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September 07, 2005

can money buy your knitting?

i usually enjoy receiving compliments from friends and relatives about my knitting. however, such compliments sometimes followed by a can-you-make-one-for-me-as-well request, and that is usually when the headache starts.

perhaps i am just a stingy knitter, i often considered my knitted presents can only be offered, not requested. however, i would be more than happy to knit baby booties or a sweater for dear friends whom i shared intimate memories and times with. it becomes a different story if a friend sees my knitted sweater and loves it, and wants me to make another one for him/her.

knitting is my passion, but, in a term easier to be grasped, it is just one of my hobbies. i don’t knit for charity nor for profit. i knit for myself and sometimes, my family. or, if i want to gift someone a knitted item, it is usually for a good reason justified by me. just me!

sometimes i am a bit baffled as to how non-knitters perceive knitting. i wonder if they know that to request someone to knit for them is quite a colossal and serious request, and i wonder if they know that to knit a sweater from scratch usually costs more than a store-bought one. once a friend was utterly shocked to find that my willow cardigan costed more than $150 for the required yarn and pattern, not to mention the time to make it.

but, what if a friend who loves your knitting so much that he/she offers you money to knit? would you do it? i did a bit of math the other day to see how much money would make it worthwhile for such deal. set aside raw materials, it takes roughly three to five weeks to make a worsted weight sweater if i knit a couple hours a day at my schedule. i get paid more than minimum wage ($10/hr) at work, so, say it takes 50 hours to complete a sweater, it would cost more than $500 dollars labor alone to make it worthwhile in my greedy world. and that sounds outrageous. who would want to pay $500 for a sweater?

so, to answer this rhetorical question: would i knit for a cost? probably not. i guess money can not buy anything, at least not at whispering pine.


You're right there. Knitting is a hobby, ie. it gives pleasure. If you decide to gift somebody with your creation it is a labour of love and you don't think about the money or hours involved in the making. If you HAVE to do it it becomes a chore.

I agree... I've had plenty of requests in the past by people who do not understand or appreciate the process of knitting nor do they know the costs involved. I would only gift-knit to people who really enjoy and cherish all my hardwork, like my husband, sisters and parents. I made a mistake of knitting three baby vests for my newly born nephew last year, only to have the parents disparage them. Learnt my lesson from then on and when another 'friend' asks for something knitted, I'd sweetly offer to teach her instead.

I've gotten requests too and, in fact, one friend gave me specifications for a baby blanket she wanted. Stupidly, I followed through because she was my friend. This year she got pregnant again, complained about the last one I gave her, and added new rules for the one she wants this time.I don't really call her my friend really anymore and I'm not knitting a second one.

I hear you... Non-knitters don't understand that the labor far out-weighs the cost of the yarn. I limit people's requests to scarves and One-Skein-Wonder type projects. Quick, easy, cheap, that's my motto, unless it's a gift. Don't feel bad about saying no!

I refuse point blank to make anything for anyone that i know will not appreciate it, including family and friends. I find that other knitters/crafters are the only people that DO appreciate something handmade. I buy gifts for those that don't, it's much easier and it's done in a swipe of the card!

I hate being asked as well. It seems most people believe you're just eagerly waiting for more projects. They don't get that most of the time I'm hoarding my knitting time, in order to get Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and some me knitting in.I have one knit going (slowly) that's comissioned. A woman I know started a sweater for her husband, but never finished. She offered to let me keep any left over yarn (and it's yummy) and a bit of money. I thought the pattern was so gorgeous, that I just agreed to knit it for the yarn and sixty bucks. I enjoy the knitting of the sweater enough to allow her to get away with it :)

Hear Hear!!!Well says..What I always thought but never could bring myself to admit..I love presenting knitted gifts.. but only to the one I love & sure that they will sincerely love, cherish, and understand my sweat & pain while knitting the gifts!Recently....One of my best friend wanted me to make a vest that I already made -- and I flat out refused her.. instead.. I offered to teach her how to knit -- so She can make a vest herself..She is now knitting garter stiches scarf...long way to go..

I agree. I'm also afraid that if I were to entertain the idea it would become an obligation -- a chore -- and that I might lose the love of this hobby.I'm just not willing to risk that!

All knitters run into this problem... and I only knit for family and friends that I know will appreciate the item... when someone asks me to knit them something, I tell them I will teach them... you know that old saying, "Teach a man to fish..." Good post, Blossom. Thanks for bringing this up... as I am thinking about all of the holiday knitting!

My family and friends are always coming up with strange things for me to knit.. like shoe covers, or tablecloths, things that don't even need to be knit. I think they perceive my knitting as something I *need* to do, and they are trying to find me an outlet or something. Or maybe they are just trying to be funny.On the other hand, when people request certain items, I take note, because I'd rather knit them things they'll like. If not for a gift, I request that they buy the yarn... really nice yarn to make the knitting worth it.

