Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Product Review - Cath Kidston Crochet Kit in a Book Tin

Hello again

In fairness to other bloggers and potential buyers of this product, I thought it time to write a review. It wouldn't be fair only to write positive reviews and recommend things if I didn't balance it occasionally with reviews for stuff that wasn't so good.

I received the Crochet Kit in a book tin as a Christmas present - it was something I wanted and I was very much looking forward to some hooky fun whilst watching mindless television. I'm a big Cath Kidston fan and on paper this set seemed perfect for me. It promised so much - 6 balls of yarn in CK colours and instructions to make a cushion and of course a rather lovely tin for me to use afterwards to store my crochet bits and bobs in.

It started well - yes the colour were lovely and the initial instructions were easy to follow - though as it was a classic granny square I didn't need to follow them to closely. The yarn however was proving annoying to say the least - regularly it split and I had to pull back to sort this out. I got very annoyed at the regular joins in the yarn too and in places it thinned down to one strand -like it had been wound by a beginner and with not much care - not something you'd expect from a brand like this. Normally when I crochet I use a basic acrylic yarn from my local shop and I never have the same problems with that.

The next problem was as I started on the 2nd side I realised I wasn't going to have enough yarn to complete the project - again surely someone should have checked this during the development stage? I contacted CK and they promised to send me some extra balls of yarn.

I then started looking on the net to find that I wasn't the only person who had had these problems - several mentioned the very poor quality of the yarn and the fact there wasn't enough to complete the project - I advise any of those who had these problems to contact CK direct - then they might realise that they need to test these products out before selling them on to their buyers.

Even after being supplied with extra yarn it still didn't mean I could finish the project properly - the instructions became as clear as mud and I ended up colour matching from my own supplies and finishing it off my way.

 One side

The other.

The overall verdict - a product with a premium price that promises so much but fails to deliver.

Would I recommend this set to others? - no.

Will I buy from CK again? To be honest I've become quite disillusioned with CK and their products and the quality of the recent things I've bought is noticeably poorer than the original items. I think in future it will have to be something amazing before I hand over my hard earned pennies - and yes you can quote me on that!!

xxx Vicki xxx


Isobel said...

What a great and down to earth review. I have been thinking closely about CK products quality lately and how on earth can they charge so much for things that are "made in china" and with such low quality sometimes. I LOVE CK as well, but sometimes I really do prefer to look around first than to surrender to the brand. When I saw this tin I got a bit excited, but didn't buy it or asked Santa as I was in a huge doubt about the quality of the yarns.

Pink Milk said...

I agree with you - honesty is always the best policy.

As I mentioned before, I too received the kit for Christmas and, frankly, I'm put off even opening it. I may well just give the yarn to my daughter for her craft box.

It's such a shame - I do hope CK isn't getting shoddy in it's old age.


PS. Many happy returns to your son for yesterday x

Kashi said...

I am glad you wrote the review. It is so irritating to admire something only to end up with poor quality. Especially when you could have gotten nicer yarn from your local shop. I hate when I am working on a project and the yarn has so many joins in it. I don't think it is fair to sell a ball of yarn with more than one join in it. Your pillow did look nice when you finished though.

♥ emma bear forever ♥ said...

Very interesting and honest review Vicki. Even though the kit has caused so many problems your cushion looks gorgeous. Well done :)

You would expect CK to check things a little more thoroughly wouldn't you? I think quite a few large names are becoming a little slap dash with their products. I've had a few problems with very poor first quality pieces of pottery lately xx

Liz said...

Good, honest review - its rotten to be disappointed when looking forward to something. I've so far managed to resist CK bits and pieces, I love the colours and designs, but think that they are really overpriced. Thanks.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Victoria said...

Oh dear. How disappointing but excellent to hear a review. Thank you. x

RosieP said...

I do think that sometimes as the popularity of these companies grow the quality of their products diminish, what a great shame. Not a good the CK name.

Hugs Jill x

keshling said...

I've never bought into the CK craze anyway - the prices are exorbitant for what they are - so it's good to have my opinion confirmed.

K xx

Stocki said...

Great review - thanks :)x

Gem said...

I think this is a very fair review. I like a lot of the Cath Kidston products but I'm not over keen on the price especillay as you know you can usually find a very similar product with someone else for a much cheaper price. It is a shame that such a popular brand is falling behind yet still charging top class prices.

