Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I still remember first seeing this premiere issue of Threads magazine in a bookstore. It was 1985. I was a working mother of small children, and I was in love with fiber and fabric and threads. The mysterious cover image of a weaver seen through the warp of a tapestry in progress just pulled me in. At that moment a 21-year long relationship began.

In that first issue, besides the article on tapestry weaving, I saw beautiful images of resist dyeing and I learned how to attach shisha mirrors and embroider around them.

I subscribed right away and when my new issue arrived at my mailbox I couldn't wait to curl up with it and discover what treasures it contained. Over the years I learned about all kinds of weaving, stitching, quilting and dressmaking.

In 1994, I thought this vest, woven with folded fabric and embroidery floss was smashing. I still want to try that.

In Threads' pages I first met Kaffe Fassett, Nancy Crow, Adriene Cruz, Ruth McDowell and many, many others.

I was never a knitter, but oh how inspiring the knitting was! Needlepoint, cross-stitch and fiber art of all kinds — more beautiful and artful than I saw in any other magazine—ever.

As the years went by I began to notice fewer articles about weaving. Then the knitting and crochet disappeared. Embroidery became machine embroidery to decorate clothing and home dec items. Then the home dec went away and more and more articles about tailoring and dressmaking showed up. Finally quilting was gone and in its place, articles about sewing your own bras and how to choose interfacings and different styles of buttonholes. Slowly and subtly my wonderful fiber art magazine had morphed into Home Ec Geek Journal.

About two years ago this issue featuring white top-stitching on the world's homeliest navy raincoat, came wrapped in a cover that invited me to "Tell us what you think" and pointed me to their web site. I went to the web site and told them how much I missed the old Threads with the beautiful work and wonderful artists and inspiring photos. They responded, a little defensively I thought, that their market research had told them their subscribers were really only interested in making clothing. So, really, I guess they didn't want me to tell them what I thought. The Home Ec Geeks have prevailed and I'm sad.

The only reason Threads still comes to my house is that my sweet husband, remembering how much I loved my Threads magazines, re-subscribed for me. I still have a year left on my subscription. I have every issue since #1 — all 124 of them and I love to get the old ones out and look at them again and again. But when my subscription runs out I am finished with Threads.

I will leave you with this sample of what may be found in the latest issue. "How to Pin." How. To. Pin.

Need I say more?


  1. That is when I stopped subscribing, Terry! I sort of understood a need for a magazine like that for the creative sewers, but it was not meeting any needs for me.

  2. Hmmmmm, no wonder I don't subscribe to this! Those old issues look really interesting though.

    Shirley in New Zealand

  3. Anonymous12:48 PM

    I, too, have every issue, and, like you, find the earlier issues continually inspiring. I also wrote to complain to no avail. I won't renew either. I just got my new issue and flipped through in a few minutes and found nothing of interest and, like you, marvelled at an article on how to pin. How dumb can anyone be not to figure that out in seconds. Besides, beginner sewing books abound. Who needs Threads for that?

  4. I QNM they are throwing away their old base. Threads has succeeded because it is the best, but it has lost its diversity, and its dedication to excellence and advanced techniques. I'll never make an Armani blazer or fly, but I loved learning about them. I loved the "different" articles, and the old garments on the back. Sigh....


  5. I do so agree with you. An aunt in Canada gave me a sub to Threads every year from about the 10th edition until I told her not to bother as the magazine had changed out of all proportion and was no longer interesting. Occasionally it will have an article of interest but what's one article in a copy when EVERY article used to be interesting! Its a shame as it was a fantastic magazine and there arn't any like it used to be.

  6. Anonymous10:18 AM

    I too have subscribed to Threads for years, though not from the beginning.... I remember being astonished when I met my future husband and found that he had the issue with the article on Navaho blanket weaving, he is a collector, and the article was so definitive that all collectors went out and bought that issue - think that would happen today?

  7. Anonymous4:09 PM

    I've only subscribed for about 10 years but my subscription ran out with the last issue and I'm not renewing because of what I interpret as the dumbing down of the magazine. I used to get Sew News and was thrilled with the high quality of Threads when I first saw it. I didn't realize they had been around so long and that they had been so diverse. I'm an art quilter and sew heirloom garments so Quilting Arts and Sew Beautiful are my main magazines now.