that cross stitching, and needlework in general is not an exclusively female pastime. This is reflected in the charts featured in Cross Stitcher magazine - although there are a lot of floral designs, birds, gardens, samplers and cottages feature, as well as designs aimed at, or rather for, children. There is a particularly appealing set of Kipper designs in the January 2001 issue, taken from the book Classic Storybook Cross-stitch by Gilliam Souter, and from original artwork by Mick Inkpen, the author and illustrator of the fantastic Kipper books. Each month Cross Stitcher magazine features a free gift on the cover, usually in the form of a pre-printed colour card mount and a chart, also containing the Aida fabric, threads and a needle to stitch it with. These cover kits are simple enough for most beginners to try and small enough to do in an evening. Instructions on how to complete the kit are featured in the magazine. The Postbag, in the first few pages of the magazine is always lively, and is full of letters and photographs from readers keen to show their work off. The Star Letter earns its writer a prize - usually a cross stitch kit, and the First Past The Post award goes to the reader who sends in a photograph of a piece stitched from the magazine the quickest. There are several competitions in each issue of Cross Stitcher, ranging from competitions such as the January 2001
competition to win one of ten prizes of five Disney kits, to prize draws for books and kits. You & Your Stitching features photographs sent in by readers who pose with a finished piece that they have stitched from any issue of Cross Stitcher. This months winner won a camera. For the more spiritual stitcher, there are charts for Chinese New Year cards in the January 2001 issue, as well as Russell Grant, Cross Stitcher’s resident astrologer, who has a page full of predictions every month. Cross Stitcher also features projects that stretch across several issues, a good example being the afghan in the January issue, with a bunny design for each month of the year, to be collected over the course of four magazines during 2001, Cross Stitch Answers provides a form to fill in to send your question to the experts, the Helpdesk, which features the answers to questions sent in by readers, and chart and kit reviews. The Know How section features guides on different embroidery stitches - although invariably the charts in Cross Stitcher are (you guessed it) for cross stitch - and instructions on how to use unusual threads, or other stitching related tips, such as how to wash your work. In each issue are true-life stories from readers, ranging from cosy tales of families sharing a stitching hobby, to triumphs over adversity. There is also the occasional stitching related short story, of the five minute tea break kind, although I am not sure that many of the readers would have time for tea, as they seem to stitch almost as often as they breathe. Another tea break type feature is the Puzzles page, which features a word search and a Prize Crossword. The Stitchers’ Shopping Bag is one of the last features, and highlights new kits, and diary dates of stitching related events. Throughout Cross Stitcher there is quite a lot of advertising, which is actually a good thing, rather than an ann
oyance - I often buy magazines like this for the adverts! Many stitchers find themselves miles from the nearest needlecraft shop, and some may have mobility problems, so mail order has always been a popular medium for shopping, as is the Internet for those stitchers who are online. Cross Stitcher also has a web site directory, which features a growing number of adverts for stitch related sites. There is even a web site associated with Cross Stitcher magazine: www.CrossStitchermag.com with free charts, guides to stitching techniques and a chat room. Although Cross Stitcher is not my main magazine - I tend to surf a lot of stitching sites, and I veer more towards needlepoint than cross-stitch, I do buy it every now and then, usually to look for new stitching resources. If you are into cross-stitching this magazine will provide you with plenty to stitch, and is a little less flowery and cute than some others on the market. Cross Stitcher is published by Future Publishing and costs £2.99, from major newsagents. You can save £8 on a years subscription (13 issues) by paying yearly, at £29.99. You can get 10% discount at many stitching shops and mail order firms int he UK if you take out a subscription to Cross Stitcher magazine. You can order back issues using a form in the magazine, as well as ordering most of the projects featured in the magazine.
Origin Publishing launched Cross Stitch Gold in a blaze of advertising and hype a few weeks ago. In the run up to the launch the magazine was spoken of in hushed tones on cross stitch websites. I think it is fair to say that the reaction to the magazine when it finally appeared was, "It's good, but...". Cross Stitch Gold describes itself as, "The world's most beautiful cross stitch designs in one unique collection". The magazine also boasts that it will focus on large charts unlike most of the other magazines on the market. I have a problem with both of these statements. Firstly some of the designs are quite nice, but nothing to write home about. I'm also not really sure what is so unique about them. The majority of the charts are large, but not any bigger than the ones that appear in 'The World of Cross Stitching' (a much better magazine in my opinion). I have heard a lot of complaints from stitchers who were expecting nice big charts aimed at experienced stitchers. I was also a little disappointed with the content of the magazine in that it is full of Christmas charts. I don't know how they expect us to stitch them by Christmas! And I don't really fancy starting my Christmas 2001 stitching just yet! The designs are also a little too cutesy and whimsical for my liking, although there is a nice cushion with a design of autumn fruits. I think it would have been far more sensible to feature a larger range of designs in the first issue, people would then have a clearer idea of what the magazine is going to be like. The magazine costs £3.99 which is extortion, but all the cross stitch magazines on the market are incredibly expensive. If you like Christmassy stitching this magazine might be perfect for you, but I'd advise you to flick through it before parting with your money.
