It’s Better To Give

It’s really not what you think.

Just where is my spring?

Last week, I thought I might have been confusing the first graders teaching them about the changes that occur during spring when we were still getting snow on the ground. But, this mellow yellow yarn helps though.

I promised a co-worker a baby blanket, once again proving it’s so much better to give than to be told, “I’ll pay you to make me a (insert knitted item here).” For one, a handcrafter/knitter almost never get what it’s worth, which brings the value of handmade items down. Many people just don’t know what goes into searching for and paying for the right materials, let alone the actual making of the final knit. Even at $5 a ball of yarn (a gross underestimation of what yarn costs normally amount to, I know), small to medium-sized projects will start at at least $10-$40 for two to eight balls of yarn. For a small to medium-sized knit, most items will take somewhere between two to ten hours. At the same $5 an hour (a gross underestimation of the value of the craft, I know) that would be another $10-$50. Even for a hat, that is going to be roughly $20 (assuming there’s at least two yarns in it and it only takes you two hours to make). Of course, a hand knit hat should go for more than that, in my opinion. Spinning your own doesn’t make it much cheaper, if it cuts the cost at all. Imagine buying fiber even just at $5 an ounce to spin and knit up for someone and see how the cost goes up even further. A four ounce package of hand painted/dyed fiber usually costs me $20 or more for decent fluff. When the LYS normally sells most yarn in standard 2 or 3 ounce balls, that’s really not much more of a cost-effective option to me. Keep in mind, that’s still about $10-$15 just for the hat we’re discussing assuming it’s going to be between 2-3 ounces to make. Add to that the time it takes to spin (or dye should you choose undyed fiber) and that an average knitterly pace is somewheres between 20-25 stitches per minute. That is 1200-1500 stitches per hour. At some point, after the second rinse of the dye, and/or the second hour of spinning, and/or the 2400th stitch of knitting, you might want a little more than $20 for a hat,especially when the materials cost near that anyway. But, I know those who would balk at the asking price because they could get the same hat cheaper at a store. Well, no duh! To them, I’d say, “Go for it.” I’d much rather direct them to a store than obligate myself to making something for them when they clearly undervalue all that goes into making something by hand. My advice always is: Befriend a knitter and maybe someday, you might get something nice. When they’re gifts, you can take your time and put all the heart in it you want. Never once do you have to feel stressed about when it has to be done or getting certain colors or whatever. It’s the way knitting should be.

Sigh. Knitters have big hearts, don’t they? I promised this blanket months ago. I could even put it off longer if I wanted. Babies need blankets when they’re one year old too, lol. But, I figured I had better get started anyway since this baby is due in July and I need something to knit. :)

Once upon a time, these Mason-Dixon log cabin blankets were all the rage. They’re still pretty cute, easy knitting, and since she’s not a knitter, so she won’t know she missed the bandwagon, lol. In yellow, white and gray, it will be just enough to help persuade spring to hurry up and beckon the warmth of summer months to arrive earlier…I hope. All these yarns are superwash too, so, it should be easy care for the mommy-to-be.

After this, I promised to make two hats for two friends once that I intend to get done before the end of this year, another something for another friend and I want to do a little keepsake for yet another co-worker. What’s wrong with me?! Too many friends, I guess, lol.

In other news, here’s my bag for my RB.

I love how this thing fits in a canvas bag! There’s plenty of space to carry more spinning fiber or even the extra treadle at the top.

But, there’s a zipper there up top. Not sure why that’s there. The bag comes up over the top of the wheel. And if I did try to zipper any bag shut over it, I stand a chance of damaging the on-board orifice hook. So, I usually put it in the bottom of the bag and worry about it until I get to my destination.

Now, the side pocket would be an ideal place for it, except that I would want a zipper there just in case it might try to fall out. Meh. You can’t always have it your way. But, this bag and wheel combo just makes me grin from ear to ear. :)
Here’s what’s on it lately…
This is “Making Tracks” from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club.

Honestly, it’s a darker palette and a coarser texture than I’m used to…and it kind of makes my throat itch when I spin it. It’s Wensleydale, a longer staple wool. I seriously can’t recall if I have ever spun any before. So, we’ll see how this goes.

Time to make tracks. ;)

Comments

  1. caityrosey says:

    I love spinning Wensleydale. It reminds me if the pleasure if a really crunchy green or a bread full of seeds. Nice and hearty.

    • Well, I really like the staple length. It’s totally different spinning than what I’m used to spinning. But, I’m wondering if I not having an allergic reaction to it. I feel like bits of it keep getting in my throat. Weird. o.O

  2. I totally agree with your comments that it is better to give than to get paid. I get asked all the time what I would charge to make X. I run down what it cost for the materials and then estimate my time at $10 and hour and then I never hear from those people again.

