unaspenser: (maid on the shore)
( Apr. 7th, 2011 12:47 pm)
I know I have many people on my friends list and among my readership who make some sort of art for money, whether it's writing, drawing, painting, beading, knitting, spinning, pattern design, woodwork, sewing, etc. Some of you even, like me, choose to create your beautiful art in exchange for money, but I have no idea how many of you, like me, struggle to justify why you're worth what you charge.

By and large, the response I get to my prices for hand-knitted items is acceptance, with the occasional person who is stunned at how reasonable they are.

When I got an offer from a brick and mortar store to carry my knitted goods for sale I was really excited, but the more I learned, the more apprehensive I got. The final straw was that I charge 20 cents per yard of yarn to my customers for cabled items. This is pretty standard, maybe on the low side, and certainly less than minimum wage for a craft that takes a lot of time and skill. I offered the store owner 25% less than this, to which he countered that he wanted to sell the items for what I sell them for directly, and undercut my price by $20 per item. That's a lot of time and knitting, especially considering he wanted me to provide the yarn.

It felt great to say no.

It's hard, though, because we don't have a lot of scratch to play with and I use my knitting money to pay for all the yarn/fiber I buy. There's no room in our regular budget for that kind of thing. It's hard when I know all the things I'd like to get and make and try and when I go and look at the website for the spinning wheel I'm saving for. It's hard when I think about how much Arlen's green card will cost if/when we ever have the money to pay for it. It's hard to say no to work I need. But I refuse to be slave labor, especially to someone who is, frankly, rather rude about what I do, and who perhaps has no idea of the value of what I am providing.

I was polite, but firm. Take my price, or take your business elsewhere. I'm not counting on a reply. It really was just the icing on the cake of this irritating day.
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unaspenser: (two gals)
( Sep. 9th, 2010 09:12 am)
First of all, I'm rather excited about Diana Gabaldon's graphic novel, The Exile.  Now you can see some of the pages on its amazon page.  Beautiful art, and it should be a fantastic story.  So grateful that a friend pre-ordered it for me in exchange for a lace shawlette I knitted.  I am constantly cash-poor, but always willing to barter for knitwear.

Sadly, that strategy doesn't work with my student loan providers or utilities.  I am in a constant state of money anxiety these days, which always makes my stomach unhappy.  We are getting by, and every day that passes is a day closer to Arlen's visa coming through, but it is not a fun time for us.  There is no spare cash for going out with friends or buying treats at the store.  It's a good thing we're both so inventive and resourceful.  We eat well courtesy of our garden/chickens/home cooking/thrifty shopping, but it still sucks to have to scrimp and save, and I'd really love a new wardrobe, a bunch of nice jewelry, and a house/car.  Is that really so much to ask?

On the upside, we continue to be resourceful in other ways as well.  Arlen has decided to jump on the knitting bandwagon, and his first project for himself was a knitted kippah/yarmulke for synagogue.  He's been doing some serious studies into Judaism, and the kippah he had didn't really fit well, and had a tendency to slide away and escape.  I've been cranking out finished objects lately (and starting many more projects), which I've been squirreling away to become birthday/holiday gifts for friends and family.  If there's one thing I have to give, it's knitwear.  At least I'm good at it, and I have a sizable stash (though not nearly sizable enough).

I'm loving my sheep to sweater project.  The sheep fleece I bought is all washed, and I am painstakingly flicking the tiny locks into rolags and spinning them on my new old spinning wheel.  It has a wobble, but it doesn't seem to impact the quality of the yarn, and I've almost filled my first bobbin!  I've got about a month until the very first Trailing of the Sheep Fiber Festival in Sun Valley.  I am planning on entering the max allowed 3 skeins in the animal fiber, traditional spun category.  My hope is that I will win first prize for at least one of them (heh) and there is a cash prize for that.  If I win, I'd use the winnings to purchase a fleece or some other spinning related bribe for myself.  They apparently give special consideration to yarn that's been hand-prepared, so I'm hoping to be a shoo-in, especially with all the documentation I've done of my process so far.

I'm trying to find other venues to market my designs.  I'm rather wet behind the ears in this aspect, still, but my next goal is to submit a pattern to the independent designers project through www.knitpicks.com. 

I guess that's enough chatter for now.  Life goes on, things keep moving.
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