Friday, October 19, 2007

Sales, stash-busting and kippot

Both pairs of wrist warmers are finished. Alpaca is soft again, though it's still not llama. And now I'm making a few more items before my craft show on Sunday. Unfortunately it's going to be really hot out, so it won't be so easy to sell the hats and the scarves. Luckily I also have a lot of bags and ribbon scarves to sell. Like these ones.

It probably would have been a good idea to not buy any yarn for it and to just use up my stash instead. That's what my mom did for all of the things she made. But I bought yarn because it was on sale. There was some extremely cheap yarn at Ocean State Job Lot that I bought a while back.

For better or for worse I didn't make any ribbon scarves out of the more expensive sale ribbon yarn that I bought. Most of them were made from things I already had or the Job Lot yarn. So I guess I did do a bit of stash-busting after all. Or it could just be that I didn't get around to making that many more things since I started grad school. Yarn snobbery has a way of making someone not want to make cheap acrylic ipod cases.

If I were in a different venue, I would have probably made a few items out of more expensive yarn and charged as much as I should be. Like a pair of wrist-warmers out of a ball of $8 alpaca that took 2 days to make would be sold for $20. A llama hat out of 1.5 balls at 7.95 each that took 3+ days to make would cost $30. A normal-sized scarf out of 4 skeins of possum wool at $8 a skein would cost $75. An alpaca scarf like that would take over 5 skeins to make and would be $85. And that's me very much undercharging for the labor. But it's a lot easier to charge more when you make things out of nicer yarns, and it takes the same amount of labor. Assuming I could actually sell my work at these prices, it would be better in the long run. Or I'd have a bunch of really nice well-made gifts.

So that's the other part of the strategy. Only make things that if not sold would be good for gifts. That way you're not losing the money since you'd have to spend it to make the gift anyways, and now it's already made for you.

I don't think I could ever earn a living as a professional knitter. But it's nice to get money from commissions every so often, assuming these commissions are not kippot.

Like this one. It seems innocent enough. But I've actually made this kippah 5 times! 4 were a set for a wedding and this one was the commission. At least the colors were different. But I've officially retired this design. If anyone wants a kippah that looks like this, they'll have to commission someone else.

In general I've stopped doing kippot since the injury this summer. I'm afraid of them. I also am having too much fun with my knitting and spinning. And the yarn snobbery doesn't help.

And I think I realize why I like knitting more than crocheting- I've never crocheted with yarn that was not cotton or acrylic! When using nice yarns, I always knit. Because crocheting is usually reserved for kippot (cotton), trivets (dishcloth cotton) and blankets (cheap acrylic since blankets are ginormous.)

So as an experiment, I may try crocheting a hat or a scarf out of nice yarn and see what happens.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More on the wrist warmers, side-effects of llama

The first one is finished!

Close up on the detail.

I'm really enjoying making these. So I decided to work on a pair for myself. I have a bunch of balls of alpaca from a frogged Beret of Doom sitting around, so I decided to use those.

The project is going well, and I finished one in a day. The problem is that when I started working with the alpaca, it didn't feel soft. Alpaca always feels soft!

I've been spoiled by baby llama. God help me. This fiber snobbery is going to put me in debt at some point...

Luckily I think the cure is to make something quick out of acrylic. Then alpaca will be soft again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wrist warmers!

This is what I'll be using the maroon llama for. They'll be the first wrist warmers I've made. It seems like a non-scary pattern. :)

Comfort yarn

Lately I've been knitting with a lot of acrylic. I'm trying to make things either for charity or to sell at my craft show next week. With the craft show I don't want to invest my yarn and energy into an expensive project that won't sell- it's just too risky. I don't mind using real wool, but I'm not going to risk a skein of alpaca on a hat that ends up unwanted.

So since I'm being good about finishing projects and stuff, I haven't been working on the things for me. And thus no nice yarns (except for when I'm spinning, but even then the spinning has mostly been for others.)

Yesterday I was in an awful mood, due to lack of eating, lack of sunlight, and whatever else. So I decided that I was going to take a break from the acrylic and knit with my "comfort yarn."

The yarn pictured above is from my visit to the LYS in Harvard Square on Monday. It's 100% baby llama, and it was really affordable, and the proceeds go help build schools for children in Peru. You can't really go wrong with it. (The background yarn was a special type of koigu that was on sale.)

The problem is that I need to find a pattern for it. I have to decide whether the maroon skeins will become a hat or wristwarmers. The others are for a scarf, but I'm not sure what I want to do with that either. I'm sick of 1x1 ribbing or the Good Ole Cabled Scarf that I've made twice already. But I want something that will be thick and fluffy. Maybe I can knit it lengthwise or something.

Until I decide on the llamas, I'll be working on my Clapotis, which is made out of silk-wool.