Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Needlework Magazines Bring Pleasant Surprises


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Mains & Merveilles Point de Croix is a French needlework magazine that I subscribe to. I often forget what needlework magazines I subscribe to, actually, because needlework magazines are notoriously (and understandably) far-spaced when it comes to yearly output. But the other day, I was reminded of my subscription to this particular magazine when it arrived in the mail. It is a cross stitch magazine.

I’ve written about this magazine company here on Needle ‘n Thread in the past, when telling you about the Mains & Merveilles iron-on transfer collections that are very pretty (and used to be available at Hedgehog Handworks, but are no longer available there…)

Well, the company that put out those very nice iron-on transfer collections (Les Éditions de Saxe) also produces some Very Nice embroidery magazines: Embroidery, Creative Embroidery, and Cross Stitch (my translations of the titles). I only have a subscription right now to the Point de Croix line, having subscribed a little over a year ago because they were running a series I wanted to watch develop. Eventually, I’ll pick up the other two subscriptions and probably let this one drop – when the others fit into the budget!

The needlework magazines from Les Éditions de Saxe have a distinctive European flair to them, and they are quality magazines – very pretty to look at, printed on good paper, filled with informative and interesting articles, and featuring a large paper pull out pattern section for all their featured projects. And the projects are generally beautiful. The magazines are printed entirely in French. If you don’t read French, though, the content is still worthwhile – the patterns are beautiful, the instructions usually include step-by-step photos, and the pictures overall are simply worth looking at! I’d say the magazines rival Inspirations, as far as quality goes, though they don’t have as much in them as each individual Inspirations magazine, and the projects differ a bit in flavor.

Getting back to the latest edition of Mains & Merveilles Point de Croix, three articles struck me in this latest issue (#74).

The first was a project article for these pretty paisley table and household linens that just look fun to embroider!

Mains & Merveilles Needlework Magazine

The paisleys are worked in various pinks and reds, entirely in surface embroidery stitches.

Mains & Merveilles Needlework Magazine

Of course, the color scheme can always be changed to match your own home! I think they’re cute, and perfect for a casual, fun setting.

The next article that caught my eye was focused mostly on whitework and drawn thread techniques. As one of their regular features (“Passion Broderie”), this article shows the work of Jocelyne Dubois, who always has embroidery at her fingertips!

Mains & Merveilles Needlework Magazine

The whitework photos that accompany the article are gorgeous – the pieces are so impressive! What a talented embroiderer!

Mains & Merveilles Needlework Magazine

Her edgings are intricate and perfect. And while I don’t normally pour over this particular magazine and attempt to read it, I found myself engrossed in this article (accompanied by my French-English dictionary from college days!) I was thrilled to open the magazine and find this article!

But, you know, while these two features excited me more than usual, the publishers had one more thing in store for me when I finished the whitework article. Flipping the page, I came across this layout:

Mains & Merveilles Needlework Magazine

There was a whole feature article on a currently running ecclesiastical embroidery exhibition that honors the work of the Visitation nuns in Europe, dating from the 17th century to the present day. And this being one of my favorite topics – historical ecclesiastical embroidery – I was really excited about this article! Better yet… I’ve got to go to France! NOW. The exhibition lasts until November 28, 2009, at the Museum of the Visitation (convent?) in Moulins, France. I’m … I’m so stuck in Kansas, it isn’t even funny! Anyway, I’m stuck – but if you happen to be in the area of Moulins, France, through November 28th, I bet this will be an exhibit that will knock your embroidery-loving socks off! Even if you aren’t inclined towards the religious aspects of church embroidery, it cannot be denied that it is among the most beautiful embroidery work on the planet. The Visitation nuns were known for their exquisite work – the collection will certainly be worth seeing.

(If you happen to go, may I live vicariously through you?)

So I was really pleased with this last edition of Mains & Merveilles Point de Croix from Les Éditions de Saxe. While I normally just flip through the photos once and note the things that may interest me later (or my nieces or friends), this time, I spent quite a bit of time pouring over the articles and trying to get over my rusty French. It was fun – and it was the first time I really appreciated my subscription to this magazine!

Do you subscribe to any needlework magazines? If so, which ones? What’s your favorite? Are you generally thrilled to get them, or do they just strike your fancy once in a while? That seems to be the case for me often, with all my magazine subscriptions (Inspirations, Pieceworks, Sampler & Antique Needlework, and M&M;). Sometimes, they just don’t grab me, but then suddenly – wow! They bamboozle me with magnificent content, and that’s when I most appreciate the subscription. What about you? What’s your experience with needlework magazine subscriptions?


