Are you a Cross Stitcher?

An analysis of design themes in CrossStitcher Magazine

XStitch - A Modern Cross Stitch Magazine

Our continuing assessment of themes in the mainstream cross stitch publication market turns its attention to CrossStitcher Magazine, one of the longest running titles, published by Future Publishing and then Dennis Publications.

For each issue we focused on the main image offered in each issue, and categorised that design within broad themes, based on the premise that this was the most significant design in that issue. We accessed covers dating back to 2010 and this review will cover the 60 monthly covers to the end of 2014, when the magazine was taken over by Dennis Publishing. We will examine those covers in a separate post.

It’s important to note that we respect CrossStitcher Magazine and know that a lot of people get a lot of pleasure from it. It has been supporting the craft of cross stitch for many years and does a fine job. This is an exercise in understanding the variety of themes offered to the enthusiastic stitcher, and an observation of how the designs might appeal to a diverse demographic audience, by a mainstream publication.

It is also worth noting that Jamie Chalmers, the founder of this website, and of XStitch Magazine, had a regular column in this magazine, but there is no conflict of interest in respect of this analysis. Jamie was a freelancer with the magazine until 2017, but had no influence over the design decisions made within the magazine. He is also quite good at writing about himself in the third person, but he digresses…

CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2010
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2010

The cover for January is classified as Nostalgia whereas the February issue overlaps Cute Animals and Anthropomorphism.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 1
  • Anthropomorphism – 1
  • Florals – 1
  • Landscapes – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2010
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2010

The cover for June is classified as Patriotism and Love whereas the August issue introduces Food.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 3
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 1
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 1
  • Love – 1
  • Food – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2010
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2010

The cover for October is classified as Nature to distinguish from Cute Animals and the November issue introduces Christmas.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 1
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 1
  • Love – 1
  • Food – 1
  • Nature – 1
  • Christmas – 2
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2011
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2011

The April issue introduces Domesticity as a theme.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 1
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 2
  • Love – 1
  • Food – 1
  • Nature – 2
  • Christmas – 3
  • Domesticity – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2011
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2011

The July issue introduces Pattern as a theme.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 2
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 2
  • Love – 1
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 2
  • Christmas – 3
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2011
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2011

The September issue introduces Slogans as a theme and the October issue is classified as Pattern.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 2
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 2
  • Love – 1
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 2
  • Christmas – 5
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 2
  • Slogans – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2012
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2012

The March issue introduces Holidays as a theme to distinguish from Christmas.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 3
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 2
  • Love – 2
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 3
  • Christmas – 5
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 2
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2012
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2012

The June issue combines Nature and Florals, while July introduces Transport.

  • Nostalgia – 1
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 4
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 3
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 4
  • Christmas – 5
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 2
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2012
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2012

The September issue is classified as Nostalgia.

  • Nostalgia – 2
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 4
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 3
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 4
  • Christmas – 8
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 2
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 1

CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2013

No new themes appear in this quartet, however there’s a strong sense of vibrant design – notably different from previous years.

  • Nostalgia – 2
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 4
  • Landscapes – 1
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 3
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 7
  • Christmas – 8
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 3
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2013
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2013

No new themes appear in this quartet.

  • Nostalgia – 2
  • Cute Animals – 4
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 6
  • Landscapes – 2
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 3
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 8
  • Christmas – 8
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 3
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2013
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2013

No new themes appear in this quartet.

See Also
Aubrey Longley Cook - Runaway - Animated Hand Embroidery

  • Nostalgia – 2
  • Cute Animals – 5
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 6
  • Landscapes – 2
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 3
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 9
  • Christmas – 10
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 3
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2014
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for January to April 2014

No new themes appear in this quartet and both February and April are classified as nostalgia.

  • Nostalgia – 4
  • Cute Animals – 5
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 7
  • Landscapes – 2
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 3
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 10
  • Christmas – 10
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 3
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 1
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2014
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for May to August 2014

No new themes appear in this quartet.

  • Nostalgia – 4
  • Cute Animals – 6
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 7
  • Landscapes – 2
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 4
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 10
  • Christmas – 10
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 3
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 3
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2014
CrossStitcher Magazine covers for September to December 2014

No new themes appear in this quartet and September is classified as both nature and nostalgia.

  • Nostalgia – 5
  • Cute Animals – 6
  • Anthropomorphism – 2
  • Florals – 7
  • Landscapes – 2
  • Patriotism – 3
  • Love – 4
  • Food – 3
  • Nature – 11
  • Christmas – 13
  • Domesticity – 1
  • Pattern – 3
  • Slogans – 1
  • Holidays – 1
  • Transport – 3

At the end of 2014, CrossStitcher Magazine was sold to Dennis Publishing. This provides us with a good opportunity to reflect on the emergent themes up to this point.

In examining sixty front covers, that represent a four-year timespan, we can see that there were fifteen different themes used as the main design image in that period. In order of popularity, and as a proportion of all the themes, they were:

  • Christmas – 13 – 20%
  • Nature – 11 – 17%
  • Florals – 7 – 11%
  • Cute Animals – 6 – 9%
  • Nostalgia – 5 – 8%
  • Love – 4 – 6%
  • Patriotism – 3 – 5% 
  • Food – 3 – 5%
  • Pattern – 3 – 5%
  • Transport – 3 – 5%
  • Anthropomorphism – 2 – 3%
  • Landscapes – 2 – 3%
  • Domesticity – 1 – 2%
  • Slogans – 1 – 2%
  • Holidays – 1 – 2%

As is common place in the cross stitch magazine mainstream, Christmas is a dominant theme, with a least three issues per year featuring that theme as the main image. Nature and Florals are the next most common themes, which is a change from the dominance of Cute Animals that we saw with Cross Stitch Crazy and World of Cross Stitching.

There is a noticeable change in the diversity of themes and freshness in design between 2011 and 2013, reflecting a new editor, however it is somewhat short-lived and the vibrancy of colour dims throughout 2014.

CrossStitcher Magazine is arguably the UK’s most popular cross stitch magazine. Yet despite the improved variety of themes in comparison to the competition, there is still an absence of diversity or designs for different demographics.

This is why we create XStitch Magazine.

Our themed issues celebrate the diverse dynamics of an international cohort of designers. We deliberately provide an eclectic mix of designs to ensure that people of all ages, backgrounds and attitudes will find something they want to stitch. We believe that the medium of cross stitch is a vibrant craft that can reflect all aspects of life, and we will continue to challenge the mainstream mindset on modern cross stitch.

Will you join us? Subscribe now to get each new quarterly issue delivered to your inbox and collect our five print editions while stocks last!

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