Freebies, cats and awkward goldwork

Earlier this week, as I was continuing my chronological journey through Mary Corbet’s blog, I stumbled across some lovely freebies – always something that brightens up the day (even if it doesn’t particularly need brightening). Writing about some of her favourite websites, she mentioned a designer who was doing a series of Jacobean leaves. Now I’ve only got to 2009 on Mary’s blog, so it does happen that interesting-looking links turn out to be no more, but fortunately Kelly Fletcher’s site is still very much alive. I really like the clean look of her designs, lots of deceptively simple outlines filled with a variety of stitches; her cut fruits are great fun, and I have fallen in love with the four cats on a wall. The peachy corally flower is a close second. And then there is a very pretty set of 12 floral designs plus a Christmas tree which she offers as free downloads on her Craftsy page – numbers 2, 4, 7 and 11 are now officially on my To Do list! (What a happy coincidence that, taking advantage of the weak Euro, I have just ordered some very nice surface embroidery fabric from my favourite Dutch needlework shop…)

Cat design by Kelly Fletcher Flower design by Kelly Fletcher

These were not the only inspiring designs I found on Needle ‘n’ Thread; some posts earlier Mary had discussed a needlework magazine called Samplers & Antique Needlework, and she included pictures of some back issues she had managed to get. The one that immediately drew my attention was the Spring 2005 issue, with a lovely little goldwork project on the cover.

Samplers & Antique Needlework vol. 38

Isn’t it dainty? I like the traditional motif, straight from Jacobean crewel work, the fact that it uses fairly basic goldwork techniques (nothing I haven’t come across yet, anyway, so it can’t be too advanced smiley), its modest size – but these are all rationalisations after the fact; the simple truth is that it immediately appealed to me, and I wanted to stitch it. To do this, I will of course need the magazine. And that turned out not to be quite as straightforward as you might think. There are second-hand copies about on eBay, but they are all in America, and postage alone is over $16; even if I got it at the lowest price offered it would come to nearly £13, a bit steep when all you want from the magazine is one small design.

But wait a minute, Mary mentioned back issues. Off I went to see if the magazine had a website. The good news is that it does. The even better news is that they do back issues, and they do them as downloads, so no postage. Yay! Then I looked a bit more closely and realised they only went back a few years. It was possible that they had back issues that were not on the website, so I contacted them to ask. The lady who replied said that no, they didn’t have digital back issues that far back, but they did sell a very good goldwork book, and she’d forwarded my email to the editorial department. The goldwork book was one I already have, and more to the point it doesn’t have the design I was asking about, but perhaps the editorial staff will be able to help.

If not, I will try my husband’s idea. I showed him a fairly large picture of the design that I had found on the internet and pointed out what techniques were used. I sighed that I could easily stitch it from the photograph if it weren’t for the fact that I am a serious respecter of copyright. He then suggested that I write to the publishers, and offer to pay them the cover price of the magazine, in return for which they allow me to stitch the design. They get the same money as if I had actually bought the magazine, but they don’t have to send me anything (although if they did want to email me a list of the materials used so that I don’t have to make an educated guess, I wouldn’t complain) and I save the postage. Are there any drawbacks at all to this brilliant plan?

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