This week I’ve been really mulling on the idea of knitting for others. Get a cuppa and mull with me.
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| Show Notes
| Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show (24-27th)
Are you heading to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show this week? Do pop over and see our lovely sponsor, The Knitting Goddess. She will be there will loads of incredible hand-dyed British wool, screen printed bags, notebooks and tags and awesome felt decoration kits. I got snippy and gluey with these last week!
| WIN TICKETS: A Knitter’s Christmas Party in Edinburgh
If you can be in Edinburgh on 3rd December come to Wool Tribe Christmas Party at AKVA! Head on over to the KnitBritish Ravelry group where you can win one of 2 tickets to the shindig! The party includes a buffet and loads of fun and games with your fellow knitters. Please go on over to the Ravelry group and enter. You have until Sunday (this sunday!) to do so. Don’t want to leave it to chance? Get on over to the Wool Tribe website and book a ticket. Tickets cost £25
| Knitting for others
Several things have occurred lately to have the subject of gift knitting and, particularly, knitting for money weigh on my mind.
In the same week that I had two requests for me to knit items for others, I also learned of one or two people not making a fair wage for the work they were producing that was being sold by a third party. This happens so much. Far more than we want to believe and when it is not the non-knitting contingent who are undervaluing our work, we often undervalue our own work by not giving it merit our work deserves or not making reasonable charges for the labour and material.
Here are the important things I want to get across this week.
- Knitting is a set of skills. You learn these skills on the job and – whether you only ever knit garter scarves, or you can make laceweight onesies (or are somewhere in between)– you are constantly fine honing your skills. You are a skilled craftsperson.
- What you do with sticks and yarn is VALUABLE.
- If you are asked to knit for someone make sure you are happy to knit the requested item and that the people asking of your time are knitworthy
- If you are asked to knit to order then ensure you charge appropriately for materials and something for your time
- If you knit for commissions or make items to sell, do not undersell yourself
You have utterly mad skills. Anyone who asks you to knit items for them does value you as a knitter – they know you have skills that they do not have. But misunderstandings, stereotype and clichés are ingrained and these can totally take away any kind of value they first implied.
I do not neglect to talk about the KnitWorthy in this episode. These are the absolutely incredible people who not only understand the work that goes into making a piece of knitting, but they get it! They get it, they get us. They get the love that goes into the stitches and all the tinking back and fixing of mistakes. They know what knitting means to us and that means something to them too. I have two incredible meaningful knit stories from Nancy Hughes and Elaine Anderson, both knitters who talk about objects either made for them or meant for them.
You can read more about Elaine’s shawl and see pictures on Lilith’s blog.
| What do you think?
I opened up a thread in the KnitBritish ravelry group on the subject of knitting for others and charging for your knitted goods. Here are what some of the folks in there said on the topic.
“Don’t. Get. Me. Started.” ” I don’t do commissions because I don’t feel my skills and time would be valued and I don’t want the pressure!” “I occasionally do commissions. They are usually for fellow craftsmen who value time and effort and skill, and are prepared to pay accordingly…” “The best trick of getting rid of unwanted request for knitting item: “will you be cleaning my house while I knit for you?” “I do think there’s often this “if it’s made by hand it should be cheaper” mentality, or it just isn’t valued…” ” If people keep undervaluing their work then the people who buy it will keep undervaluing what you knit. The only way to break this cycle is believe that you’re worth it and deserve to be paid for your skills and experience for making each beautiful knitted item.”
“when people, being nice, tell me I should sell my knitted things on Etsy, I tell them what i would have to charge..and they are shocked.”
“Don’t. Get. Me. Started.”
” I don’t do commissions because I don’t feel my skills and time would be valued and I don’t want the pressure!”
“I occasionally do commissions. They are usually for fellow craftsmen who value time and effort and skill, and are prepared to pay accordingly…”
“The best trick of getting rid of unwanted request for knitting item: “will you be cleaning my house while I knit for you?”
“I do think there’s often this “if it’s made by hand it should be cheaper” mentality, or it just isn’t valued…”
” If people keep undervaluing their work then the people who buy it will keep undervaluing what you knit. The only way to break this cycle is believe that you’re worth it and deserve to be paid for your skills and experience for making each beautiful knitted item.”
Please do visit the group to see the discussion and add your own voice.
I do not make items to sell anymore because the time and effort is not worth the bother to me when it is so hard to charge a reasonable amount. If I am making an item as requested by a friend I will definitely charge for materials and a little something for my time, but It can be spectacularly difficult to walk the line between charging an appropriate amount and completely underselling your work and your time and skills.
Here are a few links to give you info on how others price items, but please be advised this is not a fine art. If you are asked to sell your items or you want to start selling your own work you really need to do your research.
- Craftsy – Tips for pricing your handmade goods
- Who Pays Knitters – an anon crowdsourced database. Figures for sample knitting forthcoming and if you knit samples you can assist them with this info.
- Craft Fair UK- Craft Pricing Calculator
There are also some excellent blogs and further reading for you here
- Karie Bookish – On Devaluing Hand Knitting
- Knitty – Knitting for Dollars
- Yarn Harlot – Into the Woods
| cut out and keep missive for knitted requests
The next time you are asked to knit for someone and you don’t want to sigh/bite your tongue/etc etc, please feel free to just hand them this handy cut-out-and-keep slip with my love!
Thanks for listening. I’d love you to chat about your own feelings about this too.
I’ll be back next month!
Music: Carefree by Kevin McLeod and Singin’ in The Rain (demo) by David Mumford – Both are on FreeMusicArchive and are both shared under Creative Commons Attribution license.The Knitting Goddess Logo belongs to Joy McMillan. The Wool Tribe Christmas graphic is the property of Edinburgh Yarn Co Ltd. The “Cut out and Keep Missive for Knitted Requests” image and pdf was created by me, you are free to use it and should link back to www.knitbritish.net. Other images copyright to those stated.