Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Issue of Needlepoint Now

The latest issue of Needlepoint Now is available in the store. It arrived this week and like always I looked forward to getting my hands on it. Unfortunately, like always, I was disappointed by what I found. I am going to go out on a limb here and say some stuff that some people may not like so keep in mind that this is just one person’s opinion.

I don’t know how many of you read Needlepoint Now. I wouldn’t blame if you didn’t. Very often the covers are hideous and the projects that appear between the covers are tacky in the extreme. But it’s all we’ve got. This month’s cover (at left) was certainly an improvement from the previous edition (below). The magazine has recently changed hands so that may have had something to do with the new cover.

Once you open the cover though things are pretty much the same as they have always been. One ugly project after another. Articles written from the perspective of one middle aged white woman to another. Articles followed closely by advertisements where one can purchase the project that was just featured. It all reeks of a small insular world that is very content with itself and doesn’t have much to do with the reality of the craft of needlepoint as I see it.

Whatever happened to the substantive articles of Needlepoint News – an earlier needlepoint magazine that appeared during the seventies and eighties? That magazine featured informative articles on techniques and stitches and critical reviews of books. The whole feeling was different. More of a “Let’s explore this exciting craft together” attitude.
Granted, Needlepoint News also suffered from some serious lapses in taste (I am thinking of a series of articles that were written featuring new ways to use needlepoint – example at left). Still it felt more approachable and less satisfied with itself. The focus was on being of service to needlepointers and not showing off what this designer or that designer has concocted this month.

I’d like to see somebody start a new needlepoint magazine (and I am not just saying that because they neglected to mention my blog on their list of needlepoint blogs!)


  1. Honey, the magazines can always improve. As always I was astounded by Rosalyn Cherry-Soleil's stitching (she's doing the Chinese drama masks) and flummoxed but charmed by Liz Morrow's explanation of 4 way bargello that actually kind of made sense to this non-counted thread mind, and was amazed as always by Marnie Ritter's stitches.

    Remember, the writers aren't paid for what they write except in ads, so that explains why you see articles and then ads for that person.

    I'm not always thrilled by the projects but I do painted canvases which a magazine can't really do. Line drawings are the best they can manage usually.

    But we certainly need a bigger NP world. What would you like to see? What projects, what designs, what topics, etc.?

    By the way, I've blogged for three years and I think my blog was the first about NP and I wasn't mentioned either. Wanna go have a martini together and whine?

    Hugs as always from CH, where we love your blog, your ideas and the fact that we aren't alike except we both needlepoint.


  2. I'm a subscriber to NN and couldn't agree more. I learn substantial, hands-on, needle-and-thread technique from reading your blog and Jane's (above comment) than I'll ever learn in the NN's pages. As Jane says, it's all we have, but that's not an excuse and no reason to renew, which I will not do.

    Thanks for your fearless comments!

  3. Instead of being dissatisfied reading the magazine you could always just spend hundreds of dollars on airfare, hotel, class fees, registration fees and kit fees and take up to a week off of work if you can spare the leave, or if you're of a certain age hope your retirement income covers such extravagances, for a class you may or may not get into and for a project that may or may not be sold to the public in the future. Since we're bitching here.

  4. Whew! That was a post to remember! I've rarely seen such negativity in the needlepoint world. Is any magazine perfect? No. Could I do one better? Absolutely not. Do I have any idea of the effort and love for the craft that goes into producing a bimonthly issue for a limited audience? I suspect it takes way more than I could muster.

    I do look forward to each issue for the ideas, reviews and projects that work for me. And I will hold any criticism till I've "walked a mile in the editor's shoes."


  5. the knitting world, I've seen how blogs have turned into way higher quality online magazines than the traditional print magazines. As previous commentators have noted, it is a huge undertaking to get a print magazine underway.

    At the same time, I'm not sure there's yet enough of a different sort of public to support online magazines which are so much cheaper to produce. But blogs like this one are certainly a start!


  6. I understand what you're saying. I have a few issues of this magazine that I have bought because I saw one project that I really liked. Most of them are not to my taste, but I also cross stitch and have canceled all of those subscriptions for the same reasons. I think my tastes changed but the magazines stayed the same.

    I suppose that's what it comes down to -- personal taste. Luckily, there are so many canvases and books out there that we can usually find something that we can happily add to our ever-growing pile of projects.

    Oh, and that pants pocket is reaalllly bad. :)

  7. I agree with this, In fact I had an email dialogue with the new owner, before I knew NN had changed hands, about how disappointed I was by last month's cover.
    I subscribe to NN, I read it cover to cover, I too fear the new incarnation of it going to closed-off and clubby..but I hope not.

    Starting a magazine is a terrific idea, if only someone had the enormous cost of doing it to risk. if only.
    Needlepoint in the 21st Century

  8. I read NN from cover to cover. I have never wanted to attempt any of the designs shown but I do find many of the stitch diagrams useful for projects I am working on. I even enjoy reading the ads to see new canvases and learn about needlepoint shops and websites.