Green, on the left, dyed with a ratio of 4 drops yellow to 1 green, with some of the darker bits 4 yellow to 1 blue. The teal in the middle was 4 blue to 1 green. The rainbow on the end, or “unicorn fart” as my friend Stephanie named it, was dyed with kool-aid on just one small chunk.
For Christmas I made my knitting friends little knitting bags. I made enough to basically have the construction concept memorized, so when I decided to make a smaller version for a Ravelry swap I’m in I basically winged it. 4″x6″ pieces of fabric and fusible fleece, a zipper, notching 1″ squares out of the corners… piece of cake, right? I mean, I’ve made at least 5 of these already so sizing the pattern down is no big deal.
Except it WAS a big deal.
Let me tell you: making this bag was a little like childbirth. In the beginning it was fun and exciting. “Little itsy bitsy bag for postage is going to be SO CUTE!” I told myself. The pieces went together so smoothly, even! Zippers = fun! And then… then it came time to turn it all right side out. I left my hole too small, and I knew it but thought I could make it work anyway. So I pushed and pulled and tugged and pushed some more. I knew it was too small a hole, but denial kicked in and I absolutely thought I could push it through. And then I had to face reality: an episiotomy of sorts was in order. I needed to cut into the bag to fix it. Ugh. The end result is stitches that make the overall product marred permanently, but you don’t actually care because you’re just happy it’s finally over and you have your
baby to cuddle bag.
Maybe next time I should just leave off the fusible fleece so it’s a bit less bulky. If there ever is a next time for a bag this tiny.
Tomorrow I’ll post up my yarn dye results – it’s all still drying and making the home office a bit… vinegary.
My life is going to get a little busier these next few weeks as I go back to full time employment. Which means the sudden urge to craft has hit me since I’ll be losing my Mondays at home with Declan and my nap time craft time.
I’m kicking my weekend off with some yarn dyeing. 4 skeins of this yarn have lingered in my stash. I have a plan for a gift but not enough time to knit it. But since these friends are knitters, too, hand dyed yarn seems more like a perfect alternative.
Stay tuned for how this process turns out. Hopefully I can capture some good colors that my friends will love.
I’ve taken up my 5k training again. Week 3 already. You know what sucks? Well, besides the 3 minutes of running and thinking your going to die, I mean. What sucks is knowing that 4 years ago you did this before, and then life and babies happened and now I’m back to starting over. I’ve lost what I earned and it blows.
But I’m armed with new shoes (and new/smaller running pants! Healthy eating for the win!) and music loud enough to drown out my breathing. I’m going to get through it, even if I have to bribe myself with a beer at the end of each run.
Nearly every knitter I know hears the following at some point of their hobby: “Can you make me a ____?” “You should sell your knitting/crochet!” “How much would you charge me for ____?” 90% of the time, my reaction tends to be the following:
Mind you, I always feel kind of like a giant bitch about it. I really do absolutely love giving people handmade things. But often, in today’s world where we import things made overseas for pennies to sell for $5 at Walmart, people don’t really understand the time and money that goes into making something for someone. There’s a concept in the knitting world of someone being “knit worthy” – meaning they’re worth the cost of the yarn and the hours and hours of work that goes into making an item for them. Honestly? There are a lot of people who do not fit the knit worthy description.
With all the above in mind, I decided on a little bit of an experiment with a pair of socks I wanted to make. I’ve never actually tracked the hours my projects take because there’s never a need – it’s a hobby, after all, and something I do because I love it. But being a business owner, also, I decided to try to get some cold, hard facts on my time spent knitting so I could explain the true cost of knitting a little bit better instead of just rudely dismissing someone’s knitting request.
So on February 1st I got myself sorted with my snacks and drink, turned on my toggl timer and cast on. I made a simple rule with myself that I couldn’t knit on these socks sporadically throughout the day like I normally do with my knitting – I had to sit down and make a point to knit them without interruptions, and if I took a break I had to shut the timer off. Nearly each night, after dinner, I’d settle in on the couch and knit and knit and knit on this sock until last night, February 5th, I cast off.
