One of the things that came out of the annual TSK survey this year was that people hadn't purchased a kit yet because they weren't actually sure what was included.
Now, all cross stitch kits, whoever you buy them from, will invariably include...
a pattern to follow,
fabric to stitch on,
threads to stitch with, and
However, the specifics of these items, and the inclusion of any other items can vary significantly dependent on the creator. This can make it difficult to know exactly what to expect when buying a kit, particularly online.
So I thought I would take the guesswork out of it and tell you exactly what you can expect within a Trouvaille Stitch Kit Cross Stitch Kit.
The fabric included in every TSK cross stitch kit is 18 count white Zweigart aida. Let's break that down if you're not sure what I mean...
'18 count': This refers to the size of the stitches in that there is 18 stitches per inch. We use 18 count for all stitches to get that level of detail that allows for a finished piece that many often mistake for a print, rather than the 'blocky' look that can come with smaller count (bigger stitches). If, however, you find 18 count too small to work with and you would rather use 14 count aida to create a bigger picture, you can purchase the components of the kit separately online including the PDF Pattern, needles, thread bundle for the particular design, and a piece of 14 count aida cut to size.
'Zweigart': This refers to the manufacturer. Zweigart are arguably the top producer of high quality needlework fabric in the world.
'Aida': This refers to the type of fabric. Some other kits can use fabrics such as linen or evenweave, however, Aida (pictured here) is the simplest to work from and suits most beginners as well as experienced stitchers. Aida is a cross stitch fabric that is weaved in a way that leaves holes for you to stitch through.
In 2023 we upgraded the needles we use in each kit (based on previous surveys) and now provide strong, stainless steel needles made by British manufacturer John James needles.
Pre-sorted Threads and Threadholder
Each kit includes DMC 6-stranded embroidery threads, also known as embroidery floss by some. Again, let's break that down...
'DMC': This refers to the manufacturer. DMC threads are not only renown for the quality of their threads, but also, the vast majority of patterns throughout the cross stitch and embroidery world recommend DMC threads, and most craft stores sell them (including our own HERE), which means you can easily reuse your left over thread, topping up easily if needed, to minimise waste.
'6-stranded': This refers to the composition of the threads. While in embroidery the full 6 strands of thread are used, in cross stitch this is rare and so the threads are divisible to provide the amount needed. All our kits recommend using two strands of thread (one strand doubled over if using the loop start method as per the instructions).
Each kit includes 50-100% more thread than I used to make the original design, however, I do appreciate that everyone stitches differently, so if you do happen to run out, contact me HERE to let me know what you need and I will post the extra out to you.
The threads provided are sorted onto a threadholder by me, so that when your kit arrives with you, you can get started with your project straight away, and also so you have somewhere to keep the threads tidy and organised.
TSK kits are all what is known as 'counted cross stitch'. This means the fabric is plain and the pattern is printed on paper separately. (This is in contrast with the much less common 'printed cross stitch' where the pattern is printed on the fabric).
The patterns included in all single landmark kits are...
double sided: This means the chart for the cross stitches is shown on the front, with the back showing any additional stitches such as straight stitches, back stitches and french knots. This means that the cross stitch symbols aren't obscured. After a number of requests, the patterns in the Christmas Bauble kits will also be converted to double sided ready for re-release of the bauble kits in September 2024.
enlarged: Due to the size and detail within each design, each pattern in a single landmark kit is enlarged and split over 4 pages. This is purely because if I try to put it all on one page, the symbols are so tiny they aren't easy to make out.
black and white symbols (for the cross stitch chart): This was based on a poll of cross stitchers where the majority of respondents reported they preferred black and white patterns to colour patterns. However, I know some stitchers prefer colour patterns, so if this is you, you can get the colour PDF pattern for your kit emailed to you by contacting me with proof of purchase/ownership (eg order number or photo of the kit).
Within the instruction leaflet included in the kit you will find...
basic instructions about getting started
basic instructions about completing each stitch type
QR codes taking you to more detailed instructions on the website
a colour key so you can match the symbols on the pattern with the thread colours
information about the landmark(s) you are stitching, including it's history, what's going on there now, and where to go for more information if you're thinking of visiting.
Embroidery Hoop (optional)
Our 'standard' single landmark or collection kits include a 6inch diameter bamboo embroidery hoop, and if you choose to purchase a kit at an event, on Etsy, or at one of our stockists, this is what you will receive. However, in the 2023 survey many of you told me you don't need the hoops because you got one with a previous TSK kit, have one from previous stitching, or just don't use one, so in early 2023 we began providing the option for 'basic' kits when purchasing a single landmark kit or a collection kit. These basic kits include everything we have discussed so far, but no hoop, and so they will save you some pennies too.
Please note, the option for basic (hoopless) kits will be removed from 1st February temporarily while I'm on maternity leave, but should return at some point in May.
I hope this has been useful and if you have any feedback or questions, please pop them in the comments below or send me a message here.