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(20) Comments

  1. This is not only cross stitch, is it?
    I had an Italien magazine subscription last year – Rakan. I like it very much. Here we can find it in a few shops and run out very quickly. It's monthly. And have some old Rakan magazines. I think it is alike Mani di Fata.
    This year I've made an Inspiration subscription guess why! 🙂
    I buy Marie Claire idées every three months. And it's all…

  2. At the moment I only subscribe to Piecework. Since I also crochet and knit AND love history this is a fun magazine for me. I picked up a summer issue of Inspirations and am sincerely hoping our local bookstore soon gets in the fall issue. But… I wish fervently for a particular back issue of Marie Claire Idees and cannot seem to figure out how to get one on the Internet. One of your readers, Mary — "Elena" I think it is — has a lovely blue embroidery piece going from No. 65 if my Babelfish is translating correctly. How does one get back issues of this magazine?

  3. hello Carla,

    you can find old magazine of Marie-Claire idees on ebay.fr
    in this moment, I could see there are 2 n° 65 proposed.
    Good luck !

  4. Currently, I'm subscribing to Piecework and Antique Sampler and Needlework. I'll definitely renew Piecework because I like that it covers such a wide variety of techniques and history, but I'm waffling on the ASN, I like the articles on the needlework tools, but somehow the samplers haven't been so interesting to me, interesting stories behind the samplers, but the samplers themselves – not so much. Otherwise, I look over magazines at the bookstore, and sometimes pick one up if it has multiple articles that I find I want to read more closely.


  5. Those whitework samples look incredible!! Very modern 🙂

    Currently I only subscribe to Quilting Arts. I have every issue that's been published. There are only a few issues that I feel are 'meh', overall I get so much inspiration and joy from that magazine.

    I used to subscribe to Quilters Newsletter and I also used to have memberships with American Quilters Society and Canadian Quilters Association (those two have regular newsletters in a magazine format). I had to economize, so I only kept the QA subscription.

    I regularly take a look at Quilters Newsletter, Workbox, Piecework and New Zealand Quilter, but only pick up a copy if an article or series of pictures REALLY catches my fancy.

    I also have a handful of issues of Fibrearts, Belle Armoire, Stitch. I have a number of knitting magazines as well – Knitters, Interweave, etc.

    Other than Quilting Arts, I prefer to pick up a magazine only if that issue really has something I could use. I now have literally hundreds of textile and fibrearts books and magazines so I'm just not interested in shelling out between $7-14 each time. (I'm in Canada, so some magazines are outrageously priced, especially the international ones). If Workbox wasn't so darn expensive in Canada, I'd get a subscription to that one too, since I really love it.

    I regularly look through all the magazines and books I own. I read before going to bed and I dislike fiction. It's rare these days for a magazine to have anything truly new or original, so I just enjoy the ones I have. There's always something new, even if I've looked through a particular issue a dozen times!

  6. I subscribe to Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors. And I search out Inspirations. But I'm about to Drop Cloth Paper Scissors – it just doesn't do it for me anymore. And I'm even thinking of letting QA's go since it doesn't feature any of the things I really like to do anymore. And then maybe I can subscribe to a couple of the European magazines you get. Or course, I'll have to learn French/Italian!

  7. I really only subscribe to one needleart magazine and that's 'A Needle Pulling Thread' which is a Canadian publication. It has a variety of types of projects and is published not too far from where I live, so some of the ads are fairly local. I also get Quilting Arts and Cloth,Paper,Scissors by subscription and buy a few of the Somerset magazines when one catches my eye. I pick up an odd knitting or crochet magazine at the newstand, but only if there's a pattern I particularly like inside.

  8. Thank you, Michelle and Meri. I will try ebay. We have an account although I have never, ever bid on an item. I'm going to go look though.

  9. I get Inspirations, Piecework, Ricamo Italiano and RAKAM – btw, it's rakaM with an M not and N – for the most part I am usually happy with them, it is pretty rare that I don't look through cover to cover but it took me a long time to narrow it down to these four. Ricamo Italiano and RAKAM are Italian and always filled with lovely work though the instructions are not how they are in magazines like Inspirations and Piecework. I believe you can get a subscription with RAKAM through amazon.com in the States.

