Scratching the Knitting Itch
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Food for thought

Over at Scoutie girl, there is a very well-thought piece on paying the true value of ‘stuff’, and being more considerate of the ‘stuff’ we buy.

Though my involvement with Craft2.0, this issue comes up constantly. About the people who poke and prod our crafters’ precious things and say ‘I could make this myself’ or, ‘Wow, that’s a bit expensive.’

I’m curious as to if said people do go home and make the item themselves. Or, if they consider the time and effort gone into creating beautiful things. From the concept, to buying or making the materials, to the careful attention given to the small details, to the packaging, the emails, the customer service…

There is so much we don’t see of the process of making – in fact, the majority of the time all we see is the finished product. Surprise is often the first reaction when I tell people what I do. The second question they ask is, ‘oh, so you knit stuff and sell it?’

Most tend to be taken aback when I explain how much I would charge for a pair of hand knit socks if I were to fully value my time. Somewhere in the region of $400.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is – what we create is of value. Everything you knit (or sew, or crochet) is of value. In fact, it is the unique and one of a kind qualities push that value up even further. We invest ourselves in everything we make, and should be proud of what we produce. Even if we feel it is imperfect – think of the value of the lessons learned through making mistakes. Virtually everything I sew, or knit, or whatever, has something wrong with it – but that is just part and parcel of the hand made process.

Moral of the story: everything you create is worth something – don’t devalue it. And recognise the hard work of others.

Disclaimer: This isn’t a rant, or something I needed to say to prove a point to anyone. Just puttin’ it out there 😀

3 comments

1 Café Chick { 04.28.10 at 11:03 pm }

I do cross-stitch embroidery. I went through a stage in my 20s of sewing very quickly and producing 20-30 large-scale pieces. I estimate the total as I genuinely don't know how many I've completed and had framed. Having run out of room to display them many years ago, most of them are now sitting in storage in my parents' basement. And so I have repeatedly heard the comment, "you should sell some". Wellllll, when you add up the amount of hours each one takes to complete (anywhere from 100+ hours), then add up the cost of materials and framing, we're looking at anything from $3000+, even if my hourly rate were low. Firstly, who is going to pay that sum of money for a cross-stitch embroidery? Secondly, I am a process person; no-one will quite appreciate the hundreds of loving hours going into each piece quite like I will. So, even if they're destined to remain in storage for more years to come, I won't be selling out. It's just not worth it. And, yes, I'm still sewing, even though I certainly don't need any more finished products!

2 Dianne Dudfield { 04.29.10 at 1:06 am }

The answer to "I could make that myself" is "But would you".
When asked "How long did it take to make" I answer "I've been practising about 40 years".
I went to a lot of markets last year and know all about the poking and seeing how its made bit.

3 imba { 04.29.10 at 6:48 am }

I totally hear you!
I've had a customer stand in front of my stall at Craft 2.0 and say that they bought one of my products and took a pattern off it and have since made them themself because mine were too expensive!! (item price was $15).
I've given a huge amount of consideration to my designs and pricing, and I have to admit to standing there utterly gobsmacked by this woman. I wish I'd thought of something intelligent to say at the time!
There are so many hours that go into designing, making, photographing, listing online, social networking one's brand, and preparing for markets. Not to mention the amount of money spent to make the products in the first place – let's face it – crafting for a living is definitely a risk.
Not only that, but the items contain a lot of 'you-ness' and often the products are quite close to the makers heart.
I now decline to buy clothing for my daughter (ie. the $40 polyester made-in-bangladesh sweater at pumpkin patch) because I'd rather pay someone here in NZ to use a natural fibre and *handmake* it.
I never thought I'd feel so strongly about these things!

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