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Are you worth what you do?

Posted by M Starr on January 26, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (2)

I saw a post on facebook today that really hit a sore spot with me. It is time for me to vent and express exactly what I think about knitting and Crocheting for craft shows and selling online.

 

This is the picture that got me going.


 

 

 

Now how flipping true is this. I will begin by telling my story.

 

15 years ago I decided I needed to make a bit of extra cash. Newly divorced ,,,trying to make it in the real world was not totally working out the way that was comfortable for me. So I decided to start knitting dog sweaters with a pattern that had been designed by a good friend. After many tries I got the design to work for the sweaters I was trying to create. For the first year I barely slept. The dog sweaters really took off and I was trying to build my customer base so it got to the point where I was not turning anyone down and I sat up for hours at night making and shipping these sweaters. I nearly drove myself into the grave doing this but I got a very loyal customer base that kept coming back for more sweaters. A few years went by and the economy took a bit of a nose dive and the knitting business slowed down (as did I). I had knit so much that it was not fun anymore. So I put the needles away to take a well deserved break. Well a few years later I decided to start up again only to realize there was a whole new batch of customers with different mentalities. You know those customers.. "What? you are not going to drop everything and make a sweater for me for $5?" They could not understand why I was charging what I was charging for these sweaters.. Unbeknownst to them I had done a bit of a trial knitting session. I took my yarn.. (cost me $5) and sat down for the day. It took me 5 hours to complete a sweater to fit a yorkie or a pug. from start to finish. So.. if you figure out the yarn cost $5.00 plus 5 hours of labour at minimum wage ..$10.00 x 5 =$50.00 plus yarn $5.00 for the total cost of making this original design sweater $55.00. Now I realize you never get that for a sweater but seriously, people were complaining when I would charge $12 or $15 in my listings. Seriously? that would be labour at $2 per hour. Would you work anywhere for that amount?I think NOT!

 

So at that point I had decided to write up my pattern. That in itself is labour intensive. Each pattern has to have a sample sweater knit for the pattern itself, as well as the expertise to put it into a design and make it as user friendly as you possibly can. Like I have said about this new mentality. No one wants to purchase just a pattern anymore, They want a full tutorial with pictures (again more labour intensive than it is worth) . So now I have several patterns listed on my website and each year I have the plan to add 2 new patterns to the list.

 

So as the story continues, lately I have been trying to purge some of my yarns buy making hats and mittens. Again, same thing.. I made some wonderful chunky knit sock monkey type mittens for the fall craft show. Had them listed for $15 a set. People just looked and checked the price and moved on. Seriously.. if you want a pair of $2 mittens go to the dollar store or Walmart. Do not insult me by saying that $15 is too much for a pair of hand knit thick mittens that took me days to knit. So again this past craft show season left me a bit deflated, like the Patriots footballs. I am tired of knitting (which is an art in itself) and having people turn their noses up at my prices. I swear I am going to put a huge poster behind me telling people the breakdown of work done by hand knitters or crocheters. But I am sure this will just go over their heads as this is a society of non appreciative shoppers that expect everything for nothing. It is so disheartening.

 

So I will just keep knitting to use up the yarn I have for now , knitting for the church to give to needy families and when I get tired of that I will donate my yarn to a good cause. Until the appreciation turns around again I will no longer be practically giving my knit and crochet items away for the price that people expect anymore. I am worth more than that, I am a professional hand knitter (or at least semiprofessional ) and I am worth more than $2.00 an hour. and good god I will never do socks because the yarn for socks cost almost $30 plus the hours put into it. I read somewhere on some other blog saying that (and get this)!!!!! it takes as long and uses as many stitches to knit a pair of socks as it does to Knit a ladies sweater!.. Just sit back and think of that for a few minutes,, let it sink in.. amazing huh?.

 

With that being said. I am done for the day. That is my only and last vent about prices for knitwear.

 

Just remember.. when you see someone's beautiful work displayed for sale, you now know how many hours of love went into each piece. If you don't want to purchase it, at least tell them how nice it is. Do not grumble about the price because more than likely is it priced way lower than it should be. If you don't knit then you have no idea the amount of time and money that went into each carefully made item. We truly love what we do.

Double Thick Hats

Posted by M Starr on January 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

hristmas has come and gone and I thought I was going to slow down some.......Nope.. I decided to keep reducing my stash for the past few weeks. Well that is all fine and good but my mistake was posting pictures on facebook. I started doing extra thick hats (double strand worsted weight). Well the first one I did was dark purple. It turned out really pretty. I figured.. ok I will just knit and put them in my rubbermaid tote for next season... nope.. Several people jumped on the hats!!!..

 

the purple one was purchased and the lady ordered mittens to match.


 

purple double thick Hat and mittens

 

This is made with the bernat premium yarn. I absolutely love this yarn to work with but it is so difficult to find.

 

 

 

the tan and orange went to my Daughter who had an orange jacket, the light blue with navy went to my son in law. the purple on the right lower side went to my Daughter in law. All these were extra christmas gifts. Who doesn't like getting warm hats for christmas,, right?


