Wednesday 23 October 2013

Review: Crafty Magazine

Today I'm reviewing an issue of Crafty Magazine.

Rather shamefully, this post has been sitting half-finished my my drafts folder for so long (thanks to me being busy with some other projects) that the issue I'm reviewing is no longer in newsagents... but you can still buy copies from their online shop, and hopefully this review will give you a feel for what the magazine is like overall even if you can't get your hands on this specific issue. Anyway, enough about me being a bad blogger and on to the review...

Issue #6 of Crafty Magazine has a cute knitted fox bag on the cover, which is inspired by Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox. I can't get enough of woodland animals at the moment and this bag is pretty adorable but sadly I think it might be a little bit beyond my own knitting skill level (for the moment, at least!).

Crafty starts with "What's New" - a few pages featuring things like cool new fabric, fun sewing-themed gifts, lovely handmade products and upcoming events and exhibitions with a crafty theme. 


There's also an events page with things coming up in October (remember, this issue came out a while ago!) around the UK, and a couple of pages of "Good Reads" which includes reviews of some new craft books but also an interview with one of the authors.

There are 26 "Makes" in this issue, covering a wide mix of different crafts: needlefelting, knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, jewellery-making, paper-crafting, cross-stitching, dip-dyeing, cooking, and more! All the projects are fun, modern and colourful (you guys know how much I love a nice bit of colour). Some are extracts from craft books while others have been specially designed for the magazine, but the standard of photography is high throughout. 

Rather predictably, the stitchy projects are the ones that appeal to me the most. I especially love these craft-themed merit badges...


... and this paisley embroidery, although don't know that I'd have the confidence to wear a shirt like this! I'd love to embroider the pattern on something like a cushion though.

All the projects have step by step instructions - some are more detailed, with step by step pics and/or stitch guides, and others are quicker "how tos" like these plant markers made from old forks and broken plates. 

This issue of Crafty comes with a free coaster-making kit.

Sadly, this kit includes that special kind of felt (stiff and paper thin) that I have only ever encountered in free-on-the-cover-of-magazines projects and which I would absolutely replace with felt from my own stash were I to make any of the coaster projects in the magazine.

But! I would absolutely prefer to buy a magazine where the freebie kit materials aren't top quality (and thus, are more affordable for the publisher to provide) because I wouldn't want the cover price to be pushed up just for the sake of a free kit I may not get round to making anyway. Also, the coaster is self-adhesive (you peel off a layer of plastic to reveal the sticky surface, like you do with double-sided tape) which is really great.

(NB the felt was flat when it came out of the pack, I managed to crease it before taking the photo)

The instructions that go along with the kit are really great! There are four different, fun designs included that you could make with the kit (plus two more availablle on Crafty's website) - so you've got lots of options for things you can make from the free supplies but also have 4+ projects you can make from felt in the future.

Another great thing about having several projects you can make from the same supplies is that you could buy a pack of plain coasters, some sheets of felt and some embroidery threads in these colours and make several different designs from them... instead of having to invest supplies to make one thing and then having lots left over.

The only real problem with the coaster projects is the templates which say "blow up to desired size". I don't mind enlarging templates (especially from a magazine so crammed with stuff as this one is) but it's always so much more helpful to see "blow up to X% or to desired size", where X will make templates big enough to make the item at the size shown in the photos. Also in the case of the coaster templates, the templates need to be exactly the same size as your coaster so your felt design will fit neatly on top, which is going to be tricky to achieve without being told what % to enlarge them by.

As well as craft projects, this issue also includes a sewing column written by Tilly from the Great British Sewing Bee, an interview with a feltmaker, and a lovely home tour...

... plus articles about The Colour Run (which looks so much fun that it almost makes me want to take up running just so I can take part in a future event) and super cool town Hebden Bridge.

There's also "The Crafty Guide to Business" which this issue focused on offering bespoke orders and a feature on craft bloggers who went from blogging to writing craft books.

One thing I really like about the content across the magazine is how many of the tutorials and other features have a "sidebar" with three things along the same theme. For example, alongside the paisley embroidery project there are three fabrics that feature paisley motifs, alongside the plant labels are three more plant label ideas from craft blogs (with the blog addresses included), alongside the needlefelting tutorial is info about three courses/books so you can learn more about needlefelting, and alongside the fox bag tutorial there are three fox-y shopping ideas.

Overall, this is a lovely magazine! It's jam-packed with content, with a really broad mix of crafty projects and a good balance between stuff to make and features to read... and it feels fresh and up-to-date, like a great blog.

Issue 7 (out now) looks great and seems to contain even more makes!

I especially love the look of this cross stitch lampshade project.

Crafty Magazine is £4.99 per issue, or you can subscribe here.  

[Disclaimer: the nice folks at Crafty Magazine sent me a free review copy of issue 6. I'm also currently working on a project for a future issue of the magazine but you guys know I'm always honest in my reviews!]


Sara Millis said...

Ooo I've not heard of that one... I shall have a look in the newsagents for it :)

Bugs and Fishes said...

It's well worth a look, Sara! They have it in my local WHSMITH :)