Thursday, January 20, 2011

Surely there comes a time when counting the cost and paying the price aren't things to think about any more.

All that matters is value - the ultimate value of what one does. (James Hilton)
On Monday, I was asked if I would knit a shawl on commission. The gentleman asking me to do this made it clear that he understood that a hand-knit item was special, and that he expected to pay quite a bit for it. I've been asked to knit other things, but have always shrugged off such suggestions because they usually come phrased along the lines of "because I know that you can make it so much cheaper than I can buy it." Since this time the gentleman seemed to understand, I'm actually considering knitting the shawl.

I did a little research online to see what people are charging for the hand knits, and there was a wide range of advice. Some people felt that you should charge two to three times the cost of the materials. So for my Aeolian lace shawl, which uses 1 skein of Claudia hand-painted silk yarn and two vials of beads, I would charge between $80 and $120. Some people felt that you should figure out how many hours of labor are involved, and then charge a living wage. This would make the Aeolian shawl about $520 (20 days approximately x 2 hrs/day x $12/hour + materials). Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be able to get that.

Actually, this point was brought up by Lottie in a post she wrote last year. She even went so far as to list a pair of socks on Coriandr (England's version of It's a wonderful ad, and I totally recommend that anyone thinking of selling (or buying) hand knits should go to Lottie's ad and check it out. (Really. Go see

So will I knit the shawl? I still don't know. I think for me it will depend on whether he chooses a pattern that I want to knit anyway (because if I'm going to knit it anyway, I might as well take money for it).

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