So, you want to cross stitch an heirloom? Here’s the magazine for you! 'Cross Stitch GOLD' a special quarterly edition of Cross Stitch. I have started cross stitch projects in the past, but, like many other things I get bored and stick it in a drawer to finish later (which I never do). I think the problem is I always start something that is large and intricate. I hate all of these little charts, they always look either like an eight year old has done them (no offence too you young stitchers out there) but you know what I mean. Well, some of the larger charts in this mag can be broken down into smaller ones which still look pretty good. This edition I am commenting on is the very first one from October 2000. They will be published every quarter, the next one being on sale 30th January 2001. The cover depicts the Nativity scene and of course there’s lots of gold on there (it’s quite impressive). Here are a few of the charts contained in the October issue: Christmas Sampler (Cover Feature) – The Nativity scene sampler made up of people (3 Wise Men/Angels/Cherubs etc), animals, letters and scenes of Bethlehem . This would be quite good to make and ‘bring out’ every Christmas with the other decorations and would be nice to hand down to the kids. Folk Santas – Trio of individual Santas each a different size in different coloured coats. Quite intricate but don’t know if I’d want to stitch 3 of them! Autumn Fruits Cushion – Colourful cushion depicting various fruits, done in whole cross stitch, looks more like a tapestry. Winter Fun Stocking – Cute teddies, penguins, bunnies etc on a sledge and ice skating made up into a Christmas stocking. You could break this down into individual projects and make Christmas cards or decorations. Toybox Sampler – Jack in a box, teddy, alphabet
blocks and a couple of easy little birds. Cute! Festive Decorations – Eight quick to stitch decorations to hang on the tree. Really easy designs, one that the kids could help you with (includes dog under a tree, Santa in chimney, jack in a box, drum, teddy on rocking horse, Santa with sack of toys, angel and Merry Christmas design. Christmas Magic – Carousel horse sampler includes toys and Father Christmas climbing down a chimney. One of many carousel designs by the same artist (looks like one may appear in each issue). Floral Psalm – Soft floral design includes verse from the Bible (too ‘twee’ for me but I’m sure somebody would like it). Christmas Treasure – Fun sampler depicting a winter phrase. Nothing to it, quite basic, could use the designs if creating a larger sampler. Beautiful Feline – Beautiful portrait of a shorthair cats’ head. (If you are a cat lover it’s worth getting just for this. The eyes are wonderful). So, although I don’t think that I would choose to stitch all of the designs there are still a few that I would. Ok, so they may have brought it out a little too late for this Christmas (you could complete some of the smaller designs by then) but there is always next year! I think I may look out for this magazine in January, makes a change finding more than the usual one or two decent projects in the same issue of something.
This is an excellent magazine, It's not so much a magazine as a workbook really. They are released in themes, i.e. birthday cards or special occasion cards or designs based solely on animals etc. I always buy the ones based on cards. I used to buy Cross Stitcher magazine every month but found that there wasn't that much in each magazine that I actually wanted to stitch. So now I eagerly await the next issue of Celebrations. It's issued every few months and is priced around £3.95, which when you think it may hold 50 plus designs it's really good value for money. It also stops my bookcase getting cluttered up with lots of magazines full of designs I have no interest in.
self hailed as Britains BEST magazine for Cross stitchers, the world of cross stitching (published by origin publishing) is a fairly decent magazine, with a wide range of designs, although I find that this magazine tends to cater for the more popular designs themes (florals and cute things, animals). Each issue comes with a free cover kit/gift, a good selection of giveaways/competitions to enter, letters, new product features, whats on, penpals, etc along with a wide variety of designs suitable for the beginner to experienced stitcher. There are also plenty of articles relating to the world of stitching and tips, tricks and explinations. Each chart is pictured as colour blocks with symbols with a floss guide given in DMC, Anchor and Maderia. I do feel that there is far too much advertising in each issue as everypage but on balance if you need to find a product then you should locate a retailer within the magazine somewhere. I wouldn't go as far to say that it is the best Cross stitching magazine, but it is good although it won't be everyones cup of tea.