Monday, August 10, 2009

Changing People's Opinions on Cross-Stitch

Last week, Melissa asked us a bunch of questions, and while I encouraged you to check them out, I haven't answered them myself. I'm afraid it's because I go sidetracked by this, "but in the long run, in the big picture, is stitching a raunchy sampler something that will keep a girl stitching for the rest of her life?" The implication in Melissa's post is that it won't. But I am not so sure. Some of the people out there stitching the "FUs" are people who say stitching for them is about relaxation. ("We understand the relaxing benefits of using a needle and thread to create mini masterpieces for our friends and loved ones. We know the sublime joy of a well-organised bobbin box. We know the quiet heartache that miscounted stitch placement can bring.") ("The joy of making a beautiful object lies as much in the process as in the end result. It is rewarding and grounding, putting us back in touch with ourselves and offering an alternative to today’s hectic lifestyle.") And I do believe that is something we all have in common. (And let's face it, there's not a clear path between the place I started, including that twee yet creepy Amish faceless doll sampler, and what I stitch now.)

Not a lot of people answered this question from Melissa, yet to me it is the most interesting one: What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself? If it were up to me, more people would stop stitching Margaret Sherry designs and stitch cooler. And the NuRadicals would use linen and overdyed flosses. So, I guess I should bundle up some packages of linen and overdyed floss to start sending out. I guess what we really need to do is take our cooler projects out in public. (Yeah, I'm not sure what they are either, but surely something I make is interesting to the kids today.)

I absolutely agree with Melissa that there's a disconnect between the magazines and what most stitching bloggers are looking for. Even Gift of Stitching, the big online stitching mag, is the same old same old in a different format. They just passed the printing costs on to us. It seems to me that an all online magazine would take the opportunity to reinvent the world of stitching magazines by taking advantage of being online. If there's someone clever out there, take the idea and run with it.

What would a magazine that would interest advanced stitchers look like? I'm not sure I know. I like reading Piecework, but I often think to myself, "I've never made anything out of that magazine." Then sometimes I stitch something out of Just Cross Stitch and think, "I never read any of these damn articles unless it's for blog research." I think the best magazine would have something interesting to say but also interesting charts to stitch. But let's face it, no one can be everything to every one. And the people who are subscribed to the magazines are the ones who are getting what they want.


doris said...

As you wrote, "... no one can be everything to everyone." Selfishly, I tend to stitch what thrills me, greatly admire what some other people stitch, and admire the fact that someone stitched something, even if I wouldn't stitch that particular item. We all have such different ideas about what's stitch-worthy.

A single stitching magazine has never quite fit the bill for me, except maybe Needlewords from the olden days. I tend to buy issues that contain something I think I'd love to stitch, but a subscription would just bring more paper into my already overly paper-filled life. I've become much more picky about what is stitch-worthy for me.

Patricia Lessell said...

I answered the questions in my blog but not sure I answered the one about the magazine but ... if I did then I would have said that there isn't a single magazine that I like anymore. The ones here in the U.K. are really dreadful. I used to like SANQ but that has really gone off lately and my favorite used to be Fine Lines anyway but we all know what happened to that one. I really miss Fine Lines because every single magazine was good - no exceptions. Oh well guess I'm living in the past.

Love Patti xxx

Anonymous said...

I personally think it is a place in life that you have to be in to take on stitching, i.e. like having a baby..(stitiching a sampler). Maybe it relates to a lifestyle change no more school and dating, so have more time for a hobby.

I have a 24 year old daughter that I have taught to stitch on linen and not till just recently did she pick it up again, to kill time when her boyfriend is at work.

I also understand that the designs out there in magazines and kits don't have younger people in mind. That being said what I liked 20 years ago is very different from what I stich no more Aida only linen.

Maybe if someone could think outside the box and design more eclectic designs or ones that cater to a certain design in a, Art Deco.

I am in that boat right now the sytle of my house is way different then what I stitch, so I am trying to find things that I could actually frame and put up in my living room. My house is in grays with a mix of new and traditional.

If someone could put the pulse on what a younger generations style is maybe cross stitching would have a revivial. Specially now in todays economy where more people are statying home.

Just a thought.....Stephanie from Orange County, California

Cathy said...

I will now only buy a magazine if it has three (or more) designs I will definitely stitch. I have to say, I know what I definitely don't want to stitch (including Margaret Sherry), but I can't pinpoint one specific style or concept I would like to stitch. As a young(er) stitcher, I can say that we are sort of slaves to what is out there unless we're creative enough to design our own-which I am not. We sort of have to take what is out there and run with it.

riona said...

I was discussing this with my 25 year old son the other night and he commented that he never really understood why I stitched from someone else's charts instead of creating my own designs ... so I showed him my Fertile Circles and Beach Find Pansies ... and his attitude underwent a sea change. So maybe what younger people need is a grounding in technique ... that they can then use to create their own designs. But, oh yeah, how does one master technique and stitching variations ... by stitching "samplers", that's how! I hate to sound like a cranky old crone but ... I think the kids want to skip over too many steps ... they want to pick up a needle and immediately create an original on the masterpiece level. Hell, even Michaelangelo served an apprenticeship. As to magazines, it's all pretty much been there, done that.

CJ in OK ;-) said...

Maybe we need something like Quilt shows have. Traveling events that display the latest and most creative cross stitch designs. Designers could display and sell direct or shops could display all their models and sell to the public. But it would need to be more about display than sales so maybe awards for most unique, detailed, complex, etc. I always thought the EGA should do this but they are so "members only" that it never reaches the public at large.

CarolG said...

I've cross-stitched for 30+ years - all of my early cross-stitch was either given as gifts or sold. when I think about some of the things I stitched in the "early" years I have to laugh at them now. When the on-line cross-stitch magazine came out I was thrilled...but I did not renew it after my original subscription because I never stitched one thing from the magazine. The only magazine I usually buy is the Christmas ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch. I have learned more in the last year or so from the forums on the Hand Dyed Fibers web-site than I have ever learned from anyone or anywhere. By the way - I know I stitched some creepy faceless Amish dolls too!

MelissaD said...

The Embroiderers Guild in the UK has a great magazine called "Stitch" that has a good variety of multi-media projects. Traditional pieces but also stitching with metal, machine embroidery, and more "fiber art" type pieces. I don't subscribe (yet) but I do pick up the interesting issues when I see it in my local JoAnn store.