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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SPOOL! Look What’s Coming!


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I’ve discussed before the needlework magazines that I subscribe to – and there are really only a few: Inspirations, Sampler & Antique Quarterly, (sometimes) Piecework, and (sometimes) a French Mains et Merveilles magazine. The first two are “always,” the latter two have been off and on.

And all those needlework magazines are good. They provide projects, history, techniques, and all sorts of stuff that help me learn, understand, and have better insight into all kinds of needlework, past and present.

But there’s a new magazine coming out this fall – and it’s not entirely your typical needlework magazine. I have found my curiosity piqued. What the heck is Spool all about? If nothing else (and I’m hoping it’ll be a lot else), it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Spool Quarterly Magazine

When I first heard about Spool, I didn’t “get it” completely. I was thinking at first, “Oh. Another e-zine,” and nothing really sparked within. Then I realized it was print. And I thought, “Oh. Another magazine.” And still, no spark. But then I found out that I was wrong on both accounts.

Think about that: it’s not an e-zine (I’m glad), and it’s not “another magazine.” (I’m glad of that, too.) Then… what?

Spool is going to be a quarterly tabloid in an 11″x17″ format. Think “newspaper,” but not just a newspaper. A needlework publication. It promises to feature projects, needlework information and tutorials and so forth, and also the “human interest” side of needlework. Stories (non-fiction and fiction), rants (yes, it says rants!), etc. – all with a needlework angle. (You can read about their content under Call for the Creative – and maybe it’s right up your alley, and you can contribute something, too!)

In my mind, I’ve begun to picture a combination of the old French magazines that were full of needlework info, patterns, and so forth, with something along the lines of Addison & Steele’s Spectator (from the early 18th century) – only all up-to-date for today. And suddenly, the spark is there. It sounds interesting. Adventurous. Gutsy.

Will it work? I don’t know! But I’m curious enough about it to subscribe and see what it’ll be. The subscription rate is certainly reasonable – $18 / year for US subscribers. Yep, I’m willing to invest in a subscription to test the waters. And who knows? I might even try to contribute something for the fun of it, once I scrape some other stuff off my plate.

So what do you think? Think it’ll go over? Feel free to leave a comment and share your opinion! The super-conservative-non-risk-taking side of me is rather in awe of the endeavor, so I’d like to hear what other people think!

PS. In writing up this post, and checking my preview before publishing, I just noticed that the color schemes on the two websites – mine, and Spool – are Really Similar. And I got to thinking, “You know… those colors are Really Similar. People are going to think — ” and before you think that, let me clarify: there’s no affiliation between Needle ‘n Thread and Spool. I’m not involved in the creation or concept of the magazine, and I’m not endorsing the magazine (how can I endorse what I haven’t seen?), I’m just letting you know it’s out there, it’s coming, and I think it’s an interesting idea. Now, in the future, if I happen to contribute and have something accepted (it’s a long stretch), I’m not exactly sure how that works. Would I be “affiliated”? Or would I just be telling you, “Hey, look! – I’ve done something on paper for a change…” Well, whatever the case, take this post for what it is – it’s just a “Hey, Look!” and a “Whadyathink?”


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(26) Comments

  1. Hi Mary, Thanks so much for posting this – I’ve been having withdrawal symptoms since my favourite mag, Classic Stitches (in the UK) wound up in April, and perhaps this will fill the gap. I really hope it works out for them! Not 100% sure about the whole fiction angle, but we’ll have to see how that goes!

  2. Sounds a very interesting venture.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the affiliation issue. Those of us who frequently read your site know your opinion is unbiased.

    Did I ‘hear’ you doubt that they might want your contribution? They’d be daft to turn any of your contributions away!!


    Elaine Maul
    Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, UK
    (PS …. no doubt shipping it to the UK would cost a bomb, so it would be great if it had a PDF version to download)

  3. G’day there Mary,

    Spool is a neat moniker for a needlework orientated mag.

    I say go for it. Looked it up and they have a sense of humour enough to make Sad Sack laugh, so it can’t be that bad! Boy, i’m sure admitting my age now remembering Sad Sack comics.

    Thanks for the pointer on this Spool magazine.

