Once upon a time, eleven or so years ago, I came across a single copy of the most amazing magazine on a market stall. It was Martha Stewart Living magazine, and I had never seen anything like it before. It had recipes, home makeing ideas, craft projects, all kinds of things. It was so obviously not English…it just had a style all of its own. I searched the stall for months, but they never had another copy. I begged and begged my newsagent, taking in my precious copy to show him, and eventually he agreed to try and get it for me. It meant he had to get it shipped over from America, and it took so long that each copy was always out of date before I got it, but I didn’t care, I loved it so much. Over the last decade, happily, it has become much easier to get, and now you can wander into WHSmiths to buy it. Part of me likes being able to get it easily, and in date, but part of me misses the loveliness of having it shipped over. I only keep special issues of it now, and have Valentines, Easter, Halloween and Christmas issues from every year going right back to 2000.
At that time there just weren’t the craft magazines there are now, and most of them came from America. There was a newsagent that used to sell American Cross Stitcher magazine which I loved to read but never wanted to sew anything out of. And then there was Crafts Beautiful. Now it isn’t that it wasn’t good at the time, but after a year or so of Crafts Beautiful, it seemed to recycle itself and go round on a loop. It didn’t really speak to me any more….every project was very so-so, and I wasn’t seized with the urge to go and make things right away. Or….ever.
Oh, how things have changed, and particularly in the past year or two. It started with Simply Knitting magazine which I don’t buy any more, but did buy for about a year. Modern, lovely projects! Things I wanted to knit! That I could knit! And then Sew Hip which felt more relevant to me. And then, I discovered Selvedge. It was one of those moments when everything changes. Here was this magazine which was really expensive, really specialised…and I understood! I got! I was inspired by! It was like being in a secret club. There were other people out there like me, who like the things I like! But much as I love it, Selvedge is not really a ‘how to make’ crafts magazine, and is quite grownup. Imagine my pleasure when Making Magazine came out. It was like Selvedge’s younger cousin. More friendly and accessible, with lots more projects in. A million miles away from Crafts Beautiful! Not as expensive as Selvedge…and just bliss. The Vintage issue remains my favourite. I could read it 100 times and find something new in it. I have made many of the recipes and projects in this issue, and it even inspired me to get a fringe cut it!
So, being fully content with Making, the odd issue of Selvedge and a regular dose of Martha Stewart, I really couldn’t have wanted for more. But it seems that in the world of craft magazines, it is either feast or famine, and we are in a fabulous feast period! Handmade Living is just on the second issue and is utter, utter bliss. I like it even more than Making. Somehow everything is just a little bit more to my taste. Run out and buy a copy now! The first issue had an interview with Jane Brocket, who I love, and the second has a pattern from her new knitting book in it. I am very seriously on the verge of subscribing to this one. If I get the job I have applied for, this may well be my reward!
Also on the second issue, which has only been out for a day or two, is Mollie Makes. Oh, Mollie Makes! What can I say? An utterly blissful magazine. Almost like a blog in paper format, with a mini craft kit free with each issue, there is nothing else out there like this. It has managed to find its own niche, somehow. There are projects in it, but it is not just about the projects. It is inspiration in paper covers. Oddly, when I read the first issue, I decided I liked Handmade Living more. And as a crafting magazine, I probably do. But Mollie Makes has grown and grown on me. It is beautifully styled, and is almost not a crafting magazine, more of an ideas and inspiration magazine about making things, with some projects thrown in. Oh, it is too hard to explain! But I like that I get more out of it after putting it aside for a few weeks then re-reading it. On my first read, I thought ‘apple cosies?! pish, posh, who would ever want to make those?!’ On re-reading it, I thought ‘hmmm…well my apple does get a bit bashed about in my handbag….and they look quick to make….and don’t take much yarn….and two days later I have 3 apple cosies! I took one to work today and left it on my desk, and had a constant stream of people asking where I got it and saying what a good idea it is!
If you click on this link http://youtu.be/UqV8WV8Ddos hopefully you will get whisked off to youtube to see the beautiful little film they have made to go with the magazine. I showed it to my lovely husband who commented ‘oh look, they have the same kettle as us. Oh, they have the same EVERYTHING as us. Oh….she’s you!’ which made me smile.
The other magazines I like to keep up with are The Chap, although they really should bring back The Chapette section, and Vintage Living magazine. All to be savoured with a cup of tea, and a notebook to hand to jot down new ideas!