Friday, December 02, 2011

Finished Objects and some Self Reflection

Self Portrait with iPhone

I'm just not so good with the Humans. Cats, I can communicate with. Humans, not so much it seems. I got myself into a little pickle in the middle of November by making a hat for a complete stranger. Which was spontaneous and kind of fun, but these things always seem to backfire on me somehow. One thing lead to another, and she asked me if I would like to make a couple of hats for her to give as Christmas gifts. This was really immensely flattering. I have a friend who makes lovely things and people like them so much they give her money for them, which has always seemed like a romantic way to earn your daily bread. So when the nice lady for whom I made a hat asked me, I said yes. I thought, I can totally crank out two or three hats in between my big Christmas projects, and it will be nice to have a little extra cash for Santa-type activities.

Couple of days later she brought me a bag full of yarn, 8 balls of yarn, and said here you go! These 4 are for men and these 2 are for ladies and these 2 are for kids. And there was a serious conflict raging within me, because it was less than 2 months till Christmas and here was a HUGE bag of yarn and an order for more hats (in 6 weeks) than I have made IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. But also the possibility of some extra money. So I took it home and started to work.

These three hats are what I have finished so far. One for a toddler, one for a teen girl, and one for a lady. And knitting these three hats has taught me a whole lot about myself and my craft.
  • Knitting for money is not as much fun as knitting for someone you love.
  • People who don't knit have NO IDEA how much time and effort goes into a handmade item.
  • I am NEVER going to do this sort of thing EVER AGAIN. If I sell anything in the future, I am definitely going to make it first, put a price tag on it, and if someone wants to buy it then that's all good. I just can't handle the pressure of "just do whatever" because there are too many variables. What if the hats don't fit the recipients? How big is a toddler's head? What if she doesn't like them?
  • Most patterns say that you can't sell stuff you have made with them without permission from the author. I am a real stickler for that sort of thing, and therefore didn't use any pre-written pattern. Which means I don't know what a thing is going to look like until it is finished. Which adds to my stress.
  • People do not really want to pay as much for your time as you think it is worth. If I paid myself minimum wage for the time it took me to knit these hats, the littlest one would cost $43.50, and the biggest one would cost $72. That is kind of ridiculous. But my time is worth way more to me than the money I could get from these hats even if I sold them for $30 each. I don't buy presents anymore, I make them. But if I made all 8 of these hats, I wouldn't have time to make the Christmas presents for the people I love.
When I finished the High Tension Cable Hat (maybe there will be a recipe for that one up here soon) I decided to work on some of the projects I have going for my gift list. I made good headway on several of them, and also got a couple of hanks into the dyepot with some awesome BLACK Kool-aid I picked up after Halloween for a nickel a pack. I basically Space Dyed these and they came out a delicious silver grey with pink and blue gradients. The yarn is about 45% bamboo, which doesn't take dye like wool does so the color is not nearly as intense as it would be on 100% wool. But if Santa is on the ball I will get a hank or two of nice wool in my stocking and use up the rest of my Kool-aid stash on it.


Bryan L. Smith said...

Do you need more money for R2D2? Now I feel bad.

Serafina said...

Gosh no, Bryan, I feel bad that I haven't finished your hat yet, it was one of those projects that got put aside when I got so freaked out about the buttload of hats.

I will finish it though, and maybe even by Christmas if the Elves are with me.

Bryan L. Smith said...

Take your time. WINTER IS COMING (Game of Thrones).