    Cheers, Kath

  4. This ought to be interesting! The price is pretty reasonable, too, $4.50 per issue if you buy a subscription. A single copy sounds like it’s going to be $7.50. I just hope it has some historical patterns, instead of all modern copy as their motto implies to me (“We strive to be right while we aim to be RIGHT NOW.”) I’d love to see patterns like some of the newspapers printed in the early 20th century for quilts (I know, quilts aren’t listed, just needlework, but what else would you call quilts???) But, I love all needlework, so this should be good! Thanks for the heads-up, Mary!!! Hugs, Joy

  5. Hi Mary,

    I am not entirely sure that this magazine is my cup of tea or not and decided to purchase a one year subscription in order to find out if I like it or not. It won’t ruin me and this new magazine may turn out to be a good fit for me. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained (smiling)

    Pierrette =^..^=

  6. Hi Mary,

    You should contribute some your beautiful work to this magazine.. I am looking forward to that.

  7. I subscribed to the “newspaper” even though I am going to be 70, 30 over their projected age group…LOL
    Thanks for the heads up.

  8. Well I subscribed, although I don’t know if it will catch on. I am not sure about the format of including writing and patterns and right now they are not paying for the works submitted. Meaning they may not attract the quality of work to print that they are hoping for. I hope they do but I just don’t think it will.

    Also the size is an issue – How the heck am I going to store something this huge for later use! 11X17 is quiet large and I think that may help or hinder the sales. Being that on one hand full size patterns are always loved, but on the other hand I can’t exactly sit in an office with a giant newspaper in my lap to read!

  9. I’m a little sorry to see they decided to target it specifically to people under 40. I think there are a lot of people over 40 doing interesting, vital work, who are really creative. It seems like they think people stagnate once they hit 40? They say under 40 “mentally”, and I’m not sure what they really mean. I worked with a group of crafters for a while and I was the oldest one there, and certainly the least conservative in my ideas and what I was open to.

    1. Hi, all – thanks for the replies on this! I think it’s a great subject for discussion, and some legitimate points were raised. I’m wondering about the format size – maybe it’s foldable down to 8.5 x 11… I was trying to picture that. I have a slew of the old French needlework periodicals that are large which I store flat on a shelf, but yes, they are large. Some of them were folded again in half, though. But I don’t know – it’ll be interesting to see what this turns out to be. The “target audience” is, I think, a question, too, that concerns people. I have the impression that the purpose of defining a target audience is to use the publication to generate interest in needle arts for people in that age range. But I don’t think it’s meant to appeal only to that age range. And in fact, who’s to say what appeals to a specific age range? I know 15-year-olds who are head over heals in love with historical embroidery and who shy away from anything that appeals to most 15-year-olds today. And, as Patti mentioned, there are plenty beyond the age range specified who are eager for and open to innovation in needlework. So it depends on the person, more than the given age range, I think. And heck, I just topped 40 not too long ago …. but it’s hard to remember that….

      Still, I think it’s interesting and I’m eager to see what comes of it. Like most, I figure it’s a reasonable subscription rate to give it a try. As I said, my curiosity is piqued!

  10. Mary linda ,creo es genial una revista asi con patrones y pasado y presente,,arreglados”salen maravillas,,,a eso de la edad no estoy de acuerdo
    ‘con este detalle se quiere mostrar la historia
    a travez de su revista?no contando con opinion de mayores que han estado y practicado ,este bello arte?acaso la tecnica no es la misma?
    solo cambian los materiales”o la revista tiene tan buenos criticos y estudiosos de este arte?
    que solo quieren pasar,lo que ellos admiran
    el bordado es arte antiguo ,,su difusion es actual…los 2 ban de la mano..si se sueltan
    no resulta igual

  11. When I read of ‘Spool’ on your website which I not only like but also respect, I was anxious to explore this new venture at your recommendation and the price as you mentioned seemed very reasonable. However when I did investigate this I found that Canadians must pay $30US for their subscription (not the $18 as in the US) which quite frankly I find appalling. US rates to Canada are so much less than to the rest of the world I feel this is very unfair so I am afraid that I will not be subscribing to ‘Spool’.

