Friday, February 16, 2007

SBQ: About Chartpacks

This week's Stitching Blogger's Question is:

Do you like to buy "chartpacks" that include charms, buttons, and/or beads or do you prefer to gather all materials yourself?

I definitely like the option of a chartpack, but most of the time, everything is automatically bundled with the chart -- which means I don't have a real choice regarding the chartpack. If everything is bundled together, then I have to buy the chartpack if I want the chart.

Since I am just as much a pattern collector as I am a stitcher, I would prefer to spend my money on materials when I am actually ready to start a project, rather than to have my funds tied up during the pattern-collecting phase. For this same reason, the more expensive the items in a chartpack are, the more I want to be able to purchase them separately from the chart.

At the same time, I really appreciate the convenience of chartpacks. It's wonderful to have all the materials you need -- especially hard to find items -- made easily available to you. I also like being able to buy a chartpack that includes enough specialty floss to stitch a design (and enough extra that I'm not going to run short if I make a mistake; this is very important for a chartpack's materials to be truly useful), rather than having to pay for an entire skein of specialty floss.

For instance, Just Nan and Victoria Sampler are two designers who offer chartpacks separately from their charts, and whose chartpacks are also of excellent value because they contain numerous specialty fibers, beads, charms, and so on. I collect patterns from both of these designers -- but I buy the chartpacks when I need them (and keep my eyes open for news of certain patterns going out of print so that I can decide whether or not to pick up the chartpack before that happens). Because I know I can get them separately, I choose not to buy Just Nan or Victoria Sampler patterns from shops who automatically bundle these designers' charts with their chartpacks. (In this case, it's the shop who loses some business from me because they are neglecting to recognize that it's my prerogative to dictate how and when I spend my money.)

All that said, when a chartpack is in the under $10 range, I will generally go ahead and buy it. It's been my experience with chartpacks of this dollar value that I'm getting the items in the chartpack for $4 or less, that the $4 or so I pay for those items is cheaper than what I would pay if I bought the items separately myself, and that the chart and chartpack are probably not available separately. So because I see these chartpacks as a good value even if I don't get around to stitching those designs for a while (or, ahem, ever), I go ahead and buy them ... but I'd still appreciate the choice to buy only the chart in many cases.


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