Quick & Easy Cross Stitch is a magazine published monthly in the UK. It differs from the many other cross-stitch magazines available int hat it is full of small projects - sets of small-medium images which can be stitched in a small amount of time. Because the charts included are small, they can include lots more charts than most magazines.
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Q&E has more features than just being a collection of quick, easy charts to stitch, which make it a great magazine to read, and the only one I have an annual subscription to, which I renew.
Stories and Letters
Letters from readers are a focus point of the magazine, which gives it a very friendly feel. Each issue contains two full page stories about how cross-stitch has affected the lives of readers. There are also two pages of letters and photos. There is also a section for penpals, if you are of a literary persuasion as well as a cross-stitcher.
Here to Help
There are several sections aimed at giving assistance to stitchers of all levels. There is a step-by-step guide to making a completed project, ie making a stitched piece into something useful. Ask the Experts is a section where the Q&E team answer stitcher's technical queries, complemented by Where Can I Buy?, where they publish sources for charts and kits readers have written in about trying to find, Stitch School, which covers a new technique each month, written by Jo Verso, a well-published designer, and Q&E Stitch guide, the monthly reminder of the basic stitches needed in cross-stitch patterns. Also included is a list of Stockists across the country. There is also a small section, Supertips, containing quick tips from readers.
Freebies and Offers
This section includes Giveaways ("Send in a postcard for a random drawing for one of 10 <item>"), a Prize Crossword, the current month's subscription offer, and details of the Subscriber's Club discounts available.
Charts and other Features
Chart Challenge is a section where readers who are looking for a particular motif can write in and have one designed. These are often very unusual, unique, and very cute. Make a Note covers the latest in cross-stitch news, from new or unusual charts and kits to tools and events. Bright ideas is a monthly collection of motifs on a particular theme. One example had 30 "occupation" motifs. The issue I have to hand for reference currently has 35 garden motifs, including fruit, leaves, watering can, bird house, greenhouse, tools, flowerpots, herb garden, etc. These will often have extra ideas for projects using these, such as coasters, fridge magnets, or key fobs.
The Chart sets which are included each month are designed specifically for Q&E most of the time. About half of these will be exclusive, while the other half will be based on designs which are commercially available, although they are not designs which themselves are commercially available - an example might be exclusive Disney images, or Alice in wonderland designs from a set of 6.
At least one set of charts is based on the month's season, whether it be Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, or just "Autumn". These are charts designed for use on cards, and are designed to be quick to stitch. They always include a complete small alphabet for using on cards, as well as instructions on how to put cross-stitch cards together properly.
There is always a complete novelty alphabet, which can be used in samplers, for borders on table cloths or towels, or individually on cards. Themes range from animals to children's themes, teapots to tools. Then there is Stitch Aid, a collection of copyright free motifs, which can be stitched en masse and sold to raise funds for charity.
Annual Chart Sets
The issues for the year 2000 include a Calendar, month by month. February was a purple Crocus motif, which looks as good in a frame on its own as in a complete Calendar sampler with the others. March's design are bright yellow daffodils. Though simple, the designs are both striking and detailed - very lifelike representations of the flowers.
Another annual set which changes each year is the Zodiac set. The horoscopes for the month (which are a bit of fun) have a new design for each star sign, and form complete sets, changing to a new style when you reach the next Aquarius. These make great samplers, if combined, or super birthday cards.
Stitch a Star, a full-page chart of a new star or starlet each month, complete with shopping list, and guaranteed to be the subject of at least one or two of next month's reader's letters. Stars have included Michael Owen, Princess Di, Leo DiCaprio, and many, many more.
If you like variety, hate complexity, are terrible for leaving unfinished projects around the house, or send cross-stitch cards, then this is very probably the cross-stitch magazine for you. There are usually around 175 charts included each month, so this magazine builds up an excellent library. It's always good reading, and the charts are extremely good for such small, simple designs. Not only that, but the ideas for using the charts are always inspired, with new ideas all the time.
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