    1. Hi, Wendy – Thanks for your comment! Yep, shipping is always a source of irritation for me, too. But here’s a timely little tidbit. I just got back from the Post Office, where I mailed two envelopes that were exactly the same. One went to the east coast of the US (from Kansas) and the other went to Winnipeg, Manitoba. There was a difference of $7.55 in the price of mailing, and the one going to Winnipeg is actually going almost half the distance from me as the one going to the East Coast of the US. The one going to the East Coast will probably be there in 2-3 days. The one going to Canada will take 6 – 10 days, and if I wanted it there sooner, it would have been $9.00 more. I suppose in looking at a subscription, if you multiply the difference in postage rates times 4 (the number of issues), then it becomes a little more understandable why the rate is so different. I’ve actually mailed things to Australia cheaper than I just mailed that envelope to Canada… In fact, earlier this year, I mailed a book to the UK, and it cost me $22 to mail it (more expensive than the book!). I mailed the same book to Australia (which is so much farther away!) and it cost me about $5 less to mail it. I’m completely puzzled by postal rates here….

  12. Dear Mary,

    Thank you for your response.

    Maybe I was a little hasty in my response. Of course when looked at over the year it would appear more reasonable and maybe I will have to revisit this issue.

    I was interested in all your experiences with the items you mail to Canada. I am sure the additional expense you incur when you ship your ‘give a ways’ is truly appreciated by us all; sometimes I think that when we can do this it is half the fun of sharing things with others. Like you I actually don’t understand the US postal rates at all, other than they are much more reasonable than ours; I can actually save more than half the postage for my 75 Christmas cards to the UK if I go south and mail them rather than send them from here in Canada, but that is of course a totally different matter!

    I did copy ‘Spool’ on my comments so I shall be interested to see if there is any response from them. Most magazines etc. From the US usually give a more favourable rate to Canadians.

  13. Oooooo, interesting! I shall have to wander over and check it out. I too subscribe to Sampler & Antique Needlework and Piecework, and occasionally pick up Inspirations. I’ve been worried about how thin the S&AN and Piecework have been the last couple of years.

  14. I know what the description of what the magzine is about reminds me of – Quilter’s Home magazine. It’s a magazine about quilting-related issues, not so much patterns or how-to lessons. Maybe 2 patterns per issue? The rest is any quilting related subject you can think of. The letters to the editors were quite interesting sometimes. I’ll just say that it seemed the editors were of a much more liberal leaning than some writers liked. And I always seemed to miss picking up the issues that were causing the angst on the part of the letter writer.

    As far as payment for any articles – it does say that as they grow, renumeration will increase. Although that could mean getting 2 year subscription instead of 1 year.

    As for the size, it does seem a bit odd. Maybe they found a printer that could do that size much cheaper? Although I can see where it would allow for larger pictures, or more detailed descriptions on the same page.

    Most likely I’ll give Spool a chance for a year or two. Even if not to my taste, I wish them success.

  15. Re the size, and format generally, it’s just occurred to me that if they’re printing on good ‘newspaper’quality paper rather than glossy magazine quality then it’s going to make it not only MUCH cheaper to produce but also recyclable, which has to be a good thing! It will presumably reduce the picture quality but we’ll have to wait and see how much this matters!

  16. I picked up embroidery a year or so ago and couldn’t believe the subscription costs of many of them. Spool’s price of $18 seems so much more reasonable – I am hoping to get a lot of bang for my buck! I am also hoping that it will appeal to needleworkers of all ages with projects large and small and that range in difficulty from simple to complex. And if the writing is as eloquent as yours, then, Spool will be a must have for every needleworker near and far!
    Thank you so much for mentioning it,
    Karen in western NC

  17. I too am intrigued by the concept and was thrilled to be asked to write for it. SO….I’ve contributed a bio, an article, and a project to the first issue. Since writing is a passion of mine – in addition to knit, crochet, and felting (wearable fiber art)- it has “spooled” me in.

    I did notice the colors immediately when I found your site – thanks for the clarification!

  18. Hi Mary,

    I’m thrilled to have been invited to contribute a project to this issue. I’ve completely lost interest in counted cross stitch and no longer care to spend my energy in that design field. Instead, as a crazy quilter I have contributed a pretty project to the first issue and am pleased to see a publication that covers a variety of needlework avenues rather than a single specific technique.

  19. Hi Mary, I’m really glad I found your blog and this article. In it you were discussing the upcoming premier issue of Spool magazine. I’m wondering if you might still have a hard copy of that first issue somewhere? There’s a wonderful pattern for a tea cozy in it, that is linked on Ravelry, but the link no longer works, as the magazine is defunct and their website has gone off-line. I am looking everywhere for a copy of that pattern. There’s a variation of it that looks like a Scottish thistle that I would love to have. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated.

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