A blast from the past: looking through a vintage Cross Stitcher magazine

While I was out shopping last week, I came across a bundle of old (very old!) Cross Stitcher magazines from 1994 and 1995. I got 8 of them for £3 in a charity shop, and was very pleased with myself.

Vintage 1

When I got home, I sat down with a cup of tea to have a browse through. This is the first one I read, from 1994. It’s amazing how much things have changed since then! The magazine has quite different designs in it from the type that they now feature. There are more detailed designs in the old magazine, and things like the review of kits and charts on one theme (Christmas themes, in this particular issue) cover 26 items! I think that these days, there are far fewer options available to stitchers (in the UK at least), so reviews tend to be far briefer now. The emphasis on ‘country’ themes was clear, too, which isn’t popular much these days.

It may be my imagination, but the paper quality seemed to be better then – more glossy – and the number of pages was greater than now. It is also noticeable that there aren’t many ‘filler pages’ – double-page spreads offering reduced rates for annual subscriptions, and so on.

The articles are very interesting. I liked this one on computer design software, which was quite a new thing back in 1994. They compared four different software programs, varying in price from £32 to £399!! Think how much £399 was worth back in 1994!

Vintage 3

There is a funny paragraph in the computer charting article, which explains what a mouse is for, for those who don’t know:

“Almost everything is done using the mouse (in a computing context a ‘mouse’ is a device that you push around your desk in order to move a pointer around the screen. It has one or more buttons which you ‘click’ to make things happen).”

Another article is about the cross stitch designer Jo Verso, who, at that time, was really well known for her modern ‘sampler type’ small designs, available in book format. Jo was just starting to offer weekend courses, and the writer of the article attended her first one.

Vintage 2

The pages of adverts at the back of the magazine were interesting for two reasons. The first is that there were so many people advertising – both high street shops, and individual designers. Most were offering catalogues available by post, with payment by cheque or with stamps. No websites at all. That seems really strange now. Some people just *described* their designs (no pictures!), and expected you to send off your money based just on that! Also, it’s very obvious from the picture below that the advert pages were all in black and white, as colour printing was expensive, so was saved for the main section of the magazine.  I noted as well that an awful lot of the shops that advertised in 1994 are no longer in existence. And that’s not just because new ones have replaced them – in the UK, it’s now very hard to find an embroidery shop at all, never mind a good one.

Vintage 4

Still, it gave me a couple of hours of nostalgic pleasure to read through the old issue of Cross Stitcher again. And I’ve still got another seven issues to read  🙂


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