Saturday, August 01, 2009

Nothing to See Here

As my camera is giving me fits. I wasn't going to blog until I had pictures because I've read over and over how people don't enjoy pictureless blogs, so if you want to stop reading now, that's ok. I understand, but let's face it, my pictures could never have been what drew you to this blog, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Now, I have a question for all you cross stitchers, and yes, it's really specifically for cross stitchers and I'm honestly interested in your answers because we cross stitchers seem to be a misunderstood lot and that really, truly bugs me. I mean I wake up in a sweat at night pondering the issue of cross stitchers being misunderstood by major chain craft stores(and please don't yell at me for that, for some people, it's their only way to purchase supplies, even in this day and age there are stitchers don't know anything beyond the cross stitch aisle at Micheals, AC Moore or JoAnns, and I'm sure there are some yarnie folk that find those same stores their only source of knitting and crochet supplies) and publishers.

So here are some questions I'd love answered either in comments or on your blog and if you post your answer on your blog please leave a link in the comments so we can all read your insights.

1)Why do you stitch?

2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?

3)If you're only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?

4)Also are you so passionate about cross stitch that if indeed your only option was the major chain craft stores, would that inspire you to create your own cross stitch pieces because you have to stitch and you've stitched your way through the whole of Dimensions catalog--because you must stitch and the thought of life without a relationship with the little X leaves you feeling empty?

5)Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover with "F-U" on it? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?

6) And finally, finally, do you do other crafts and if so what are they and why do they pull you away from cross stitch?

I've been thinking about this a lot, particularly question five. What are we missing as a group and are we missing it because we just don't care? I have to say as someone who uses the F word no less than 10 times a day, the shock value of F-U on a sampler does nothing for me but I can see where a 13 yr old girl might get a kick out of stitching that on sampler for a friend to just be uh, wild and all rebel girl you know, 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? I know that I've been stitching since I was young, very young. I became passionate about cross stitching at 13. With a brief break, well 4-6 years I'm not exactly sure, it was a period of what I now know was postpartum depression mixed with lack of sleep, I have stitched consistently since I was 13. Thirteen! And it didn't take an F bomb to keep me stitching. So are we cross stitchers just a different breed of crafter, do we take life slow and easy, does it mean we have this inner stick-to-it-tiveness that gets us through those projects that last not days, weeks, months but years?

Who are we? Tell your story, fill in the blanks, and let's hope that someone in publishing, in the craft industry, wakes up and sees us as important as knitters and scrapbookers because I have been making the rounds and let me tell you, the craft stores are not reaching out to new cross stitchers by any stretch of the imagination, even if you find JCS or CS&N in a major chain craft store, chances are you won't be able to find the supplies you need for a project out of the magazine. That's seriously messed up.

I have to say that the knitting movement has left me speechless because in all honesty I find knitting as tedious and boring and fussy as cross stitch can be at times. I want to stress AT TIMES because on a scale of 1-10 my cross stitch passion is 11. I am a very nasty person if I don't get to stitch everyday and you know how one is supposed to prioritize one's life, well cross stitch is right behind family for me and some days it's before family because I can get as equally annoyed with my cross stitch as I can my family so I swap them out quite often. I also wanted to add, that I do knit, I enjoy it, there's nothing more relaxing than a garter stitch scarf or something that is endless stockinette. I did not mean to insult any knitters reading this, I want to be a master knitter one day.

I will be honest and say that while I buy CS&N and JCS on a regular basis I no longer subscribe to them because for a time I had to wonder if they had a clue. Both magazines seem to be on track these days but I often wonder if I just got lucky with this or that issue.

OK I realize this post isn't as well thought out as I would have liked* but I'd love to read your responses, hook up with your blogs and see if we can shake up the whole needleart industry because I'm really sad at the current state of cross stitch in the mainstream craft world. Sure there's a huge group of us that know the secret world of the LNS and the ONS and how to rock our cross stitch world but what about all those people that are at the mercy of the major chain craft stores for whatever reason, think about what they are missing out on, and how can we fix that. How can we be Oprah for cross stitch? What can we do to make a difference? To spread the word? To funk up the little X?

*wanted to add that my family came in when I was mid-post, I totally lost my train of thought, so please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors I missed or if it appears that my mind wandered because, well, it did!

30 comments:

suequeblue said...

Hey Melissa-great questions! I answered them over on my blog, so take a look!

LadyDoc said...

Fascinating post. I want to give your questions the attention they deserve- and they DO deserve attention- so I will answer when I am much less tired and much more coherent than I am tonight.

Carol said...

Answered on my blog, Melissa. Thanks for giving me a reason to update my blog this weekend, lol!

Erica said...

You're questions are very thought-provoking and well put. I tried to pull a coherent answer together over at my place.

Thanks for the questions.

Barbara said...

I answered your questions on my blog Melissa. Aren't we lucky that the internet lets so many stitchers congregate in once place?
Barb

April Mechelle said...