  10. I don't subscribe to anything but belong to the Embroiderers' Guild of America and the American Needlepoint Guild and get their publications as part of my membership. I used to subscribe to Piecework, but there were too many articles on techniques that bored me (crochet, knitting), so they often piled up unread.

    I went to the Les Éditions de Saxe site and took a look. From the photos, it appears that the Embroidery Inspiration magazine is the equivalent of the Australian Inspirations magazine, and the Creative Embroidery magazine is the equivalent of (also Australian) Creative Embroidery & Cross-Stitch magazine. Does that seem about right?

    I had to rely on the photos because my college French is also rusty, but even when I translated the respective magazine descriptions into English in google WordMonkey they were no more enlightening. Generic stuff about beauty and creativity. I am tempted to order a copy of both — depends on how expensive the exchange rate and postage are.

    Another interesting topic, thanks!

  11. Oh, that ecclesiastical piece is exquisite. I wish I could go see the exhibition, too.

    I only subscribe to 'Inspirations', as far as needlework goes. I pick up other magazines when I see something that catches my eye. Embroidery magazines are like books to me and I can't throw them away so I have to be mindful of how much space I have. (If I had more space I might subscribe to a couple of other publications.)

  12. Great, Carla ! happy that you found your happyness !
    This blue embroidery is very beautiful, I wish you lot's of fun doing it !

  13. I don't subscribe to any magazine for several reasons:

    1- many times I don't like the projects that are explained step by step. I find that the design quality is often lacking, the emphasis is on how quickly you can finish, how easy it is to stitch etc., as if the reader is an overworked airhead, not a punctilious needlewoman.

    As a matter of fact I don't want to copy what someone has designed, I want to create my own design, all I'm interested in is to learn the technique.

    2- In magazines there are articles I'm not interested in .

    3- I get fed up with the advertising.

    I prefer to buy books with the money I save on mags. Books have more in-depth study on a particular subject and it's pleasing to have every page filled with pertinent info, unlike in magazines where you have to leaf thru a lot of uninteresting stuff.

    In years past I bought magazines and kept them as a cherished collection before realizing I had never actually made any of the projects in these magazines! This is why my thinking has evolved.

    Brigitte in Paris

  14. I can understand not subscribing due to lack of interest in some of the techniqes (knitting vs embroidery for example), not liking the detail of (or lack of detail) in the instructions or the pattern itself. But as far as advertising, I thought it was the advertising that paid for the articles in a magazine, your subscription was mostly for postage/handling. I do agree that magazines that are mostly ads (the September issue of most fashion magazines) are definitely not what I want, I do worry when a magazine I like, even if it's the occasional copy I buy, becomes thinner with fewer ads. It *may* mean it won't continue much longer, as happened with my favorite decorating magazine last winter (Country Home). The other alternative is what happens when a company produces a magazine? Usually only products produced by them is shown, and the only advertisers are for those who seel the magazine owner's products, and a whole world of specialized items is left out.

    I hope this doesn't sound to stern, but I just want to point out what might happen if the advertising income disappears. We may very well be left with only magazines relating to whatever craft is deemed to be in style at the time.

    Is there anyone in the magazine business reading that can verify if it's still true that a subscription price still is mostly for postage/handling and that advertisers pay for the articles???


  15. Hello Miss/Mrs…

    I am french and just found out today your very interesting website – especially concerning your comments on embroidery books… Actually Embroidery – in general – came out to be a new interest for me : i’m a beginner. Well, this article of you was written 1 year and half ago but you still may be interested by this information : by surfing on the net, on amazon.fr I found out a beautiful book (don’t know what’s inside but I guess as pretty as the cover)about this exhibition in 2009, at the Museum of the Visitation in Moulins, France you wrote about… It’s entitled “De fleurs en aiguille : L’art de la broderie chez les visitandines”. Here is the link : http://www.amazon.fr/fleurs-aiguille-Lart-broderie-visitandines/dp/2757202766/ref=pd_sim_eb_4

    Hope you’ll enjoy
    Best regards.


    1. Thanks, Pauline! I have seen the book before, too, but haven’t bought it, as it’s a little expensive. I can’t find it here in the US, but now and then I look for it through used book sources. Hopefully, some day I’ll get my hands on it! ~MC

  16. I make finished items of tatting: baby booties, caps, around hankies,on note cards, tea towels, ear rings, book markers, pin cushions.

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