Updated February 10, 2023
I don’t often buy needlepoint kits, but when I do, I buy them because I like the picture of the project on the cover and I want to stitch it. That one. Right now. I do not need to add one thing.
That’s the point of a kit, isn’t it? Grab and go?
So imagine my surprise when I bought a kit several years, from Chameleon Designs, really loving the piece and found that the kit was not complete. It had the main thread, canvas, instructions, and a needle. But the second thread, which is used for overstitching as an accent, was glaring in its absence.
In the instructions, this step was fobbed off with a comment that overstitching or beads could be added.
Nothing about the thread to use, nothing about where or how to do the overstitching (I guess we could look at the picture, but they didn’t even bother to say that), nothing about where to put the beads, which can barely be seen in the corner of a second picture of the piece seen at the top of the picture of the project that caused me to buy the kit in the first place.
There was space to add this information, and the thread should have been included in the kit. Or if it wouldn’t be included, the main picture should have been of the project without the overstitching, and the other ones should have been less prominent and labeled as a variation.
To their, very slight, credit, they do say inside the gold thread isn’t included, (so they noticed?). But you only find this out after you have bought the kit and opened it, so you can’t return it since it isn’t even in a resealable bag, if you had a shop that would take it back.
Then I sat down to read the instructions for the project that I had. The picture on the cover shows a square made up of 25 Scotch Stitches, arranged in an alternating pattern, that’s just fine. But the chart shows 30 Scotch Stitches, still alternating. But the instructions tell you to alter the direction of the stitch every second stitch, which does not give you the results which were charted or pictured.
Now I am left with an expensive kit (it was imported) for a project which, when stitched, will have almost no relation to the project I thought I was buying. If I didn’t have the thread in my stash, I’d have to go buy some and if I followed the written directions, I’d have something I never could get to look like the picture.
This is irresponsible and not fair to the stitcher. It does our industry no good if this is how professionals choose to package their work.
Now they have me deciding never to buy a product of theirs, returning the other products of theirs I have bought, blogging about it, and being in a bad mood about something which I bought to make me happy. Good job there! Great way to get people excited about needlepoint!
Could we have some honesty here?
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
I was not so reticent in mentioning a kit with a model that did not match the pattern at all.
This was, of course, after much correspondence with the company and investigation if other people felt as I did. My current post is about a kit that contains threads of such a close color that I can’t tell what should be stitched where. I hate to give up on kits as they are so handy for traveling projects, but when you pull your own fabric and threads at least you do know what you are facing.
It would be helpful if you were to give us their name so that we can decide whether we want to stay clear of them or not 🙂
I would not be a happy camper either if it had happened to me.
I completely agree with you–if you buy a kit, you should be able to stitch the piece that is shown in the packaging without having to purchase additional supplies or raiding your stash. Sounds like a really bad experience.
However, I think your post would be much more powerful if you would have included the name of the company and the kit (yes, I’m curious about who would put together such a kit, and I bet I’m not the only one…). Maybe you got a kit that was an anomoly, but maybe there are other kits out there with the same problem. I know it’s not always pleasant, or even the right thing, to name names. But in some cases it can help people identify a problem and correct it.
sue sulle says
A thousand years ago, well maybe not that long ago…I spent 2 years of my life try to keep a cross stitch design company honest. Their kits contained the minimum supplies and when I questioned this practice was told that Hobby Craft Associations published facts that 75% of all craft kits purchased are never started…they are impluse buys. I disagreed with this as far as needlework crafts went but the pracice continued. If was easier to send a letter of apology, the requested thread, and sometimes (if I handled the letter) we would include another kit. Of the thousands of kits we sold, we only received about 7% requests. So it is our responsiblitity as consumers to make these kit manufactures responsible for their products by: #1 requesting left out or inadaquate supplies and #2 make that manufacture’s name known…someone else may think it only happened in their kit. I don’t purchase many kits but if I do and it is short/missing I make the manufacturer aware and expect them to make the short/missing supplies good.
I agree with Sue, and this does not necessarily apply to just Needlepoint Kits. As consumers all we have is the decision where to spend our money (what honest retailers get it, which misleading ones do not) and complaint letters.
I often write complaint letters, some are responded to, some are not.
I have some basic rules when shopping. For clothes, if they have a no return or store credit only policy, I do not shop there. If there is no 3-way mirror, I do not shop there.
It is hard sometimes, to know who is honest and who is not. A needlepoint store in Durham, NC once sold me (when I was something of a novice) their entire stock of Anchor #5 beige floss (9 boxes of 12 each) telling me I would need this much to stitch the background of a 14 X 14 inch canvas.
I still, many years later, have lots and lots of this floss left.
What I did not know was, they were getting out of the needlepoint business, going pure knitting.
This story is not as uncommon as you might think. We have to be advocates as well as consumers.