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Thread: Kits - the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.

  1. #1
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Kits - the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly.

    I like kits, bundles, precuts, and fabric lines. I know that many of you delight in the search for exactly the right fabric, but ... I don't. Here's what I have learned through the purchase of many such things:

    If the ad for the kit does not show a picture of a completed quilt, I won't purchase it. I have two small layer cakes right now that I bought by theme and price (wanted Little Golden Book characters and they were really good deals.) I can use maybe 5 of the 20 fabrics - the rest don't seem to go. The ad said you just sewed these squares together and you had a quilt. Well, you'd have a really ugly quilt! I ended up making 4-patches from 4 of the fabrics and usingthe Golden Book character block by itself. Had to buy sashing and border fabric to bring it together. The second one has 2 fabrics I'll use. Good thing there are 4 of each of those fabric in the layer cake. I'm adding one more fabric, sashing, and border.

    If the ad does not show complete pieces of each fabric then I won't get it. That applies more to precuts than kits. On Missouri Quilt Co's site you click on the precut and you get a look at every fabric included. Wonderful! Some kits have a tab for "here's what's included". Again, wonderful! If not, I've learned not to buy it.

    If the bundle or kit has too many solid fabrics I won't buy it.

    If the web store says they have the right to substitute fabrics in a kit then expect that they will. I ordered a kit I loved from one site. It was a baby quilt with a lot of orange in it. I liked it so much - and so did the friend I gave it to - that I ordered another one. I wrote in the "comment" section - "Please do not substitute. If the kit is not available as pictured, please do not send". When I received it yellow fabrics had been sutstituted for all the orange. Written by hand on the order form - right next to my comment section that said "Please do not substitute" - was a note that substitutions had been made. It's still a cute kit and I will eventually use it, but not for my University of Texas alumni friends whose school colors are orange and white.

    Be prepared to supplement the kit. I'm working on a kit for a precious Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt. There is no fabric included for the Sue's arm. Since I bought this a while back I have no idea what source I used. I've googled the kit title, but still can't figure it out. It's a tiny little piece and I have a fabric that will work, but ... would have preferred a complete kit.

    I know that fabric choices and colors are personal preference. I'm including a picture of one of the layer cake fabrics to give you an idea. I have a friend who collects Little Golden Books and is pregnant with twins or I would not have ordered this at all. I can make it work, but don't feel I should have to! (out of 20 10"squares I expected to get more than 6 different fabrics - there's something else to read very carefully and look closely at the pictures on the site.) The description of this layer cake says that you can sew the blocks together and have a quilt ready in less than an hour. I will be able to use some by cutting them into small pieces and creating blocks from those.

    Even given these things - I still love kits, bundles, precuts, and fabric lines! I live in a small town and work with a limited budget and sometimes the deals are very good. Sometimes....

    When I've purchased a quilt shop kit or bundle, I have never been disappointed. You see what you're getting - including a made-up sample of the quilt. Some sites never disapoint - I have several Connecting Thread kits. All good. Fabric Cafe has 3 and 5 yard bundles. You see a pic of a completed quilt and see clear, large pictures of each fabric that's included. Great!

    Any other words of wisdom on kits?
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    Last edited by JanTx; 12-27-2012 at 08:48 PM.
    So many quilts, so little time.

  2. #2
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    I agree. The fabric does not look like it would work together in a quilt. Prints are too varied.

  3. #3
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    I have only ever purchased one kit, that was a tree skirt from connecting threads a few months ago. I just made it and was really surprised how generous they were with the fabric. I am careful how I cut, and had in a few of the fabrics, about 1/4 yard at least, left over. I also bought a very large Moda jelly roll on clearance at Annie's on line, and will use it to make a few purses and accessories. The only other pre cut I ever had was a gift and held on to it for a year because I didn't like the pattern that came with it. I decided to try sewing strips together and made a purse that came out really nice, and have enough left for two more. In these cases, I think they all went together well, so not seeing all them doesn't matter. I probably will never buy any more pre cuts, though, and doubt if I will buy another kit, unless I really can't live without it. I like picking out fabrics myself, and besides, I have 4 or 5 quilts waiting for me to make, so I think that will be a year or two's work at least with the purses I will still make.

