Why is knit work so expensive?

I have been asked from time to time, why is hand knit work so expensive?  (Especially when you can get something just as cute in Target or The Gap?)   I will try to answer that question as best as I can with a fun little example.

So you fell in love with a really soft hat, and want one like it made just for you?  Sure, I will take your order, get your details and deposit, and get to work!

–  The journey begins, for a cute hat.  I go to one yarn store, and they don’t have the yarn that I would need.  The yarn is too expensive, or the colors and textures really are not working for what the creative project requires.  = gas to store $10.00 Tolls back and forth $11.00 (If I take the free bridges, then I will spend at least an additional hour and a half on the road. (If taking the train, then $5.00 round trip.  (I rarely bike it to yarn stores, as it is not convenient to be in tight spaces with my foldable bike.) 

–  For a project or two, then we have to go into account the time factor.  Oh yes!  By now, two – three hours or so of my crafty life are gone into Yarn heaven, just in getting to the yarn and picking it out. 

–  Then I get to my work space and knit/crochet/ sew.  If it is knit with two needles, it takes longer, than crocheting or than loom knitting.  Sewing also takes time, due to measuring (re-measuring, cutting, sewing, ironing, etc.)  Back to the hat.  This hat is cute, and is coming out well, but we must take into account that this is meant for a person with a tiny head.  Then many times, the patterns must be adjusted as they are being worked on.  Gosh, by the time I look, it has been many many hours, knitting and adjusting. 

–  After the hat is finished, (I put it on the sexy faceless mannequin head to admire it.)  I decide when I am going to take pictures of it, to put it in my portfolio.  (I have to pick a day with natural sunlight, as most of the time I finish work in the dead of the night)

Now let’s add that up.

$10 for gas + $11.00 for tolls + 3 hours spent picking out the perfect yarn (travel included) + $15.00 for that truly yummy yarn + lets say 6 solid hours of knitting for your small little hat.  Transfer that to the $30.00 asking for that really soft hat.  Lets see, then that comes out to like $3.88 per hour?  But… wait… we are not taking into account the gas and tolls?  so $30.00 minus $21 = $9.  $9.00 divided by the nine hours that I spent on this one order… then I made $1.00 an hour!  Talk about really minimum wage!

Now everyone, this is just one example (a funny one at that, but not far from a crafter’s reality.)  When we do things with our hands, then we can truly see the value of our ancestors and those who work with their hands to make a living, or just do something that is truly loved. 

Crafting is truly a labor of love.  It takes a lot of time to knit, crochet, or simply create something.  It takes time to transfer that vision from the mind and into the world of reality.  There are many tweaks that must be made, and many stops. 

Why is it so expensive to get something hand-made?  Because it is made from many hours of a Crafter’s Love!  So next time you see a hand knit shawl for $125.00, let’s keep in mind that there are many hours involved in the process of making it from skeins of yarn, into that fabulous piece of wearable art!

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