One sock took me 7.5 hours. SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS.
Now, I’d like to point out some variables that could change the timing – I did a very basic 4×1 rib pattern with 3 little cables at the top of the sock and those cables take up extra time. If I were to just do a totally, entirely plain sock (meaning some ribbing at the cuff and plain knitting the rest of the way, which I can practically knit in my sleep after 9 years of knitting) my time would decrease because I’d have to pay attention less to moving my yarn and making a different stitch every 5 stitches. If I did something more fancy/pretty (Niagara River socks, for example), my knitting time would drastically increase because that pattern is much more complicated to make and therefore requires more attention to the pattern rows to ensure the design turns out. I’d also argue that if I had uninterrupted knitting time – meaning I didn’t have to stop to go to bed – I could probably knock a sock out a bit faster because my fingers would already be warmed up and in the flow.
So let’s do a little math here: Let’s say someone asked me to make THIS pair of socks for them. If one sock took me 7.5 hours, that means the pair will take 15 hours. Ohio’s minimum wage is $8.10, so multiply that out and we’re at $121.50 for bare labor alone. The yarn itself cost me $22.50 because it’s a really lovely hand-dyed yarn from a Star Wars-themed yarn club I purchased from HaldeCraft. So our grand total just to make the socks – not counting any kind of profit mark up – is $144.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone willing to pay nearly $150 for a single pair of socks. And this is the problem with selling handmade items. It is nearly impossible to sell a hand knit item for what it’s worth and make a living. If you were to try to make a legit business out of it and make a living, you’d have to charge those high prices. And if you’re just doing it for fun to try to make a “little bit of extra money” you’re not only severely undercharging, but you’re also doing a huge disservice to every other crafter/artist out there because you’re perpetuating the concept of cheap handmades. Why would someone buy my socks for $144+ when someone a few booths down is selling socks for $40? This doesn’t even take into consideration the costs involved to market the items – either via online or by attending various craft shows, which would require travel, booth fees, etc.
As consumers, we’re all looking at the bottom line when it comes to our wallets but we’re not looking at what is fair or right (which is just as true for hand made goods as it is for the clothing we buy at the stores made in 3rd world countries under piss poor conditions). We argue that we want more goods made here in the USA but don’t want to pay what it costs to get that. We expect people to work a job – any job – to try to provide for themselves otherwise they’re deemed lazy moochers, and yet when people are trying to make a living doing something made with their own two hands we turn up our noses at their prices because we’re spoiled on cheap imported goods. We don’t look at the quality of the craftsmanship, or the quality of the materials, or the relationship we have directly with the producer – we simply look at what comes out of our bank account.
And that’s why I don’t sell what I make.
Little Oak in progress. I’m making surprising progress this weekend with chasing my kid around, trying to keep him from killing himself by standing on the rocking chair, etc. But little sweaters for little munchkins are always a faster knit given their small proportions.
I improvised a bit with these mitts. Nothing really appealed to me on my Ravelry searches, and I ended up wasting more time looking for a pattern instead of just getting started knitting. I flipped through a few of my magazine stash and ran across the Hitch pullover and the cable pattern was interesting, thus the “hitch mitts” were born.
Yarn is Patons Kroy FX sock yarn I picked up on clearance at Joanns (or possibly Hobby Lobby, but most likely Joanns).
Because all new babies need a little sweet friend. Pattern is Elephant Boy, yarn is some misc acrylic I had around the house left over from other projects. Modified the sweater to have a garter stitch panel across the body and sleeves because it was faster and easier to keep track of than all those knits and purls to create the textured version in the original.
My friend Dawn brought in her very first sock in progress to show me. I officially have a new sock knitter in my friends group! Convert ALL the knitters!