Hey Melissa, I worked 12 years as a stitcher for a well established Cross Stitch magazine. Still being published today. I will say, It is hard for them to put something in each issue that appeals to everyone. I think that is what they try to do. Men who stitch, Young people, older people, People with more advanced stitching know how, And the begginner. I only have a michael's in my area. I have yet to buy anything other than DMC. I do have a Hobby Lobby, they at one time HAD.. Mainstream designer charts. Put then all on clearance... Now all they have are prepackaged kits, packaged fabric, DMC and very limited supplies. I don't know what I would do If I could not order from shop on the net. I have also cross stitched from age 13. Grandmother taught me. My mom is a knitter, Craft stores are now stocking more (like 4 or 5 aisles of yarn) I have yet to find a brick & motar cross stitch shop in central Alabama. I can go 100 miles north to North AL or 320 miles South to the coast for a shopping trip. But is much easier and less expensive to order my supplies off the net. I do other crafts also. But my passion is Cross Stitch. The Industry (designers, shops, suppliers and of course, us stitches need to Show this craft(art) as it can be. I think DMC had a mentor free kit, I don't know how that worked. I have passed cross stitch down to my daughter, and I now have a grandson & grand daughter that may want to learn. Grandson sits in my lap now and watches me stitch. Hope to read other comments. Come visit my blog anytime. aprilmechellesdulllife@blogspot.com
Thank, April in Alabama

Bronny said...

Hi Melissa - thank you for your thought provoking post. I've answered on my blog and encouraged further thinking by others...
I've ONLY had a chain store to purchase my supplies. I have expanded my horizons by the internet and experiment with specialty threads from time to time, but DMC is where I creep back to.
Interesting to see the answers...

riona said...

My cross stitch passion-meter would probably be a 10+ ... and if all I ever knew about cross stitch had been learned in the chain stores I would never have made it above a -1 ... although the nearest LNS is some 40 or so miles away and across a toll bridge over the Hudson River, I use the shop as a mail-order source and I use many on-line sources ... I have a wide variety of fibers in my stash: cottons, cotton over-dyes, silks, silk overdyes, silk-n-wool blends, bamboo, linen, velvet, ribbon, silk ribbon, all sorts and widths of metallics, wools of all sorts and many, many "novelty" or "specialty" fibers ... I imagine there are at least 20 different companies represented in that stash ... I use linen and prefer 32, 36 and 40 ct but I have worked in evenweaves ... I subscribe to a Fabric of the Month club and have an always changing stash of overdyed linens. I have been known to design my own pieces [see my blog http://oubliette-riona.blogspot.com/ ]. As to other hobbies, most are also in the textile arts:I enjoy needlepoint, free-style embroidery, quilting, sewing, felting, crocheting, jewelery making, beading. I also enjoy reading, writing poetry & painting with water colors. I am a knitting and weaving and sculpting wanna-be, or perhaps inept dabbler would be a more accurate description. My other passion is tea: selecting different varieties to accompany foods, storing/brewing/serving it properly ... it's a lovely and very fragrant obsession.

Old Yankee Stitcher said...

Here is the part that is missing, in my opinion. The projects we stitch are most often displayed in our homes. Not everyone has a home decor that would easily accept 40 primitive styled samplers. Why don't cross stitch designers look at current trends in decorating, colors, styles, etc and create things that will become real pieces of art in our homes? Don't get me wrong I love a cute LK design now and again and the reproduction sampler is great to stitch, but if I want to give a gift to a friend to hang in her home, or a pillow to set in a chair, wouldn't I want a design that would look it's best in her home. When is the last time you saw a design that would look amazing in a home with contemporary styling, not to mention modern? I love cross stitch and I have loved learning of our cross stitch heritage, but why can't designers and in turn the magazines reporting on the subject, be allowed to move into some new and different directions? Are we as stitchers holding the designers back, forcing them to design the same things over and over?
OK, I may have answered a question with a question (or in the case several questions). CJ ok;-)

Patti said...

Melissa - Great questions and I have answered you on my blog. Thanks for asking them. Lots of Love Patti xxx

C in DC said...

1) It relaxes me, and it's the first artistic thing I found that I was good at.

2)7

3) I would keep stitching, but not as much. I started with the chain store stuff and still occasionally find inspiration there.

4) I'm not artistic. I can't embroider because there are no holes for me to aim at. I like things to look orderly. So, no, I wouldn't design my own pieces, because I'm not that creative.

5) I don't like magazines because they tend to focus more on Aida pieces and "country" style samplers. I find them too simplistic. I'd like to find one that offered more pieces on linen with specialty stitches. Something for the "intermediate" stitcher.

6) I like a change of pace once in a while. Over the years, I've tried needlepoint, crochet, basketweaving, and rubber stamping. The last two are the only ones that come close to being as important to me as stitching.

C in DC said...

Oh, and Old Yankee Stitcher may have hit the nail on the head when she said, "The projects we stitch are most often displayed in our homes. Not everyone has a home decor that would easily accept 40 primitive styled samplers. Why don't cross stitch designers look at current trends in decorating, colors, styles, etc and create things that will become real pieces of art in our homes?"