  4. #4
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    I think you have covered it all and I am in the same boat as you are as I buy A LOT of precuts and kits (I collect them...lol) but noticed one thing though when I look at a precut layercake for example I don't like their choice of fabrics as the way they put colors together but when I see one displayed finished quilt with that layercake I like how they came along together. I am also with you that I would love to always see the finished quilt before buying a kit but when buying precuts price plays a role with me too
    Faten
    Www.easyquiltingcorner.com

    Work like you don't need the money
    Love like you have never been hurt

  5. #5
    Super Member cowgirlquilter's Avatar
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    This is such good information and totally relevant. I understand your frustration. I have experienced the same thing, and it does help to know I am not the only one who has gone through this.
    Theressa
    Cowgirlquilter

  6. #6
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    I bought a kit about 3-4 years ago at a big quilt show. It comprised squares of soft florals, which were meant to be sewn together to make an easy quilt BUT when I looked at it this year, I realised that my ambitions (and modest skills) had moved on and I would be bored stiff just sewing the squares together. Luckily they were ideal to make easy pinwheels, (by sewing right sides together around all 4 sides and then cutting on the diagonals). So that is another factor to keep in mind -- by the time you get around to a kit, you may wish for something more exciting/challenging.
    Last edited by gspsplease; 12-28-2012 at 02:51 AM. Reason: misspelling

  7. #7
    Senior Member skothing's Avatar
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    I bought a fish pattern quilt kit from keepsake and fallowed it point by point. When I got to the last block it was short 6 inches. I called and reported same and had to answer 20 questions. First one was why did you wash it. Because the directions told me too. I never ordered again from them . They never made good on 6 inches. I never look at their catalogue. Bad taste in my mouth.

  8. #8
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    I am working on a kit that I purchased 2 years ago at a show. The challenge is that the picture and instructions refer to the original fabrics and the shop owners had put together a different set of fabrics (which I loved in their display).
    So I had to figure out which fabric they used where! Many were cut into strips which helped to narrow down the options.

    Just wish I had taken a photo of their display quilt, so I would know for sure!
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  9. #9
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for sharing your experiences.... they provide many hints to watch for when we make our purchases
    Nancy in western NY
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    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skothing View Post
    I bought a fish pattern quilt kit from keepsake and fallowed it point by point. When I got to the last block it was short 6 inches. I called and reported same and had to answer 20 questions. First one was why did you wash it. Because the directions told me too. I never ordered again from them . They never made good on 6 inches. I never look at their catalogue. Bad taste in my mouth.
    It's a shame this happened to you. I've only had good experiences with that company but have never bought a kit from them.

  11. #11
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I bought the Back To Nature kit and it is beautiful but it does not have layouts for cutting the fabric. So I hope I have enough with the way Im laying out the block patterns. It is batiks so wont be hard to match up with other batiks if I dont have enough.

  12. #12
    QKO
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    As one who makes and sells kits, I would offer a couple of additional suggestions:

    1.) If you're purchasing a quilt kit and will want to enlarge it or have a matching backing fabric, strongly consider purchasing the additional fabrics at the same time as the kit, even if you don't plan on completing it for awhile.

    Since fabrics, especially now have a limited life-cycle, waiting to purchase later may ensure that you won't be able to find the fabric you want for the backing or additional borders, etc. This applies to most kits, but there are some lines that are ongoing and reprinted all the time, so for kits made from these rare fabric lines you should be able to safely ignore this advice. For this reason it pays to do a little research on the fabric lines used in the kit you are considering.

    2.) Many kit makers now, especially online shops, are not constructing a sample quilt, because it's very expensive to do so with a limited kit run, and the quilt can be fairly represented using photoshopped or EQ7 images. If you look at a kit in an online shop and are uncertain at what's going to be in it, don't be afraid to call the shop and request a few fabric samples of the included fabrics! Most reputable shops will be happy to send small samples if you aren't too outrageous with your requests. (i.e. don't request dozens of samples that take a lot of time to produce.) Likewise, requesting a sample or two of the main fabrics will give you a good idea of the fabric quality that's in the kit.

    3.) If you are thinking about expanding or modifying the quilt, call the shop to see if it's possible to create a custom kit just for you. Most shops precut all their kits, but some custom cut kits after they're ordered. Doesn't hurt to ask, and you may save you some money just by making that phone call.
    Last edited by QKO; 12-28-2012 at 07:18 AM.

  13. #13
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    I love kits! I also like BOMs for the same reason. I like to know that everything will go together nicely and have appropriate balance. Sometimes I do add or change a fabric or two in a kit.

  14. #14
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Every time I go to our largest quilt expo here I am amazed. Vendors sell packages of material that look good. But if you really look there is not enough difference in texture, design, or size of pattern. That would be too boring for me. Yet many quilters buy them.

