In a quilt kit the pattern is put together with the fabrics to make that particular item. Someone (usually the quilt shop owner) has gone ahead and chosen the fabrics and cut the amounts required. All the fabric to make the quilt top is included in the kit. The purchaser usually has to supply the thread, the batting and the backing fabric. Sometimes the binding is included but usually not.
Some quilters when they are starting out are rather nervous about choosing the fabric for a project. They don't trust their colour judgement. They aren't sure about colour values and volumes that they hear other quilters and bloggers talking about when choosing fabrics to go into a project. For them quilt Kits are a godsend. An experienced quilter has gone ahead and made all the choices for them.
As to whether or not the kit is good value is debatable. There is usually a little extra of each fabric included in the kit, to allow for a bit of miss cutting but the purchaser pays for this... so you are buying more fabric than you may need. You are also paying a bit extra for the time and effort of the person choosing and cutting up the fabric. For the beginner quilter, who doesn't have much of a stash as yet, if she had to purchase all the fabric required may find it worthwhile as if you need just a 5" square of one fabric you would have to buy whatever the minimum cut of fabric that the shop has (the smallest amount they will cut off... 10 - 20cm usually) by the width of the fabric. In a kit though smaller pieces are sometimes cut already for you.
Advantages of Kits
- ready to go - everything provided - saves the purchaser time
- no need to worry about fabric choices - decisions have already been made for you. Often you will know exactly what your quilt will look like as there is a display quilt available for you to look at in the store
- may save you money if you don't have a stash from which to take smaller pieces
- generally more expensive.
- the quilter doesn't get to put their stamp on the project in the fabric selections.
- the quilt will be the same as a number of others - depending on how many kits were made up and if there were a range of colour choices in the kits
I know of many quilters who have bought quilt kits at shows and in stores but to be honest I don't know many who have made them up. The kits go into the stash.
Personally I have never bought a quilt kit. Right from the start I tended to like scrappy quilts. I have a fabric stash and I like to work from that. These days I am actively working on using up my stash. I have a policy of only buying fabric for specific projects. I am not into stash building.
I googled quilt kits and there are heaps of them available on line. These are just a few of the places they can be purchased