Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Stitching Magazine Subscriptions - Worth it?

So... I've been thinking a lot lately about subscriptions that I have to stitching magazines. So I decided to share my thoughts/analysis with all of you. Cause my husband really didn't care to hear about it. LOL.

The Library is your Friend
Let's start with the obvious win. The library. I am able to download 3 Cross Stitch Magazines (one out of the UK!) digitally via my library subscription (free in many cities these days). Digital is an absolute dream in the world of pattern collecting. It takes no space and as they are free via the library you just can't loose!  Seriously if you haven't looked into your libraries digital options do it. Worth the effort to figure out how to use the different systems. Note: you only get the ability to print out a page or two at a time, but it's enough to get a full pattern. And the digital copies are accessed with their software and could be archived. So I print what I like in each magazine immediately to ensure I don't miss out.

In the case of other magazines I pay. And because I live in Canada I subscribe where possible to digital versions (postage is more than the magazine is worth). This means, again, no physical space taken up and easy to print off a pattern when I want to work on it.
For the purposes of this analysis I've the most popular North American stitching magazine Just Cross Stitch Magazine.
I've been a subscriber to Just Cross Stitch for pretty much ever. lol. And before that my Mom was the subscriber. I've donated or given away many of my hardcopies over the years (and love having access to back issues digitally) but a few hard copies have stuck around due to having patterns I adore in them. So what's to talk about... well it's down to cost. I keep asking myself if the magazines are worth the subscription price.

Why am I talking about this? 
While Stitch from Stash may be over my need to cut spending (save money) has not ended and so I was asking myself what was really 'worth it' in terms of items I purchase for stitching. Obviously needles and DMC is a given. But magazine subscriptions I had to actually think about. Hence the following analysis.

The Cost Analysis
So I asked myself to think about how many patterns I like or may conceivably stitch at any time in the future in each magazine. I came to the conclusion that is 3 patterns per month at most. More an average of about 1.5 patterns per magazine. At the Canadian dollar cost of a digital subscription of $35.99 for 14 issues it is costing me ~$2.50 a magazine. Sounds really cheap!
Until I get an issue (like this latest one, cover shown above) where I am not excited about any of the patterns. A disappointing July Ornament Preview edition to be sure.

The Quality Analysis
Just Cross Stitch is easily a high-end stitching magazine (in my mind). Patterns are well put together, easy to read and meet the usual standard that most designers use. They have top designers contribute (esp. to ornament issues) and find a way to cross many genres of stitching in a single issue. Plus I've found out about new designers, interesting backstories, sampler stories (some of my favourite to read!), etc. So for me it's easy to say that even if I don't like or stitch any of the patterns that I still get benefit. Gosh, sometimes even the ads are showing new designs I've missed being released or are previews of upcoming releases (HELLO Mill Hill Chalkboard kits that just got released!).

Overall Outcome
It's worth it. I can't deny that I love getting the new issue and even if I only get an hours worth of reading out of it it's still really fun to get random patterns I don't pick out and even better when those patterns are ones I like (or love; like that time Once Upon a Tree by Jeannette Douglass was in JCS). Even though I think this month's issue (cover above) is weaker than usual I still got my one hour of reading out of it and it's still worth $2.50.

Are individual magazines ever worth it? 
If you really can't bring yourself to subscribe to a magazine (digital or not) I have one large suggestion... get the main Christmas ornament issue and the Halloween 'bonus' (not included in subscription) magazine (this years Halloween preview to the left). For $9.99 US (about $17.99 CDN) you get all those awesome patterns! And there's usually at least one larger design that I like and want to stitch which makes the entire cost worth it (as I'd pay more than $9.99US for only one pattern).

I adored reading and discussing with everyone your comments on last posts subject of hand-stitching. This time I'd really love to know if you subscribe to any magazines? And if yes, which ones and why? Digital or hard-copy? 

Thanks for dropping by to visit! Happy Stitching! :)