I'm afraid I have to disagree with you. What both companies did was introduce a whole new generation to embroidery. By saying that they dumbed it down is to insult anyone new who picks up on a needle and tries embroidery. I'm glad that you found confidence to freehand and to do your own patterns. A large amount of people who were introduced to embroidery via these companies have done the same. Newbies are just as valuable as "older" stitchers.Kittykill, I have been such a fan of you so it pains me if my words are misconstrued and misunderstood. Dumbing down meant no complex fancy stitches or threads, just clean easy outlines for entry level stitching. And there is no way in heck I would ever think older stitchers are of more value, not sure if you misinterpreted my words or if I didn't express it well. My point was the younger stitchers are lucky to have images that they are enthusiastic to stitch. When I began cross stitching, it was geese in bonnets and country crap! Can you feel my pain?
Imagine how many more young stitchers are picking up a needle as opposed to when it was thought of as "old lady" craft/crap? It's a wonderful era of creativity. Craftster is the perfect venue for inspiration and challenge to the staid traditional attitudes of handwork.
Hope you geese-in-bonnets people aren't offended . . . .