This is my current planning sheet, which I re-wrote recently. Since I knit, sew, and quilt, and try to blog about it, there's a lot to keep track of!
I'm frequently bursting with ideas for what I want to make, and sometimes writing it down keeps me satisfied enough to continue with my current works-in-progress. A lot of people have told me, "You should sell your stuff!" My usual reply is to thank them and smile, but I'm really thinking about all the things I want to make for myself, friends, and family. When would I have the time to put stuff up in a shop?
A few months ago, however, my neighbor asked me if he and his wife could each commission a pair of gloves from me. Which got me thinking about pricing. How would I value my work? I have to admit, I have a hard time asking for a lot of money for my work, even though I know that I put a lot of time into it, and I have skills that a lot of people don't have. How can I price something without feeling guilty for charging so much, and yet not resent the customers because I asked for too little?
I talked with a few friends about it, and my husband, who is a great cheerleader for me charging a price that is fair to me. I came up with a price for labor that felt (I admit) like a lot, but that was high enough that I would be happy to do the work. I calculated the price and talked to my neighbors, and they didn't look disgusted and tell me it was too much (a big fear), but instead accepted it.
I have to say, my neighbors are the best kind of customers. They told me their favorite colors, and then let me decide what to do. I bought the yarn and chose the pattern. It was still my creative process! And I enjoyed knitting for them, because I know them and like them. I think it would be harder to knit for someone I don't know, even if I was charging for it.
So here is what I made. I started with these gloves.
Pattern: Froot Loop Gloves, by Natasha Sills
Yarn: Swans Island Fingering in Spring Green
Needles: US 1
Since the yarn was a solid color, I decided to use a gloves with some pretty patterning on it. The stitch pattern looks great, and it's kind of fun to knit, too.
I thought going into it that the patterning on the fingers might be annoying, but it turns out that it was actually very useful. I could count the number of repeats I needed to finish a finger to the correct length, and easily repeat that on the second glove.
Yay, my neighbor really likes them!
This is the second pair.
Pattern: Foxhall Gloves by the Rainey Sisters
Yarn: Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball in Greens, Blues
Needles: US 1.5
This is the same pattern I used to knit gloves for my dad. I really like it, and there's only a little bit of patterning to compete with these awesome color changes.
If it looks like the gloves don't quite fit right, you're right! My talented husband was the hand model for these gloves, and they don't fit him. I found the yarn to be a little bit scratchy when worn, so I washed them in conditioner and let them dry before I told my neighbor they were done. He's planning on picking them up from me today.
Both pairs of gloves were outfitted with the smart phone fabric.
So I have sucessfully navigated my first sale of knits. Maybe I'll do it again sometime, but I don't think it could be a regular thing for me, at least not right now. I know a few people who do their art full time, and they are tirelessly promoting their projects. It seems like a necessary part of the job, but not something I'm very comfortable doing. I don't even tell everyone who compliments something I'm wearing that I made it myself :)