Oh, yes!

Heather said...

I am a 10+ on the “love to stitch o meter” This is interesting, I didn’t think about people only seeing cross stitch from the big chain stores, but you are right about it, cross stitch is mis-represented there. The only things I buy for cross stitch at the big stores are DMC threads, because it’s close to my house and all that. The chart selections at the stores are laughable, and most of the charts there are so outdated, who’d want to stitch them? (well, I wouldn’t anyway). I have my lovely LNS about 30 minutes from my house, I try to visit once a month, or more if I can, I just like being there… but I know a lot of people that have no LNS close to them. My mother in law is one, she just about died of happiness when she came to my LNS! I don’t like about 90% of what the magazines publish, so I don’t buy them. I have found I have particular designers I like, and so that is what I buy. I kind of wish they’d show up more often in magazines, maybe that’d help it become more recognized? Another thing I notice is that most of my friends think that the craft is for “old ladies” whatever! Ugh. I love quilting just as much as stitching, so I divide my time between them :)

Another thing I think that holds people back is that it takes a long time to get a finished piece. People are in such a hurry to get things done, that maybe not as many are willing to take the time to do it?

Margaret said...

Wow! Don't know if I can answer all your questions, but basically, stitching is a 10. And no, I would never keep stitching if all I had were those Michael's and AC Moore's etc. The mags are a problem too. You know, someone must enjoy those things, otherwise, why do they exist? It's a great question, isn't it? Not sure how to do something about it. But then, there does always seem to be that discount chain variety of a craft in addition to the good shops.

debijeanm said...

Great questions, Melissa! I answered in my blog, too.

Colleen said...

OK...I came across your blog thru Edgar's Blacksheep's Bit of the Web where he answered the first couple questions. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail because it could take up a LOT of room on here but suffice it to say I have been an avid x-stitcher for over 30 years. What I would like to answer is question 5: NO, I don't think the magazines have a clue what we want. I started subscribing to JCS when it first came out and continued to get it until the mid-90's when they reduced their mag to a thin piece of paper but charged more money. I guess if you are interested in certain types of x-stitch that would certainly determine if, or what, mags you bought. Currently, I don't subscribe to any of them.

Caroline said...

Great post! I answered on my blog - http://strumpety.blogspot.com/

Jane said...

Thank you for your very thoughtful questions, I answered on my blog www.worldembroideries.blogspot.com

Jane

Darla said...

I'm another who answered on my blog.

Cindy said...

Great questions! I have answered them on my blog :)

Kathy said...

I love to cross stitch. It is very relaxing. I would rate at an 11 because I am passionate to the point of being sick over stitching.

Don't do the big craft stores that much for cross stitch. I do have an LNS, but it is still hard to keep up on everything. Go to the crafts stores for yarn to make my church prayer shawls.

I am letting my last cross stitch magazine subscription expire. Will buy only when I see something that I know I will do.

Missy Ann said...

Good questions, I finally got around to answering on my blog today.

MarchAnn58 said...

I have seen these questions on a very blogs and desided I wanted to include them on my blog too. http://stitchingagain-marchann58.blogspot.com/
I enjoyed thinking about the questions and answering them with honesty.

Mary said...

I got them answeer.

mbroider said...

Great questions. I have answered them over at my blog!!

Meari said...

Just wanted you to know that I've answered these questions on my blog, too.

stacybinnj said...

Great questions! I answered them on my blog if you'd like to read them.

Brigitte said...

Those are very good questions. And I'll try to answer them, or at least a part of them, on my blog.

stitchalicious said...

Hi there, bit late to the party and my first time here (came via a link on another blog). Here are my answers:

1. Cross stitch is relaxing, allows me to get a motion/routine going while my brain wanders off along other topics. I do some of my best thinking when my hands are busy.

2. It's probably only a 4 for me thesedays. Unfortunately I have to pick and chose what I spend time on now.

3. I did walk away from it, for many years actually, because the patterns out there didn't inspire me.

4. I did start designing my own, which has made me all happy again.

5. Cross stitch mags don't offer me much at all these days. I've found all print ones to be twee and uninspiring. I subscribe to Inspirations and Stitch from the Embroiderers Guild, although rarely have cross stitch and when they do it is still more of the same.

6. Stumpwork is more my passion now as I find it pushes me technically and artistically.

As to the whole PR/next Gen thing. I don't think cross stitch mags in the traditional sense of them can connect with a lot of the younger stitchers. I know stitchers are complaining about those kids that just stitch swear words and think they're doing something new... but for the younger generation it's about doing stuff that they feel they created. They're not the first to stitch F-U (and they know it) but what they're doing is stitching things that they thought of and planned... not just following a chart. The newest web2.0 gen is built heavily on people creating things themselves and the paint-by-number aspect of cross stitch charts doesn't appeal to them. So how can cross stitch mags sell to them, when all they offer is that? I don't know if there is a way.

Andrew said...

Nice to read your comments...thats great conversation u r having..even i wish to join the party..lol..


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Andrew
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