I've noticed in my stash I have several designers where I have a TON of their patterns or kits. Yes, I buy kits when I need to and yes I actually use the materials in the kits. I guess I'm too thrifty to pay that much money for a kit then throw everything out but the chart. I do prefer to stitch on linen or lugana but I'll use aida cloth when necessary. Actually as I get older, I find myself using aida more & more. I can stitch on it without magnification and that makes it nice in the evening when I'm watching TV. Anyway back to the topic. Some of my current favorite designers are Ink Circles, Papillon Creations, Full Circle Designs, Crossed Wing Collection (which has the best birds ever) and my absolute favorite Michael Powell Designs. I adore his whimsical style and his use of bright colors. His designs look like pen and ink drawings colored in with watercolors. The backstitching takes some getting used to - it's not the normal way of backstitching but uses long stitches instead. I really don't like using embroidery floss to backstitch it so I've decided on this one (my third kit) to use #8 perle cotton when I backstitch. I'm on my third kit of his and I only have 22 more to go! ;-) I said he was my favorite. The kits actually use quality fabric and Anchor floss (which I prefer), so I've been happy with them. They're very expensive though, especially with the exchange rate so I think I'm through buying them for a while. They do have one more design coming out that is a must have for me so I'm saving my pennies for that one.
What's most interesting to me is how my tastes have changed over the years. I used to buy every Just Nan that came out (and actually stitched them) but haven't bought a new one of hers for years. I love the old Shepherd's Bush but when they changed their style of writing, I quit buying them. I love the older Bent Creek designs but not the newer ones. So maybe it's not so much my tastes have changed but the styles have. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I know change is necessary or designers run the risk of getting stale. So for me, change is a good thing. Means I can buy more stash!