Let’s Talk Magazines Part One

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At present there seems to be a real glut of knitting and crochet magazines available in the UK and Ireland, which could be seen as a good thing right?  More Magazines equals more competition between the publications to get your custom therefore, you might expect magazines packed to the brim, full of up-to-date patterns and editorials, with reviews on the yarns and items you want to see.  Sadly, I’ve noticed the opposite of late and in many of the magazines there seems to be a real thinning out of quality material.

As there are so many, this post could go on for ages, so I thought it best to split it into two, possibly more separate posts 🙂

So which one should you buy?

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Lets begin with my least favourite and the most expensive – Knitting & Crochet for Baby published by Immediate Media Co. (top) contains 16 knitting and crochet patterns and came with 6 x 22g balls of double knit yarn, a set of 4mm knitting needles and a 4mm crochet hook for the princely sum of…. wait for it…… €13.74  😱 😱 😱  That’s the price of a book, seriously?  Rest assured I would never usually buy such a publication but I felt it was a necessary purchase as research for this post.  There is the argument that the knitting kit with the magazine is what your paying for and of course it’s part of it but you can purchase much better quality products for only a little more money, in colours you prefer and without the risk of ‘running out’.  The patterns are OK, the odd one is even quite lovely but, it’s hard to look past the price even for someone like me, who has been known to pay silly money for the odd, out of print knitting book 🙊

‘Free gifts’ with knitting magazines are one of my pet hates, they’re anything but free.  The price of the gift has been factored into the cover price and I for one would much prefer the option to purchase an issue without the free stitch markers, tape measure, cheap, and nasty knitting detritus 💩 

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Oops, it looks like I might have to reel it in a bit, but not before I talk about The Art of Knitting.

Again there was a pair of needles and 2 balls of wool free with issue 1, which I picked up for the bargain price of €1.50 in McCarthys in Midleton.  The patterns are OK and there’s a KAL for a blanket, which is made up of squares you knit with the free wool, using the new weekly stitch pattern.  Note I said weekly, that’s the problem there in a nutshell.  Issue 1 was €1.50 and issue 2 was €3.50 but all subsequent issues will be €4.99 each, €4.99 per week and according to the website you will have enough squares to complete your throw in 90 issues.

I’m not going to lie to you all.  I actually have the original part work sitting on a shelf in my office from when it was released previously.  I bought it to have as part of the reference library I was trying to build for an idea I had for the shop, but under normal circumstances could anyone truly justify spending €444.12 on this?  It’s an awful lot of money whatever way you look at it, don’t you think?

Most of the magazines are 50% more expensive in the Euro price when you compare it to the price in Sterling, so a magazine that sells for £4.99 is likely to cost around €7.60 here.

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Next we have Knit Today, which also came with a free gift.  I’d stopped buying Knit Today for the shop some months back, because I felt it was repetitive and dull, but I was pleasantly surprised by issue 109.  I’m not sure if there’s been a change in the editorial department since I stopped reading it, or if it’s just a ‘good’ issue, either way it’s an interesting read once more.  One extremely positive thing to note is that the women’s garment patterns in Knit Today are all sized to fit from 8 to 22 as a minimum.

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Love Crochet and Love Knitting For Babies aren’t so readily available in most shops.  Produced by the same people that publish Knit Today, they’re bright, cheerful and pretty.  Love Crochet is good for quick, cute projects, there’s a lot of frippery interspersed with the odd garment or blanket.  Most, if not all of us are fond of pretty things, that are just that, they serve no other purpose than to be pretty and Love Crochet has loads of ideas to feed this need.

Love Knitting For Babies is just that, things for babies, cardi’s, hats, toys, etc.  (I wouldn’t mind the odd dinosaur though, so what that says about me I’ll never know?).  A lot of the patterns might seem familiar and that’s largely because they’re taken from the bigger mills like Sirdar, Patons and Wendy or from other books and publications.

2015-02-12 10.01.29Let’s Knit from Aceville Publications Ltd.  is apparently the UK’s best selling knitting magazine and it’s easy to see why.  First and foremost Let’s Knit feels young, vibrant and fresh faced, it contains a good mix of editorials, news, reviews and most importantly patterns.  The magazine is backed up by a similarly looking web page  complete with free patterns, a blog, how to videos and a craft forum to share in your hobby with similarly like minded people. There’s also a Facebook Page, Pinterest account and Twitter feed to soothe all your ♥ knitty ♥ needs.  

Let’s Knit usually contains a good range of patterns with everything from toys through to garments, most of which could probably be best described as ‘modern’ rather than wardrobe staples (only my opinion).  It’s a knitting magazine dedicated to knitting with the odd crochet patten thrown in for good measure.

Let’s Knit also champion the industry, from the little people like me, to the big boys like Rowan.  They hold The British Knitting Awards every year and launched The Love Your Yarn Shop Campaign in 2014, which will I hope, continue to grow in popularity as Bricks and Mortar yarn shops are becoming even more of a rarity as the rise of internet shops increase.  Without rent, rates and amenities  these online businesses have minimal overheads which make it harder for us to compete very much like florists and supermarkets.

Have you seen any of these 6 publications, if so which do you favour?  In the next post I’ll run through more of the available magazines, there are at least another 8 to look at.

Happy Knitting!

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Yarn Shop Day – Saturday May 3rd

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It seems like I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now what with computer and internet problems *sigh*

Anyway….

Yarn shop day (taking place on Saturday May 3rd) is all about you showing your love for local yarn shops.  It is also an important opportunity for bricks and mortar shops – such as ourselves – to remind our customers how valuable our personal experience and knowledge of all things wonderful and wooly really is.

Whilst the online yarn market is fantastic for those that cannot manage to get into a shop or can’t find something particular it is also unfortunately taking away from the tradition of local yarn shops.  There is nothing better than going into your local yarn shop and having a good squidge and play with the wool, as well as getting hands on help and advice.  Knitters and crocheters alike are an enthusiastic bunch and our shop has often played host to a number of excited discussions about new projects and ideas between strangers that have bonded over their love of the craft.

Yarn shops are fast becoming an endangered species and every week I will have someone come in and say how nice it is to have found a wool shop because they no longer have a local one.  A visit to the yarn shop was something I looked forward to as a child and even now I still get excited when I go to a new place and discover they have a yarn shop to explore.

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So in the spirit of all things woolly we are planning the following events, giveaways and special offers to celebrate Yarn Shop Day.

  • The first 15 customers to spend €25 or more receive a baby knits goody bag.
  • 11am – There will be a demonstration on how to use the amazing Clover Pom-Pom Makers.
  • 2-4pm – We are holding a competition to see who can knit a “Knit Happens” stocking the fastest.
  • There will be a woolly raffle with prizes including Knit Pro needles, Scrumptious Yarn and a variety of books.  (Details of the raffle will be posted here and on Facebook in the coming days.)
  • A free Sparklemouse pattern will be sent to your via e-mail when you spend €5 or more.
  • Clearance packs of yarn and books will be available to buy throughout the day on our market stall outside at less than even Stash Dash Prices.

Throughout the week we will try (I stress the word try) to pop up photos of some of the items that will be  putting on the market stall and using as raffle prizes.

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