The cushion looks lovely, you have done a fab job finishing it off x x x x

♥coco rose♥ said...

Great Review and totally agree. I love CK but their prices are too high for their quality now. Their company has grown and as they look for cheaper ways to mass produce, their quality suffers. I hope they take note!


Annie said...

I'm not the hugest CK fan, although I love the Rose hand cream, which isn't too overpriced if you buy direct from CK as it lasts for ever. And the reason that I'm not a huge fan has always been that the prices were so inflated for many items. I generally prefer to buy from small sellers rather than big name brands, I like to have lovely things that aren't just like everyone else's and that cost less. I do understand the CK appeal, but I thing the business long ago became just another commercial venture. Thank you for this review Vicki :D

Alice said...

It's such a shame this set didn't live up to expectations. You did right in contacting them directly, if nobody complains about the problem, then nothing will be done about it.

I think with a brand like CK, with hundreds of different products, it's easy for one not to live up to the quality we expect.

I still really like the tin, and at least that is a plus side to the whole scenario.

Penelope said...

Hi Vicki
It's such a shame when a popular name / brand like CK starts to mass produce and not pay attention to quality. Great review b the way and to be honest with you I think CK stuff has got silly with pricing and despite treating myself to a Patch workshop in February (which only cost £16 and includes a copy of the Patch book) I think I have gone off all her stuff and am prefering to get the original stuff where she got all her ideas from :0) Great review, well done and thanks for letting us all know xox

dosierosie said...

Nice to read I'm not the only one to have had problems with the CK they got for Christmas. Mine was the tape measure that broke the first time I used it.

Bee happy said...

Thanks for this review, I have been wondering whether to buy this tin but now I know not to. I too have become fed up with CK.

Bee happy x
Have a delicious day!

delia hornbook said...

I think you did a lovely job in the end. To be honest i have never brought any of her stock as lovely as it is its far to expensive and i think over rated. Well done for writing your review ;-)) dee x

bellaboo said...

I am a CK fan,but I am a bit selective with what I buy and I do think some of the stuff is very overpriced,especially the clothes.I do love the smellies,I like the fact that the products are free of nasties,like parabens and sulphates.
Sorry you had all the hassle with the do not expect that with a big company like CK.

MelMel said...

Such a shame it has been a disappointment....I think the only thing I have ever returned was a pair of slippers that wore out far too quickly on the soles.....
I tend to buy a lot of "vintage" CK on ebay, as a like the older stuff a lot!
However, I do like her stuff and her company is one of many that mass produce, it's hard to find a balance with keeping prices in an affordable price range, while remaining somehow high end.....I worked at Laura Ashley and it's also mass produced and can be much worse value that CK......but the sales better.....oohh a toughie.....I really like Cath's goodies but I know it's really horrid when something has been a huge huge let down.....not good!

All that said you made a super job of the cushion, it looks lovely!xxx

Shirl said...

Great work on the cushion. The whole episode must have been very disappointing especially as you were looking forward to making it. As I said before, I went of CK a little while ago - I tend to buy from independent crafters these days xxx

joanne said...

Great review. I think your right to give an honest review when its needed rather than none at all.
I'm a big CK fan but I think you do have to be selective what you buy and I always use the sale times.
I love her fabric but find that so expensive as well.

SarahB said...

From what I understand CK has gone downhill since CK herself sold the company 2/3 years ago. She is now just a creative director.

I have had to complain twice to CK once about wallpaper (which they did nothing about as I had already hung it) and once about a set of mugs which developed hairline cracks - they did replace them after six weeks of emailing back and forth.

I had read that the yarn was poor quality - interestingly I bought the tin full of threads last year and they are not good either - they break easily and are very fluffy so fluff your machine up. I love the tin though.

Luckily, our nearest CK is an outlet so it always has 30% off which makes the prices much more reasonable.

It is disappointing when something you had high hopes for is not as good as you expected.

S x

Josie-Mary said...

Thanks for letting us know, what a poor show. I used to love CK when things were made in the UK & didn't mind paying more, I was disappointed when I spotted made in china on some things :( I do still buy but not as much x

Scarlett said...

Great review and very refreshing to see a blogland review thats not singing and dancing about the product. I agree that some on the CK stuff has gone downhill and for the prices they are charging and in todays economic climate you would have thought CK would be upping their game and not just relying on the name to generate sales. Scarlett x

Gem said...

