Kits versus Kitting it up

The weekend the spotlight is on kits – is it best to buy a kit or buy the chart and materials separately?

Most of the designs I have reviewed so far are charts only because that is what I prefer to buy and I have a large enough stash that I usually have some fabric and threads to substitute to make it all work.  However there are times when a kit is really useful and suitable.

When to buy Kits:

When you want to open the packet and start right away. Most good kits include chart, fabric, threads and needle.  All you need to add is your favourite pair of scissors and your preferred fabric support (hoop, q-snaps, stitching frame etc).

Dimples Designs - Larch Ladybug
Dimples Designs – Larch Ladybug

When the kit includes specialised items such as a pre-printed background fabric

Kits - Venetian Mask
Lanarte – Venetian Mask

When buying the kit is cheaper than buying all the speciality threads and beads separately – if stitching a Chatelaine design, always look at the options provided by European Cross Stitch.

Chatelaine - Midi Mystery III
Chatelaine – Midi Mystery III

When buying as a gift for a friend

Vervaco - Paris Couture
Vervaco – Paris Couture

When buying a starter kit to gift to a child

Beginner kits
Beginner kits

When you love the design, but it is ONLY available as a kit:

Ink Circles - Fireweed
Ink Circles – Fireweed


When to buy Charts:

When you simply can’t afford the kit, or you can buy the materials cheaper separately

Silver Lining - Rendezvous in Paris
Silver Lining – Rendezvous in Paris

When you already have all the materials in your stash – no that is not nearly a full set of DMC, I have about a quarter of the colours available.

DMC Stash
DMC Stash

When you plan to substitute the materials – i.e. hand dyed fabric and floss for plain – here I swapped the plan fabric for a dyed and silk instead of cotton threads

Forever in my Heart - Chocolate Moods
Forever in my Heart – Chocolate Moods

When you want to stitch a series of designs all on the same fabric – I was gifted the used charts of the Mirabilia Seasonal Fairies designs.

Mirabilia Seasonal Fairies
Mirabilia Seasonal Fairies

When you love playing around with all the different options for fabric and floss

2014-11-15 11.38.29

When you want to stitch it more than once; I stitched Ink Circles’ Aventail twice with the same fabric and thread combination. I cut the thread in the second one so that the multicoloured sections went where I wanted instead of randomly.

When you want to stitch it in a different format (ie: bookmark, coaster, box-lid)

Bookmark for Linda
Bookmark for Linda

When the kit comes with Aida and you want to change it for an evenweave – I loathe stitching quarter stitches on Aida, so if the design calls for partial stitches, I will always take out the Aida and find some suitable evenweave

14ct Aida vs 28ct linen
14ct Aida vs 28ct linen

When you want to change to size of the fabric – I can’t see the holes on 40ct fabric so I always change that to 28ct or 32ct.  I’ve started some art to stitch designs on 25ct fabric and now want to try a few on 18ct to see if that is easier for me.

18ct Floba vs 25ct Magic Guide
18ct Floba vs 25ct Magic Guide

Partial Kitting

I love places like European Cross Stitch which are happy to sell you partial kits. For example, for one of the Chatelaine designs I had the following purchase options:

  • Chart
  • PDF Sent Via Email
  • Full Kit
  • Kit (No Fabric)
  • Bead Pack
  • Fabric
  • No NPI – This removes NPI from your order.

Many other shops and designers are also offering partial kits, i.e. only the embellishments or a floss pack of the hand dyed floss. These are so convenient as you can choose only the materials you need and often you save money from buying the materials in a pack.


So in the end the question of buying the kit versus kitting it up yourself? Well it depends.  It depends on all the above factors, there is no absolute answer and anyone who tells you there is, possibly hasn’t seen all the options.


So are there any reasons I missed for charts or for kits? Comment below, I’d love to hear everyone else’s opinions on this topic!


Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.

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Last updated: 15 November 2014