Knitting as a Business?
Recently I knitted two sweaters for my daughter's dogs. While researching patterns and techniques on the internet I noticed 2 -3 companies that would knit custom pet sweaters from measurements provided by the customer.
I knit so slowly that at 50 cents/hour I still would not be competitive with commercial outlets. Do these (seemingly) household businesses use electronic knitting machines to be price/time competitive?
Out of curiosity I googled electronic knitting machines and found only two or three companies selling them and they were mostly used. This leads me to believe there is not a huge market for these machines.
I sell on Etsy.com and I see underpriced knitted items all the time. It makes me sick. I know the work that goes into some of these items and they sell them so cheap.
This is what I've heard: you don't charge by the hour. You charge by the stitch: 1/2 cents per stitch (for hand knitted things...don't know about a machine knitted item).
It adds up. :thumbsup: And how fast or slow you knit isn't a factor. You'll just have an anxious customer if you knit too slowly, or not often enough each day.
It's not too hard to figure out how many stitches in a given garment.
When you factor in the "stitch gauge" (let's say the gauge stated is 5 st = 1" and 6 rows = 1").... then you look at the overall dimensions of each piece of the item. If, for example, a scarf is shown as being 5" wide and 55" long...you know that the scarf is 25 stitches wide and 330 rows long.
330 rows times 25 stitches per row is: 8,250 stitches.
At 1/2 cents per stitch: $41.25 labor
Now, adding in the cost of quality yarn for the scarf, you could sell it for about $55-$65. I saw some very sad hand-knitted wool scarves at Cabela's (sporting goods store) and they were selling for $99. I about gagged.
With a garment, you'd have to take each piece of the garment and do the math for them individually. I've done it in the past. Also, for a knitted log house blanket. The stitches per item are staggering.
IMHO, it's not possible to make a living by knitting for the average American consumer.
The only way to make a living is to "design" and get your designs into Twist Collective, or another host like that. Quite a few designers over at Ravelry offer their patterns on an independent basis. Not in a big collective like Twist, or Brooklyn Tweed. But you get a lot of exposure when your design is carried by TC or BT. Knitters wait with baited breath for their new collections to be released! And both carry quite a variety of designers.
My girlfriend wanted to "hire me" to knit some scrubbies and dishcloths so she could 'gift' her daughters with a set each. (I had gifted her with a 4-pc set and she loved it so much, she wanted to start giving them to her own daughters)
I told her I'd teach her to knit (for free) and she could knit them herself. She said, no...she doesn't have the time... hmmm, she's retired. So the next day, I gave her a price: $42 per set of 2 dishcloths/2 scrubbies.
And I was figuring materials and the 1/2 cents per stitch. I explained how I arrived at $42, and told her quite frankly "who's gonna pay $42 for a set of dishcloths and scrubbies? it's better to knit them yourself, using your time instead of your checkbook."
Her girls have yet to receive a set of dishcloths and scrubbies from her. :teehee:
I'm not about to start knitting these dishcloths and scrubbies for less than 1/2 cents per stitch. She should learn to knit herself! But, she'd rather read novels than knit. To each his own, eh? :wink:
The green scrubbie is for veggies.
One of my favorite designers "whips up" new sweaters for herself (st st only) using a knitting machine, but adds detailed elements by hand. Her masterpieces are all 100% hand knit.
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