I'm glad to see this review as I was quite tempted to buy this but now I don't think I'll bother. Your cushion still looks lovely though :)

BTW, the clock in your header pic brings back so many memories for me as I had the exact same jigsaw as a child, even down to having a broken hand on the clock! How funny :)

Gem x

Ada and Lilly said...

I have had exactly the same problem with yarn shortage. I have to say the customer service was excellent and extra yarn was promptly disaptched - but I should never have had to contact them in the first place! I have lost the enthusiasm to complete the cushion - even though I now have the extra yarn. Disappointing - but I do love the tin, and I did only pay half the original price.

Booty-licious! said...

Hi there.
Im glad I read your review. I have recently brought this with a giftvoucher I received for xmas. Im new to crochet so haven't started it yet, thinking the yarn would be too nice for me to practice with. I've just opened the box to look and although the colours are nice the quality instantly looks cheap. So it's come out and I'm going to use it for practice yarn. My tin is also broken along it's hinges.

Katie xx

handmadehappiness said...

What a great review.... so glad to be back and reading away at your lovely blog been too long x

Jewel said...

Wow thank you for such an honest review! I wanted the crochet book for Christmas too, but I got the knitting one I wanted too!

So far the wool hasn't been noticeably poor, but it looks about as good quality as some very cheap stuff i bought to use to practice!

As a novice knitter I have found the instructions really poor and I am pretty sure the finished project will not look like the picture!

I will definately not buy the crochet book now! Thank you for letting us know! xx

Caroline said...

What a shame, when it's something you'd look forward to as well - so disappointing. I'm not a fan of Cath Kidston stuff in general, though I do have some spotty mugs of hers which I love.

Claire said...

i like CK stuff but i do think it is way over priced and all the stuff i have is gifts from other people, i think it's a shame if the product quality is going down, i'm sure Cath would be upset if she knew that, thats the problem with companies growing, it's hard to keep a check on everything..

Debbie said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like this! I haven't used the crochet product, but several of the ladies I teach sewing to have bought the 'Sew' book, and the others too, and the directions are so difficult to follow. Even I, as a very experienced seamstress, have to read the instructions several times to get the gist - my learners are completely flummoxed! I think each product was made and then the instructions written and NOT tested by anyone with limited experience to see if they worked. Probably the crochet kit is much the same?

Rachael said...

You would think such a big company as CK would check the basic things like having enough wool, and having yarn that is decent enough to make anything with!

Saying that your cushion looks really pretty!

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Great review Vicki. As you know I'm not a fan of Ms Kidston's work as a general rule and I've always thought it was overpriced for what it was. (Although someone did buy me a CK flour drifter for Christmas which I'm quite taken with). Anyway, your cushion would probably have come out well regardless, just because you know what you're doing. Well done for warning others off though - sometimes it seems like Cath K is beyond criticism in blog land!

Emily O said...

It's great to read an honest review. I've almost finished this and have been having exactly the same issues. I think your finished cushion looks great, I hope mine looks similar. This isn't a set for beginners because you have to improvise a bit. I'm just pleased the set I picked up was in a sale : )

julie said...

I just found your review whilst looking for some Cath Kidston yarn to top up the Crochet a Cushion in a Tin kit!! I am totally new to crochet and bought it via Amazon - so didn't pay full whack for it!! I am struggling with the yarn splitting and was shocked to find a huge knotty join in one of the balls. I thought the splitting was because I am a newbie - so your review and all the comments were a a bit of a relief to be honest. I got some DK from Deramores, recommended by someone, and that is much better than the CK stuff. So, the point of my comment is that 18 months down the line, nothing has changed! And I don't think I will have enough to finish either!!

patell said...

I received the same kit as a gift, having completed the nine front squares I found that there was not enough wool to complete the back. Contacted Cath Kidston by email and their reply was "The Crochet kit was actually provided with the yarn for the nine squares - the back of the cushion was always to be made to the customers own choice, either fabric or wool. Sadly the lack of yarn that some of our customers have exprienced seems to have been their mis-interpretation of the pattern instructions." Not very impressed with their reply, as the leaflet in the kit does show both back and front of the cushion. The PR for the company not very good.

BabsMcG said...

Hi VV I bought the tin and like you was disappointed. I can't see anywhere it says only enough wool for the front! I did the back and there wasn't enough yellow. You'd think there would be some info, especially two years later!