On chilly winter days, there’s nothing better than coming home from work for a lunch, picking up the mail, and finding a needlework magazine just waiting for exploration. A great way to spend a lunch hour – inside, warm, with a cup of tea and something interesting to browse through. That’s how I spent my lunch hour the other day – browsing through the Winter Issue of Spool, a quarterly needlearts magazine.
Last July, De Selby announced the premier of her new needlework magazine called Spool, and since then, two issues have hit the press and arrived in the mailbox. With the first issue, there was a flutter of reviews on various needlework blogs, so I thought I’d hold off a review until the second issue. And I’m glad I did! The second issue is a lot of fun – take a look!
Spool is a large-format magazine, 11″ x 17″. It is dedicated to all kinds of needle arts – from hand embroidery, to cross stitch, to needlepoint, to knitting and crochet, and all kinds of sub-categories in between. This is great for the multi-talented needleworker, who likes to switch around between different types of handwork pursuits.
De Selby is the editor and publisher of the magazine. As I mentioned back in July, it is a gutsy undertaking, but so far, she has really delivered the promised goods – and I think that’s commendable and exciting!
So let’s take a look at what De collected, through the various contributors, for this quarter’s publication.
First off, there’s this little collection of crocheted nesting penguins… and they are So Cute. Perfect little projects, perfect for little gifts. They caught my attention right away. Too bad I don’t crochet. Actually, I do crochet, but the stuff I crochet is… well…. eeeew. You don’t want to know! Let’s just say I’m probably not going to perfect that skill any time soon. But, if you crochet and you like little, these things are darling!
And if you knit, there’s a terrific pattern for fingerless mittens, decorated with an embroidered snowflake. Ingenious! I wonder if I could use something like this while typing blog posts?? Anyway, I love the idea of mittens, but still having functional fingers.
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and this design for cross stitch – featuring a box of chocolates – is great for the celebration. Long before Forrest Gump told us that “life is a box of chocolates,” this iconic Valentine’s Day gift was already popular, and now you can immortalize your love of boxed chocolates in cross stitch. Admittedly, stitched chocolates aren’t quite the same as the real thing, and admittedly, you can’t bite the corners off these to see what’s inside…. but it’d still be fun to stitch! Thanks to the large format of the magazine, there’s no need for reproducing the design and blowing it up – every design in the magazine can be easily read.
Throughout Spool, you’ll find little blurbs scattered among the pages – some are inspirational, some are funny, some are informative – and one feature that shows up repeatedly is Books You Should Have in Your Library. These are short little reviews of needlework-related books currently on the market. In this issue, I came across a couple I didn’t know about, that I know would make great gifts for the various needleworkers in my family – the knitting niece, for example.
Ok. Here’s my fave. These guys just crack me up. There’s a little tutorial in this issue for felted snowman heads. They’re small, they’re endearing. I don’t know if it’s the nose, or if it’s the goofy smile, or if it’s the clever coil on the earmuffs – but I think these guys are too cute for words! They make me laugh. There’s a full tutorial for them inside the magazine. Fun, eh?
There’s an excellent tutorial inside this issue by Sharon of Threads in Bloom for this Brazilian Embroidery medallion. Very pretty! And a good opportunity to give BE a try!
There’s also a punchneedle project featured – a bunny on a sled – for those who like punchneedle embroidery…
… and for owl fans, you may like this design for charted needlepoint!
Keeping with the winter theme, this is another one of my favorite projects in this issue. Yep, it looks like counted cross stitch – and it certainly could be used as a counted cross stitch design – but that’s not actually what the project is. It’s for duplicate-stitching on a sweater. The featured finished product is a white pullover that has this penguin duplicate stitched on it, along with matching bands of duplicate stitching along the cuffs of the sleeves. The colorful scarf and the penguin really stand out against the white sweater, and the duplicate stitching along the bands of the sleeve (echoing the designs on the penguin’s scarf) is the perfect finishing touch for a kid’s sweater.
This issue of Spool has all this – and more.
So you can see that Spool delivers a wide variety of projects and ideas on a wide variety of needlework topics. At first, this was one thing I thought would turn me off from the magazine… too much variety crammed into a relatively small space. But that’s where the format comes in. The large format makes the whole thing airy and open, and it doesn’t seem cluttered or jumbled, as if too much is being thrown at the reader at one time.
I’m impressed so far with both issues of Spool, and I hope that De enjoys good success with it! I definitely think it’s worth a subscription – there aren’t too many needlework publications you can get in the US for $18 / year. And this one has a good variety of fun things – things that would appeal, I think, to needleworkers of all ages!
Do you get Spool? If so, what do you think? Are you enjoying the publications? Anything you want other readers to know about? Feel free to share your thoughts!
2017 Update: Spool is no longer in publication.