The pros and cons of buying cross stitch and hand embroidery kits

The pros and cons of buying cross stitch and hand embroidery kits

with 16 Comments

In this short video tutorial I’m going to go over the pros and cons to buying stitching kits, as recently I’ve been asked quite a few times about purchasing kits. You’ll see that there are advantages and disadvantages, no matter whether you’re buying a cross stitch kit or hand embroidery kit. I go into some detail of each point (and discuss a “hybrid” solution that might work for you) in the video below. I also include all the links and such I discuss at the bottom of this post.

 

 

Pros of buying stitching kits

  • It’s convenient to get everything in one place
  • Everything you need is (usually) included so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to buy something
  • Some companies only sell kits
  • *Sometimes* it can be less expensive to purchase a kit than the raw materials

 

Cons of buying stitching kits

  • You use what’s in the kit, so you may not get a chance to experiment as much with new things
  • Some designers simply cannot produce kits, so only stitching kits really limits the availability of designs
  • Your local needlework and craft stores could really use the business right now
  • Relying on kits can make you not know where to get materials on your own
  • Kits can be significantly more expensive than buying the materials on your own, and be much lower quality materials
  • You don’t get to see what’s new in the shops, and get to experiment and play with new materials

 

Links to related resources, tutorials, and patterns mentioned and shown in the video

 

16 Responses

  1. Christine Forber
    | Reply

    I rarely buy kits for crossstitch projects. I’d rather supply my own fabric (often hand dyed) and thread. I usually use DMC for crossstitch, and it is easy to obtain around here.

    On the other hand, I often buy kits for canvaswork projects. Fewer options for canvases, so unlikely to swap out the recommended canvas. Also often many more threads used and again, often less common ones so my LNS may or may not carry all of the recommended threads and may have to order some in, which takes extra time, sometimes weeks.

    Christine

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Yeah that’s a good point Christine, with canvaswork and needlework kits often it’s much harder to replace the materials yourself, particularly if the canvas is painted. At least most of those tend to use better quality materials which is good. 🙂

  2. Alice Faye H. Sproul
    | Reply

    Thank you all so much for your comments. I appreciate your help.
    Alice Faye

  3. Alice Faye Sproul
    | Reply

    My biggest concern is that there won’t be enough floss or yarn to complete the design. The thought of trying to buy my own to match is very scary to a beginner like me.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      There’s nothing to be scared of, but if you’ve run out of floss from a kit then you’d have to physically take it to a shop and compare the colours (if the manufacturer won’t send you more). Of course, that’s assuming the kit is using DMC or whatever brand floss your shop stocks (which is not normal for most kits except higher quality ones), and that the lot numbers of the floss dyes will be close enough to not create any issues when you start using the new threads. 🙂

  4. Linda
    | Reply

    I agree with Karen W., often the floss is very low quality..it gets in knots, breaks, or develops a severe nap along the length of the thread. It’s much better to assemble your own materials in a box before you start.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Agreed, it’s far too common to see really junky thread in kits, unfortunately…

  5. Robin. Capron
    | Reply

    I mostly use kits from events like Xmas in Williamsburg because they generally have silk thread and imported linen. It’s pricey, but I love going to the events and meeting other stitchers as well as getting quality kits and patterns.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Oh yeah, those kinds of kits are usually very high quality as it’s part of a stitching event. The one time I went to a big stitching event, my kit was great, and I’ve bought kits from Alison Cole and she uses really good quality materials in her kits. But they’re stumpwork and goldwork, so they do contain specialty materials and threads too, same as the one I bought from Hazel Blomkamp’s site to kit up her Pertinacity pattern in her book Crewel Intentions. 🙂

  6. Karen Williams
    | Reply

    I don’t like kits because they usually don’t give enough material to frame. They also don’t put quantity thread in them. I only but kits if it’s something I want to stitch. If I do I replace the material and sometimes the thread

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Yeah that’s a common thing to do with kits, replace the fabric and maybe the threads (which makes for a pretty expensive pattern if it’s also available not kitted). 🙂

  7. Rebecca Kirk
    | Reply

    I recently purchased a kit that my daughter wanted done. After I got started, I noticed a flaw in the aida cloth that won’t be covered with stitches. So waisted cloth and thread to start over again.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Booo I’m sorry, that’s the worst to have to start over again… 🙁

  8. Daisy Swaffer
    | Reply

    Another con is not getting to choose your fabric in a kit.
    I hate using aida, I only use evenweave or linen and most kits are aida, and I love using hand dyed fabric too. So if I get a kit, the fabric gets wasted.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Yep exactly, there are some very nice Aidas around (like Zweigart’s is butter soft and soooo nice to work with), but agreed — usually the fabric in kits belongs on the Hot Mess Express… 😂

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