I subscribe to a couple of craft magazines, and buy others as and when they look to contain something I might find interesting. I buy them because I find them inspiring; they challenge my creative thinking and help me keep my finger on the pulse of all things craft. A part of me also likes the validation they provide; a passion for crafting is not something I should need to justify, but it's always nice to know there are lots of others out there who love the same things as me. Crawling into bed with a cup of tea and my latest craft read after a tough day is one of my not-so guilty pleasures.
Of course, lots of crafting magazines come with some sort of kit. I'd say a free kit, but they aren't - I most definitely pay for them in the price of the magazine.
I have very mixed feelings about these gifts. Some provide me with that incentive to buy a magazine I may otherwise have been dithering over. Others are just plain disappointing.
Take the sardine keyring kit in the first picture. When the latest issue of Mollie Makes kerflumped onto my doormat, I took a look at this latest extra offering and the following thoughts ambled through my brain:
- I am a crafter. I craft. Therefore I own a fair few craft materials, and I can make things like this. Why do I need a kit for something fundamentally so simple? If all Mollie Makes readers are already crafters, wouldn't they be able to figure out how to make one of these?
- But it's a nice idea. Cute. I wouldn't have thought of it had this kit not landed on my doorstep. I'll probably make it.
You see? I can't make up my mind. Some magazine kits border on patronising. If I go ahead and make it I will own something that thousands of other readers own. I'll have taken part in a mass production project - not what I believe crafting to be all about. And because I'm a crafter I already know how to make many of the kits I end up with. It's not because I'm clever, but because these kits have to be aimed at everyone and achievable for everyone. If I look at it that way, I'd rather stick to making the project ideas inside the magazines, because that way I get to learn something new, and put my own spin on it.
I remember in the early days of Mollie Makes a project was featured on how to sew three little linen mice, complete with clothes. I loved seeing all the different versions popping up on social media in the weeks that followed, including varying colours, clothes, facial expressions, and even one lady who made the ears longer so she had a set of rabbits.
On the flipside, kits are pretty great if you fancy a spot of crafting once the working day is done. You don't have the headache of designing and measuring and finding all your materials, and you have something finished by bedtime. Mindless crafting is sometimes just what we need.
Personally, I prefer getting crafting materials with my magazines. Then I can use them for inspiration in a project of my own design. I may even get to use them across several projects, representing better value for money every time I fork out for a craft mag.
What are your thoughts on the kits/'freebies' you get with craft mags? And if you're divided on craft mags full stop, this post on 'Why I buy £4.99 Craft Magazines' by Crafting Fingers really struck a chord for me. Her point about swapping mags may mean you remove the bittersweet issue of the included kits altogether - only one of you can have it!