What Am I Worth?

Generally, when I spin and knit, I don’t track my time very carefully, if at all. I know it takes me about an hour to spin an ounce of fingering weight yarn on my wheel. An ounce on drop spindles is much longer.

I am not a speed knitter, but not a slouch either and the size of the yarn and needles affect how much I can get done in an hour.

These factors always stop me cold when I am pricing an item of hand spun, hand knit for my shop. A hat of worsted weight yarn might take me about 4 hours to knit if it is a simple pattern, like this one, a slouch hat of stockinette, garter, and ribbing. The yarn was worsted to aran, about 3 ounces, so a couple of hours of spinning and plying. A total of 6 or 7 hours of my time plus the cost of the wool to spin.

This cowl took me close to 24 hours to knit. The three skeins that were hand spun in the cowl were done on drop spindles. The fiber and the mill spun mini skeins were all gifts or bonuses that came with other purchases, so it was just time involved.

Total hours on this fingering weight cowl, maybe 35. I doubt that this cowl will go in the shop, but there is one in the shop of silk, drop spindle spun, my own pattern design. Paying myself slave labor wages of a couple of dollars an hour, it would have to be priced at more than $70-75. People will look, comment that it is lovely, that they can’t spend that much money on a gift or on themselves, and walk on, at least in the area that we live.

The shawl in the header photo is the one I did from the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em challenge yarns. It has 8 different breeds hand spun on the wheel. Each breed had to be at least 4 ounces, but the white center triangle was 15 ounces and the light gray around the edge and one stripe was 8 ounces. That was countless hours of spinning and then probably near 50-60 hours to knit it. It isn’t for sale, it couldn’t be. How could I ever price it?

This is my conundrum. My hook is that my items are hand spun, hand knit, or hand woven garments, so I don’t want to work with inexpensive big box store yarn. My body products are handmade with organic ingredients. Because the body products are generally priced under $10, they sell at craft shows and holiday markets but spinning, knitting, and weaving are what I do for pleasure.

So how do you decide what you are worth? Or how much loss you are willing to take to continue the crafts? And none of this takes into account what the equipment costs are to do these crafts.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.