I have totally blown this IHSW. I have been working on the house like crazy and have just used this weekend to relax. But I did get a new present in the mail on Saturday, so I wanted to take time to go through it and give my thoughts. Those who have been around for a while know how I feel about built kits. I'm still reeling over Mickey And Friends; the material ripped (and was just overall crappy), Donald's face has way too much pink in it...the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I swore I'd never do another kit that wasn't store-bought again...I might have to eat those words now.
I had seen Yiota's Cross Stitch kits reviewed on other sites, I have even looked through their catalog, but I just couldn't bring myself to take the plunge (the horror that was Mickey and Friends will never go away). The opportunity presented itself for me to get a Yiota's Stitch, I picked the kit I wanted, and it arrived yesterday (a very fast ship from the UK I might add)! I was a bit miffed at the mailman for sitting it on my very wet front porch mat, but it was packed very well and nothing inside was affected, which was a very good start!
Here's the opened kit:
I chose Monet's Garden Path because I'm a big fan of Monet and I thought that the impressionistic style would lend itself quite nicely to cross stitch (plus, as a former artist, I'm just a huge fan of impressionism). Monet was known for painting his garden at Giverny hundreds of times, often the same location at different times of the day or week or even month and year. It was nice to see that someone had created a kit for another study other than his typical garden view (and they have a very good Monet selection to choose from). The lily pad/bridge versions might be popular, but they are not my favorite (I personally adore his London studies...they are a far cry from his bright and colorful garden studies!).
The kit comes with chart, instructions, material, thread, and even a needle.
The material seems to be a very high quality (you can choose either 14, 16ct aida or a 28ct evenweave - I went with the evenweave). It also looks to be cut straight...a rare find in a kit!
The Madeira thread that it comes with also looks really high quality. I have never used this thread before, but just from its appearance, it looks really appealing. I do worry a bit about the sticky stuff used to adhere it to backing paper. I know it looks good all lined up (and probably makes the kit take up less space in the enclosing plastic), but I don't know what the long term effects of the sticky stuff on the thread. I may have to wash the thread first-something I've never had to do before...I will have to ask them about it. It is pre-measured which also worries me a bit...I've always had bad luck with kits not having enough thread to finish the project, but have always had good luck with companies sending me more (hopefully it will be the same with Yiota's).
The chart is printed on a good paper, but it's double-sized and sort of glossy. I always make a copy of the original on to my preferred paper anyway (usually a copy cover or light cardstock, makes for more sturdiness and an easier surface for marking done areas with a highlighter - glossy paper and highlighters don't mix and thin paper leads to highlighter bleed through). I have had to split up a double-sized paper chart before, so I'm no stranger to it, but it definitely ain't easy getting the chart set right as well as finding and marking the overlap areas! Besides, I think it's easier to work with charts that are on one sheet of normal-sized paper anyway. The bigger sheets tend to not do well in paper props and get mangled faster.
But other than the paper issues, the symbols are a good size for us blind folk and they are easy to see and read! There are no backstitches or half stitches, another big bonus...but until I actually start stitching it, I'm not sure how easily it will flow. It is very confetti, but I would expect that from an impressionistic stitch (and would encourage it). I can't speak for how confetti their non-impressionistic stitches are (but I will probably find out someday).
I'm really excited to start this stitch (although it's in a long waiting list)! Good job Yiota's! I have very high standards and no kit, other than one I have built myself, is gonna get an A+ rating. I would definitely give them an A on the material and thread with a B+ on the chart (strictly due to paper issues), but, overall, I would say the kit gets a solid A-. The problems I did find were minimal and probably only another OCD brain like mine would be bothered by them anyway.
If you'd like to look through their catalog and choose your own, just go to their website at www.yiotas-xstitch.com. They are a UK based company, but that shouldn't scare off the American buyers, it just means that, with the currency difference, we will be paying a bit more than the list price (since it's in British pounds instead of dollars). There is a very wide selection, which seemingly gets added to quite often! I look forward to seeing any of Monet's London-series they add in the future (hint, hint!).