Projects, more project ideas

While the yarn dries, and some parchment colored Coopworth is being spun, I hope worsted weight this time, I needed a pocket project for today. While looking through my remnants of yarn, I found another small skein of the merlot colored Coopworth that I used for the last mitts, and a partially used skein of the same yarn. A project was started. The Owl hat required Aran weight yarn, the two skeins, held together produced about Aran weight, so I cast on for the hat yesterday afternoon instead of warping the loom.

I got about halfway through the owl last night and finished the owl and started on the decreases while in the PT waiting room today. First they were 30 minutes late taking him in, plus the 30ish minutes he was in the back. The owl will stand out more when the white buttons for the eyes are added.

This gave me the idea that maybe instead of random hats, I could do ones with cats, frogs, alpacas, and owls on them. Since hats and mitts are going to be the primary knit items in the shop and for the fall and winter markets, they might sell better than plain or striped ones.

Larger wraps, cowls, and scarves will be woven.

It seems that more and more people are doing soap and other body products at events, so other than my B&B contract, I may just return to making soap for family and friends that have a particular one they like or limiting myself to just a few favorites for the markets.

Productive Week

Today is a glorious break in a gray and wet week. We have had snow flurries, freezing rain, and drizzle this past week and two weeks of similar weather in the forecast. It has been calm wind wise until today, with warmer temperatures and sunshine. With the calm we had a fire scare earlier in the week when the farmer not immediately behind us, an area that is still wooded, but just beyond him in an area that has been logged, graded, and planted for pasture lit off first one, then several more large burn piles creating billowing smoke that looked too close to us that we feared was our nearer neighbor’s woods. We contacted him and after sending him photos, he left work to come check and let us know where the fires were and that they were being monitored with a track hoe.

There has been smoke down there for 6 days now from various piles, but at least we know the woods below us aren’t on fire.

Through the gray, drizzle and three waiting rooms days, I have been stitching through several smaller skeins of hand spun yarn that I had, making a hat and three pair of fingerless mitts, and finishing the Tool Box cowl from the mini skeins.

Can you tell I’m a lefty, always wearing the mitt on my right hand to take the photo? The Merlot colored mitts still need to be washed and blocked, they were finished last night. After trying on the cowl that I had made for me, I decided I’m not a cowl person, so I put a price tag on it and put it in the shop with the other items.

While perusing patterns, I found a cute hat with an owl on the front. Since there isn’t much yarn left that isn’t designated for weaving, I returned to spinning some gray/brown Coopworth last night. It would be a perfect color for the hat, but the pattern will require me to do some math as it calls for Aran weight yarn, this is likely to be DK weight when plied.

Since I’m not a Super Bowl watcher, I only know one team that is playing and have no allegiance to them, I think I will warp the loom and start a cowl or scarf with a pattern instead of plain weave and continue spinning the Coopworth so I have a pocket project to work on during waiting room visits this week. Since we try to group our errands and lunch out around hubby’s PT visits, I have a 30-45 minute waiting room session a couple times a week, so I need a new pocket project.

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.