Monday, February 9

A subscriber talks

I've been a subscriber to Craft magazine for about 8 months now - ever since I picked up a copy in a bookshop in Baltimore last year and wondered how the hell this fantastic publication had managed to pass my radar by.

I always like to have a subscription going to at least one inspirational/aspirational or whimsical magazine at a time. Craft magazine was the perfect replacement when I got tired of mentally correcting typos on every other page of Selvedge. I love the design of Selvedge, the photography and even the content, which takes me further into textiles than I ever realised I wanted to go, but the writing and particularly the sub-editing (or lack of it) set me on edge.

Too many features lacked authority or direction, and the typos and bad grammar eventually proved too much for me. Even the sexy design could not save me from the bad writing.

Luckily, along came Craft magazine.

I've never seen Craft magazine for sale in the UK (although I believe they sell it in IKnit), I have rarely seen it written about on the blogs I follow, and I'm not sure I would know about it still if I hadn't come across it randomly in Baltimore. But it is a fantastic magazine for anyone who likes crafting - you can learn how to make so many different things ranging from wine vinegar to portable speakers, from hats made of recycled plastic bags to a magnetic knife rack.

Some of the things you can make are classic Blue Peter - involving sticky back plastic or old socks. Others are much more technical, involving the use of basic electronics or specialist craft supplies to make flashing decorations or metal jewellery. There are also features about artists and suppliers, listings of etsy shops and quirky articles about people who make music by recording the sound of knitting needles being used, for example. You can see all the back-issues here.

Although it's not cheap ($50 for four issues - luckily I subscribed when the pound was at its height, so only about £6 per copy including mailing) I think it's worth the money for inspiration alone.

Craft also has a more geeky sibling, Make, which as its name suggests is more about the woodworking and electronics aspect of creating, as opposed to the fluffy crafts of knitting and sewing which are central to Craft. I've never seen Make in the flesh, but I would probably subscribe to it too if I could justify another magazine at the same cost (or if they offered a good deal).

One of the most interesting spin-offs of the brand, from my point of view, is the Maker Faire calendar of events that are organised by the same company. They seem to happen twice a year in the USA - one in the San Francisco Bay area and one in Austin, Texas. Billed as the 'world's largest DIY festival' they feature workshops and exhibitions, 'showcasing individual creativity and grassroots innovation'.

My first thought when I found out about these events? Wouldn't it be great to have one of those here?! So I was delighted to discover that the first Makers Faire UK will be held as part of the Newcastle Science Festival in March. Unfortunately the website doesn't give very much detail about exhibitors or events involved in the Maker Faire - I am tempted to make the trip up to Newcastle to find out although it is rather a long journey to make on a whim.

And finally, my other whimsical subscription is to Smoke: A London Peculiar. This is very much a publication that can be enjoyed in little sips and dips, and offers humour, pathos and insight of a very London flavour.

I'd love to hear what magazines other people read, particularly any you regard as luxuries. Why do you subscribe and what do you like about them?


cosmo's mom said...

I love BUST magazine. I do like CRAFT to and still have that copy you lent me. Occasionally I'll buy Country Living but I've kinda stopped because it's very samey each month.

Knit Nurse said...

I think I need to borrow a copy off you!

Rowan said...

I'm afraid I'm v boring when it comes to subscribing to magazines - the Economist and the New Yorker and that's it.

I get zero time to read these days :(

Anonymous said...


Selvedge (despite the typos).
Spin Off.
Yarn Forward.

The Ecologist (not the Economist).

ros said...

Here via Yarnyard. I had a subscription to CRAFT and was really disappointed to hear that it is being discontinued. From what I've seen of MAKE it's not really my thing, so I've cancelled the rest of my subscription. Such a shame.

Knit Nurse said...

Yes I am disappointed about Craft too, although I am going to wait and see what the combined issue looks like before I decide whether to continue my subscription. I do like the 'handbag' size of it (although to be honest my handbag is usually 'magazine' size!)