Teaching in Your Shop,
Part IV: Preparing the Kit

by Martha Beth Lewis

originally published in The Needlework Retailer
copyright 2004, Martha Beth Lewis

Previous articles discussed planning, plus selecting the design and the teacher. Let's look at the kit.

Importance of a Good Kit. The importance of a good kit should not be underestimated! Students first judge a class by the contents and quality of the kit. Students form their opinions the moment they see the kit, whether they've threaded their needles or the teacher has said a word. Are they predisposed to like this class? Other classes in your shop? Your shop as a whole?

Know Your Costs. Be sure to allow for costs of kit materials—including a needle and a plastic zipper bag—when contemplating the amount of income you want to generate with the class. (See the previous article for some examples of student fees and the first one for more about finances.)

Obtaining Kit Materials. One way or the other, you want the kit materials to generate sales:

Kit Contents. If you're using a ready-made kit, open each one and make sure everything is there. Iron the fabric.

Consider serging or zigzagging the edges of the project cloth. Unfortunately, some kit fabric cuts are rather meager, and normal handling can result in fraying that dramatically reduces the fabric margin left for finishing.

Make sure the chart is readable. Don't assume it is!

Kitting hints:

Assembling the Kit. Allot time and care to kit.

Your time is worth a lot, however! If you "sub-contract" this task to your kids, how reliable are they? Will you have to check their work? If so, it may take less time to make the kits yourself!

No matter how the kit is created, you must prep the fabric. Will you prep the raw edges? Certainly, you'll have to iron the fabric. Hint for removing stubborn folds: Wet the fold thoroughly and place the fabric in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and iron. Take care! It's hot! You may need to repeat the process several times.

Work systematically to insure accuracy. Put items in each kit in the same order so you don't miss anything. To simplify this, make piles of needed materials and always work left-to-right (or vice versa), counting each item as you place it in the bag.

Count the pieces remaining in each pile every three kits so you don't have to paw through the all finished ones to find which is missing the skein of medium pink floss.

Other considerations:

One final consideration: writing the directions.

copyright 2004, Martha Beth Lewis
Contact me about reprint permission.

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Bio: Martha Beth Lewis has taught at consumer festivals for many years and writes for consumer needlework magazines. She is the author of Handbook for Needlework Teachers: An Experienced Festival Teacher's Advice (See this file for more information.)