    I agree, No Substitutions!!!
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  15. #15
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    QKO - wonderful advice! One time I was making a quilt from a kit I purchsed at my LQS. I wanted to make it larger than the pattern called for so bought additional fabric. And more fabric. And maybe even more. If I'd bought 2 kits I would have had what I needed at less cost. So now I try to know about that when I purchase.
    So many quilts, so little time.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jenni M's Avatar
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    Those darn kits are so pretty and hard to resist! I have a tote full to prove it! (Unfinished, of course, lol)

  17. #17
    Junior Member eyes's Avatar
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    I love quilt kits and order only from Pieceful Gathering.
    Linda Lee

    "Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

  18. #18
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    I have always wanted to order a kit, but you gals have scared me right out of it! The best thing about not using a kit is if you do cut a piece wrong, you have a backup!!!!!! (extra fabric).

    My friends and family always give me fabric for Christmas - happy dance - and I can do whatever I want with it. I just don't have to be on pins and needles (to coin a phrase) about ruining something that I just might not be able to replace.

    That is my story - When in doubt - don't! Edie

    PS - But there is something in the back of me saying "Aw, go on, just try it once." Maybe!
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  19. #19
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    I like the kits as well, and I have found a seller on ebay that has some very nice kits, good prices and always works out perfectly, fabric wise. The seller is JordanofOregon, if your interested. I have purchased many many things from there and always been very happy.
    Amythyst

  20. #20
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    I do not particularly like kits either. The few I have purchased either had goofy instructions that simply didn't work very efficiently or the fabrics were not to my liking, therefore I do occasionally purchase a charm pack or two but seldom any other precuts. I have plenty of stash and I can use ALL fabrics I like and don't need to substitute and then wonder what to do with the ones I didn't use. I would prefer to purchase ONLY what I need (if any) rather than have odds and ends that I couldn't use from an expensive kit.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by skothing View Post
    I bought a fish pattern quilt kit from keepsake and fallowed it point by point. When I got to the last block it was short 6 inches. I called and reported same and had to answer 20 questions. First one was why did you wash it. Because the directions told me too. I never ordered again from them . They never made good on 6 inches. I never look at their catalogue. Bad taste in my mouth.
    I have had a similar problem with a Keepsake baby quilt - after washing fabric I was short - even though I cut carefully. My LQS kits often are cut without an eighth of an inch extra - a problem if you are not very precise or if the fabric has been cut uneven. Like a previous poster, my experience with Connecting Threads is the opposite - their kits always have fabric to spare.

  22. #22
    Power Poster gabeway's Avatar
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    Understand your coomments. I know when I get a kit and it says to use scant 1/4 inch seams material is going to be tight.
    Wayne & Gabriele, the married quilters.

  23. #23
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    Suggestion for the Golden Books fabric - I'm working on a Disappearing 9 patch for a baby quilt, the fabrics have very little in common, 2 purple tones, 1 black print, 1 navy print, 2 light brown tone prints and one red/orange print. Sounds nasty, but when I put into the pattern and slice apart, I will wind up with a very interesting set of blocks, with an interesting "side" pattern. The red/orange will be the center square so will be split into 4 small squares. by controlling myself when I twist, I'll have corner to corner and will control the pop of bright color. Then to decide if I want to sash or just frame the finished product.

    I think your Golden books fabrics would look good in that pattern. You may still need to acquire another fabric or two to help lighten up the darks, or use the darkest one as the center block, so it becomes a small accent instead of over-powering the rest!

    So far, I have WAY too much fun buying fabric from across the spectrum at stores to even really consider letting someone else "program" my choices. I too have stood in front of the selection and said "OH my, how would I ever....." then something comes over me and I take home a pile! Too funny and some of the choices have made me wonder about my own sanity, but once I start folding fabric and moving it around, I can usually find a combination that will work. And it's even better when I decide I need 2 or 3 out of my stash to finish the design (stash is handy, IF you use it!)

    Good luck and trust your instincts! If you look at the folded fabrics and think it needs a bright yellow, you are probably right!

  24. #24
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    Keepsake Quilting changed hands a few years ago, never has been the same since.

    Quote Originally Posted by lots2do View Post
    It's a shame this happened to you. I've only had good experiences with that company but have never bought a kit from them.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  25. #25
    Junior Member eyes's Avatar
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    I like the Golden Books fabrics to and also thought of just adding another fabric...different color. :-)
    Linda Lee

    "Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

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