Good post...I've been thinking about this with the Xmas season coming up. Who should I knit for, who should I not knit for. I am very lucky to have a lot of friends and family who either knit themselves or do something similar so they understand the work involved. Brad's sister will definitely be getting a knit baby blanket (she's expecting in Feb.) - she does embroidery so I know she will appreciate the meaning the gift.

I'm with you and everyone on this. I wouldn't want it to become a chore - and I wouldn't want to feel obligated to make sure everything was p-e-r-f-e-c-t. I can live with and even love the little quirks in my knitting because they're mine. If someone were paying me, I'd be so concerned for having it be perfect, I think all the joy would be gone.

I've never had anyone ask me to knit something for them, but like Diana, when a friend or family member says they like something, I take note for gift giving. I knit a baby blanket for a co-worker and learned that I need to limit knitted gifts for non-crafty people to small, simple, inexpensive projects because the blanket wasn't really appreciated. Thanks for the great post.

A couple years ago when my husband and I were buying a house, I started a drive to raise money by taking knitting orders. I raised enough money to help with the downpayment, but I had enough orders that it took me nearly a year to finish. And knitting ended up being more work than pleasure.I forgot about that a few months ago and started taking orders again because I wanted to make some extra money to pay down my bills. I don't think I'll ever seriously take orders again, although I will likely take one here or there.That said, I have a very specific formula for figuring out what to charge. It's cost of materials x 2 + shipping. Because of how long it takes to knit some things, I don't think there's any way to really get rich doing it but if someone is willing to pay $300 for a custom hand knit sweater...well, you know they are going to appreciate it. *grin*

I sometimes do that same calculation and tell people how much the sweater would cost if you paid me to knit it. It seems to be one of the few ways to explain to non-knitters the amount of time and energy that goes into knitting something in a way they can easily grasp. I also have a firm policy of not knitting for others. I do not take requests for knitted objects from friends or loved ones. I will knit for friends and loved ones, if I want to. But it has to be on my terms, or I get resentful. Although the irony of this is that I just counted, and when I finish up a couple things, the last nine projects I've done have been for other people. So it's certainly isn't a stingy policy!

Yeah, I think any non-knitter definitely have no idea how much time, effort and money we put in this wonderful craft. At times, I just have to learn to say no. I agree with purly whites, it's certainly not a stingy policy.

I agree very much with you - knitting for money is not very tempting. It doesn't "pay off" -money-wise - it's much too time-consuming. Your post really had me giving this a lot of thought. Knitting has indeed another value -not possible to express in a "price". I find knitting very personal, in a way private and intimate - and therefore I also don't knit much for others - only small projects of my own choise - knowing the receipiant very well- and knowing that they (hopefully) will like it and know the true value of it. My mom (who also knits - but mostly smaller projects) often says that I should start knitting for sale - but I don't think she really means that - it's more her way of giving a compliment!

Don't feel bad about being a stingy knitter, I think everyone must be a little... it's a lot of work for crying out loud! And BTW, your sockapal2za socks are GORGEOUS!!!

very well said ---- I have often ranted on and on about this topic. I tend to get a bit emotional and hysterical - you have certainly done a much better job than I do of explaining my feelings! ;)

Some folks I know, when asked to knit something for someone, reply with "no, but I'll happily teach you how to knit so you can make it yourself." I told the first person who harassed me about making something (a dog sweater) that it would be X for the yarn, and X for my time, and the topic was never broached again. She honestly thought that I would be HONORED to buy the yarn for her and knit the darn thing, just because. (Knitting is relaxing, right? So it doesn't matter WHAT you knit... she was offereing me an extra opportunity to relax.)People really have no idea not only how much yarn costs, but also no concept of the value of other peoples' time. I could go on about this all day (I have). Now, when people (for whom I wouldn't normally knit a gift) start hinting at hiring me, or telling me I should get a booth at a craft show, I just shake my head and say "If I sold this for what it cost me in materials and time to make it, you couldn't afford it."

i hear you! i definitely hear you. I can't tell you how many times i've been asked to make something for someone and the amount of times i have actually done so i can count on one hand. i learnt very early on that most people dont appreciate all the time and effort you put into a handmade project...which ends up making me feel crap. much easier to say no to their request and not have the associated hard feeling.yes - i am a selfish knitter and well and truely proud of it.

Hey Bloss, my pal! You really have some cool stuff there. I really like all the stuff you made. Yes I totally understand when people have absolutely no idea how tedious and expensive to knit something.

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