 

Right now I am working on a medium grey hat with white and lavender and matching solid textured mittens to go with it.


 

 

grey double thick hat

 

The mittens are in production and I will come back and insert the finished project when they are completed.

 

What an awesome way to purge your stash !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

After this I will be making another purple set for someone that ordered it and then it will be on to a couple pairs of worsted weight socks I think.

 

I am having fun mixing and matching colours and since I have this pattern in my webstore you too can purge and have fun mixing and matching.

 

 

 

As for the mittens the pattern is from drops designs (sorta) they are called Astrid Mittens.

 

Well I am off to work some more on the mittens white the cats snuggle and try to keep warm on this windy day in the Maritimes

Sock Monkey Mittens 2

Posted by M Starr on August 18, 2014 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (5)

Well I did it. I finally made something for myself. A few years ago I saw a pair of mittens on Zibbet for sale, unfortunately that pair was sold and the lady had no idea when she could get another pair made.. I then asked her if she would sell the pattern and she made excuses and said she didn’t have time to write it up. So after a few years I figured.. HEY.. I can do this!.. I got my yarn out,, the picture of the mittens and away I went. The first pair turned out a bit big for me

Blue Sock Monkey Mittens.. so someone else in my house got this pair as a gift.


 

So on to another pair.. Grey with white and red for me (once I found the yarn in my studio).. hahaha..

They turned out great, knit tightly for warmth and sized for my hands


 

 

 

I think they turned out pretty great!.. don’t you think?.. The problem now is what yarn to use. The bernat softee chunky is no longer available. Well actually it is now revamped from 14 st =4″ to 11 st = 4″ and I might have to go out and try that yarn. I do think that it would be much too thick to make a comfy mitten but we will see.

Right now I have taken some yarn I have in my studio and have doubled it up with some white to make a ragg type yarn and I hope to get another pair made to see if that will work. It won’t twist like the denim or ragg yarn so it will have a totally different look from the first two I made. Oh well….I am determined to do some stash busting and hopefully people will like the newer mitts as much as they like the first two I made.

On to try out the doubled up yarn

Pictures to follow

Craft Room Transition

Posted by M Starr on June 15, 2014 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow what a busy month or so. I have not be able to even think straight let alone get anything done around here. The Apple Blossom Craft show was a somewhat success. Being the first year and getting it together in less than 6 weeks it turned out great. The venue was spectacular as well as the staff there. The vendors were great and easy to work with (no big suprise since I pretty well hand picked most of them ) The weather was warm and sunny and things went off with minimal problems. I will be organizing the show again next year and I have learned my lessons from this year. I assumed that local advertising would be extensive but it turned out that it was not. I will have my list ready for next year.. some new signs printed for local placement and since the shoppers were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the crafters, I assume that word of mouth will double our shoppers!.. We can only hope

Now for myself. I have had a month of reflection and since I was dealing with craft show burnout I have made the decision that I am leaving the shows to younger vendors. It had become not fun any more to mass produce and when it ceases to be fun then it is time to take a step back. I have enough stash to do two shows in the fall and once they are over I will be leaving the craft shows as a vendor. Time for some me time.

I have rearranged my studio (pics to follow) and spent the last few days purging what I did not want to do any more. I am going to concentrate on building my website    I am going to make minimal stuff for that site. High quality knit and crochet wear as well as selling my vintage (discontinued) knitting patterns. 

Not that I am saying I am old and tired.. but geeze... I am old and tired.. hahahaha.. and I know this comes from not being able to say NO to people. I have learned to say NO.. and don't get any ill feelings about it any more. Yeah.. baby steps!

I need to regroup, recoup,, and reset my memory board and start doing what I like to do. No more craft show factory in my studio. It is being changed around to be my sanctuary not a production assembly line. 

Took me a while to make this decision but once it was made I was good to go. I will still be in charge of organizing two craft shows. One in the fall at Northeast Kings Education Centre and the new one in the spring for the Apple Blossom Festival. Other than that I will be producing and listing items on my site as they are made. No pressure just relaxing and enjoying this gift that has been given to me. 

And on that note.. have a great week and take care of yourselves


Infinity Scarf Friday

Posted by M Starr on March 30, 2014 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

This week has been a mish mash of weather and projects. I started the week with good intentions but got sidetracked a bit. All in all I did get the raccoon hat made and delivered and today I completed a couple of infinity scarves. They are both made with Bernat Premium yarn. I just love the texture and softness of this yarn. It makes beautiful scarves. I have no patterns for these….I just sat down, started a long chain and figured out what stitch I wanted to use and there you go. The pink was a consistent cluster stitch while the purple one changes from a twist DC, SC and HDC. What ever I felt like doing I did. Nothing wrong with that, it makes an original scarf for sure.. hehehehe

So there you have it. Storms are over in the area, the ice is melting and dripping and hopefully spring will show up soon.