Crochet Magazines: A crictical eye…

We have a lot of discussions about crochet magazines in our on-line communties, and I thought to myself why not take a gander at the three that CLF members often choose to read. These three are in alphabetical order (not preference).

Crochet!
Crochet Today!
Interweave Crochet

Taking all three and really looking through them with an eye to the following I created this special Fearless Leader Report.

Art Direction (This is how pretty the pictures are, the color theory involved in the side bars etc)
Layout/Readbility (This is how the text is presented, how the photos line up, use of white space etc)
Use of charts/diagrams and how they fit into the layout scheme
Quality of patterns (are they cute/fashionable/usable/well written/easy to understeand).

Now I get nothing out of this, and I’m not going to slam anyone, I just want to make a few observations. Let’s keep this possitive.

Let’s work out of order on my list here for a second. Pattern Quality.

To be honest, all three of these magazines have good patterns. All of them share designers. I think what is the difference in presentation of the finished articles in the photos has a lot more to do with the yarn companies that commission designers than the designs themselves. Yarn companies (Especially Coats and Lion Brand) STOP giving away your UGLIEST dye lots to the designers for their crochet patterns. Color and fashion are matters of personal taste, but if I was someone who did not know how to substitute in a pattern, I’d almost never make anything out of these two companies yarns. They have LOTS of fab colorways, time to use them.

So, all three magazines have good patterns, so why do people say Interweave is better most often? (At least CLF members). I would say it’s about the fashion items. I think IC has more fashionable wearables, in better color ranges making them visually appealing. I do not think the patterns are better written than in the other three magazines, I think they are all on par.

Art Direction:

To be honest I think Crochet Today! Probably has the best art direction and layout. I find it a very easy to read, well planned magazine. It’s proprietory though, owned by Coats and Clark, and so it will always be limited to those yarns. Not that I think Coats has bad yarn, I buy my fair share, but it shall always be limited to that.

Interweave Crochet is next on my list for Art Direction, I think they have some of the very best photography though, and the magazine is always visually appealing. I think there could be more done with the white space, but in general I think IC is a beautiful magazine which aids it’s popularity.

Crochet! Ok, this is where things need to change up. The patterns in this magazine are every bit as good as what you find in the two above. And I love how they often include quick and easy projects along with fashion items. BUT and a big but, they really need to work on their art direction. The color schemes often do not work with the photographs, and it is some of the worst photography I’ve seen. You do not use the same color background as a garment in this kind of work…and it happens over and over and over. The worst offense yet was a really cute sweater with ruffles, but the photo showed NONE of the ruffles. This is a big n0-no. Crochet! Needs to understand that MOST crocheters are very visual and rely as much on the photos as they do the written words.

Crochet! Also needs a cleaner layout, and better color useage in sidebars etc. Again the QUALITY of what is in the magazine is great, if you get past the art mistdirection. And you know most people don’t have time to sit pouring over a magazine to see what I was looking for.

I think Crochet! has had some great articles on construction and crocheters, and Interweave does as well. I have a harder time finder Crochet Today! in my area, but when I do find it I enjoy reading it.

This is just my opinion, and we know that opinions are like noses, we all got ’em and they all smell 🙂 But, frankly, I do buy all three magazines when I can find them, I think all three of them offer enough different to warrant their purchases. But with a little more detail Crochet! could vastly improve it’s market share, and it’s following.

See it wasn’t too painful, and next time you get your Crochet! magazine take a closer look, because I think the patterns are lovely. (I just use other colors most of the time, especially for blankies!)

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10 responses to “Crochet Magazines: A crictical eye…

  1. One of the reasons I prefer Interweave to the other two (though I like all three) is that it usually contains more articles – not just patterns, but things about technique (fit, altering patterns, swatching, etc) and history.

  2. fireflyzephyr

    I’m a new crocheter and I’m so addicted to crochet magazines! I prefer Interweave Crochet for its contents and Crochet Today for its looks. Sometimes the look of IC is kind of…uhm…how shall I say it…matronly. Especially the fall issues. Just because it’s fall does not mean you automatically pick rust and brown.

  3. Being a newbie to crochet, I really enjoy Crochet Today! It’s got simple patterns, the layout is visually pleasing (I’m sorry I tend to judge books by their cover). A very close second is IC. I just recently started purchasing this magazine and love it! I’ve moved on to more intermediate projects and want to attempt to wear things I make now so I like IC for that. I absolutely hate looking at Crochet! I think the color combos, patterns and magazine as a whole is kinda old fogey. It makes me think of the one issue I got free and understood why it was free. 😛

  4. i have to agree with you on everything you wrote. sometimes i just want to get a job at one of the magazines to help them make them “look” better. esp with the ones you pick up and kinda cringe away from b/c of bad photography etc…. sigh. I hope they are listening!

  5. Crochet Today! is my personal favorite, but just so you know, the UK JUST came out with their premier edition of Inside Crochet Magazine. It was brilliant. You can check out my blog and look under the “good read” label and find it.

  6. Courtney Paris

    I love IC for the reason you mentioned regarding the yarns. UGH. I have such a hard time envisioning how nice something can be when it’s made out of horrid colored acrylic yarn.

    Thanks for the post and reminder that I need to renew some subscriptions!

  7. I agree with just about everything you had to say. I tossed aside Crochet! probably for the reasons you stated not knowing why myself but being a very visual person when it comes to picking crochet patterns I didn't like the photos. IC is my favorite because of the fashion issues you stated. Presentation, photography & choice of quality yarns and color. In my opinion, IC is cutting edge. Crochet Today is my #2 favorite mag. I grew up on Coats and Clarks and lets face it, we can't all afford high end yarns. I love all things traditional regarding crochet and I agree with you about choice of yarns & colors, they could do with a little improvement in that area.

  8. Fearless Leader of the CLF

    Yes, the UK does have a new magazine! Called, Inside Crochet 🙂

    In fact in the very first issue the CLF was their On the Web feature 🙂 YAY!

    However, this review was just covering the three most popular crochet magazines from a poll taken last fall by CLF members 😉 I finally got around to looking and writing about the magazines 😉

    Inside Crochet has a great layout, and the patterns are very good. In fact I would say several of our magazines should take a nice long look at their layout! Clean, easy to read, visually appealing…Loved it.

  9. Although I usually only get IC, my fave thing about Crochet Today is the very last page where they have a thumbnail of all the projects and the page number of the pattern. That is hugely helpful.

  10. I also prefer IC first, Crochet Today second. I think IC’s pattern choices better fit my own fashion style than Crochet! which is why I rarely pick it up anymore. Crochet Today is fun and and easy to read. Oh, and Fearless Leader, since you’re localish to me (I live in South King County)…I tend to get Crochet Today at Fred Meyer, they usually have it there. Not sure if there’s one in Stanwood or convenient at all, but thought I’d throw it out there 🙂

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