Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quilting consumer - the tale continues /Kits

... I am glad to see that my commenters agree with me about my incomplete kit. Brenda asks if there is anything that the shop could do to make it better - well, answering the phone when I tried to give them another chance would have been a good thing. Or even an apology - I got lots of explanation but no 'sorry'. Or perhaps a discount on, or even let me have free, the bit of fabric that' missing ( its not much - a 3/4 yard I think but a vital component). I did say to them that if I was in their city or if I saw them at shows I would shop with them in person.

However, the more positive consumer report for today is that in the end I sourced the fabric from Glorious Colour which stocks all Kaffe's fabrics and is run by the woman who works with him on his books, Lisa Prior. They also do kits for some of the quilts in his books and say on the site that they can custom make kits on request.

I just love the colours in this quilt on the front of Kaffe Fassett's book Kaleidoscope Quilts but there was no kit so I emailed to ask if they could custommake it. Their response by prompt email was this:
"Right now we cant make Deep Ohio kits because we are waiting for a missing fabric to be delivered to us. We think we should be able to make them again in the middle of February.
If you wish, we can send a partial kit. I believe we are missing only the Cloisonne in black. Let us know if you want to do that, and I will tell you how to place the order."
See - sensible polcies and good consumer care do exist!
But all this dealing with kits has made me ask myself why I am suddenly so covetous of a kit anyway. I started off right from the beginning picking my own fabrics and for me that is a lot of the delight of quilting- the collating of colours and prints and the excitement of finding the one'zinger fabric' that really brings the quilt to life. I have acquired loads of quilting books but apart from maybe three times have never copied the pattern exactly. I either make one up or take elements from several to make a new one. To me kits seemed to take most of the creativity out of quilting leaving just the sewing mechanics.

But when I was in Bath I popped in several times to Country Threads and kept looking at those bright, bright Fassett fabrics and vowing that I was going to but them before I left and make a quilt to take me out of out of my insinctive colour pallet. These are the fabrics I actually bought!So I put Kaffe Fassett fabrics on the Christmas wish list my husband asked for 'in case you want to challenge me'
Of course if I am scared of them how much more is he? But being the brilliant man he is - he bought me the Cool Diamonds kit... and that's where we came in yesterday. So, what I am circuitously saying is that for me the concept of a kit here is less about taking away the creativity than working indirectly with a master designer to learn creative techniques. I am particularly fascinated with how what on the shelf are to me quite hideous fabrics turn out - in the book at least!- into gorgeous creations. I hope that using the kits I'll learn that. And if I don't, well, I get gorgeous quilts!
What do you folks out there think about using kits? Let me know.



Brenda said...

The purpose of my question in my comment on your previous post was to put the focus on outcomes. However, if your store did not ever actually apologise, then they have definitely failed Customer Relations 101. And I agree that some kind of sweetner would not go astray either. As for kits, I have never used one. For that matter, I have only made two or three patterns. So why do I have all these magazines and books?? for inspiration and technique I guess.

Helen said...

Hi Helen

You shouldn't have to pay any extra for the fabric which is missing from your kit. You should be getting it free as presumably it was already costed into the price of the kit. In my opinion they should be including a little 'extra' for the sake of good will.

As far as kits go, I have only ever bought them when they have been on sale (like half price) for the fabric that's in them. I like to put my own fabrics together like you, but occasionally the fabric in a kit has that wow factor, like your Kaffe Fassette. It would be harder to collect together unusual fabrics like his, so a kit is a good way to go to get the variety needed for a particular 'look'.

Erica said...

I don't recall ever buying a kit. I do like looking at them though, so I can see what the designer has done with the colours. My quilts always end up to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that depending on what I feel works at the time. Another reason I don't buy kits is that it's too scary to see the price of all the fabric at once. At least if I buy it in dribs and drabs, I 'forget' the total price!

dnomder said...

I have been put off buying a kit now I have read your blog. I enjoy buying fabric that catches my eye even if I have nothing in mind to use it on. The stash is going down gradually. I used to buy fat quarters I now buy at least half a yard or metre. Many colours come into their own when doing a Christmas theme.Even charm squares have been used for a table runner in the past (looked nice).

lisette said...

poor you - what a horrible experience. i have only bought 2 kits - like you and i suspect many others i prefer to choose my own fabrics - and the kits languish in the cupboard as i found having the whole package at once quite demotivating and even paralysing!

i hope the shop makes amends and at the very least apologises.

YankeeQuilter said...

I've bought kits before but never finished them the way they were supposed to be done. I can understand wanting to have a quilt that looks like one made by a designer - I just don't have the patience to do it. (Maybe I'm afraid my mistakes will show up too much if people know what the qult is supposed to look like!)