  3. You summed it up pretty effectively in terms of not knitting for pay. Love the blanket – it’s a perfect little piece of sunshine!

  4. Q – Love the blanket. It’s actually raining in San Diego today – after beautiful sunshine for days, so the yellow is quite cheerful!

    I’ve found I have a harder time spinning with long fibers since my favorite technique is the long draw, seem to come up short with longer fibers. Hum….

    • We are just getting some sun. Finally!! Yay!

      This one seems to spin better for me as a long draw. I’m glad because it’s going fast. It gets in my throat a little.

      • Q – Do you have an ionizer that goes around your neck and zaps the fibers before they get to your mouth? A lot of us in the spinning class use them. Really wonderful.

      • Wow. Now that is proof positive you learn something new everyday. I have never heard of using an ionizer for handspinning…going to have to look that up. Thanks for the tip!!

        >

      • Q – It does work wonders! I got mine through Amazon.

  5. Such a beautiful blanket. My knits are always underpriced but I publish the patterns I come up with so there’s something in there me besides money. Plus I just love to knit so I get enjoyment out of actually making the knit and giving it to them.

    • I hear you. Me too. When anyone does pay me for knitting something for them, I usually only break even at best. I just use it as an excuse to knit, lol. I don’t wear a lot of knitwear so it works out that it actually gets used. :)

  6. François says:

    Lovely colours for a lovely blanket. Lovely shades of yellow. Not sure if I can picture the finished product but it gives me ideas for my own projects. I’ve been reading your blog for months and enjoy it so much. You have excellent tastes in colours and your pictures are so beautiful. I am myself a spinner, weaver, knitter, crochet-er and fleche-er (arrow finger weaving). I learned the trades mostly from my Mother’s friends and then continued exploring. I always have few projects on the go.

    As you, I prefer choosing my own projects and colours. I totally agree with you, hand made products tend to be quite expensive and only ONE in the trade can truly appreciate. I have once unravelled a sweater for a friend who had lost few inches and she loved the sweater so much that I went further with it: I un-plied the yarn, re-spun it nicer while removing the VM, rewashed the yarn to stabilize it and ensure it doesn’t shrink after knitting it back to her size. I changed the design a little by doing larger sized sleeves (almost butterfly wings) and doing a different neck finish (opened like a shirt and yet overlapping flaps). It was so lovely on her. She had tried it without the sleeves attached, for sizing, and it was as nice without them than with the sleeves. To conclude, all the work would have been estimated at over $600 easily. No way on earth would a friend spend that much for a cheap lamb wool sweater. At least, if it were cashmere, they could appreciate better. You know, they say TLC is priceless.

    Keep the good work! The reward is your own satisfaction of the accomplishment and the smile on the person who receives your gift.

    François

    • Thanks so much for reading! It’s been much more difficult to find time to blog since I took my recent teaching job, so I really appreciate those that still hang around to see what all I have to say about what I’m doing…which is pretty much the same stuff I was always doing, lol! And that you do many projects on-the-go is intriguing. I’m always trying to find out how folks that are busy take their crafts with them. It’s impossible for me to get anything done without taking it with me. There’s always something that needs to be done with the kids or with work or something else that will come up. On-the-go is usually the only way I craft. Or snatches of time here and there. Anytime I read or hear about the spinners in the Andes, I figure whether herding sheep or herding kindergartners, women all over have the same plight.

      I keep thinking that the theme for this blanket is pencils. I’m knitting yellows and a little gray and white. Maybe too much school on the brain? Ha ha! The lady that is getting it chose that as her theme. She works at the school as a teacher too. So, I guess it goes home with you after a while!

      I can see that $600 being something most would choke on hearing, lol! That may even be an underestimate from what you’re describing! But you are right, I love to see people light up when they get something from me. It’s priceless.

  7. What sweet, lovely colours! They throw a dash of sunlight into your whole post – and into my day. :)

  8. What a lovely blanket, and the spinning us gorgeous!

  9. I love those bright, cheery colors. Lucky baby! Every baby should have a hand-knit blanket and/or a handmade quilt.

    When people tell me that I should sell my knitting, I tell them that no one would pay what I would charge. There’s the cost of materials, which is much higher than they think, and then there’s my time. A baby blanket that takes 6 skeins of sw merino at $11 a skein, and that takes 25 hours to knit (at a minimum of $20 an hour because I value my skill), plus $6 for the pattern, would cost $572. Most folks faces drop when I tell them how much good yarn costs and how much my highly skilled labor would cost.

    • Yes, I know! I get a little ticked when people want it for cheap. If I ever had to get my wrists operated on to be able to continue doing something I loved, I would wonder if commissioned pieces were ever worth it…

  10. Once someone asked me to finish their knitting for them. I asked her, “How are you able to barter my time?” She was aghast and said that she was going to pay me! It was the end of the conversation. :-))

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