For those who don’t get the title, go see this.
IT’S SEPTEMBER! IT IS IT IS IT IS! I have my Scensty warmer going with a gorgeous scent (discontinued one…WHY?!?!) and am kicking back welcoming the start of fall.
It’s been an interesting few weeks. I had a little adventure with appendicitis and that’s over now. I’m fine – all is well. I’m sans appendix now, that’s all. But that’s neither here nor there. I have RANT FODDER to kick off my return to the darkness.
Cut here for length and those who aren’t ready for a Dina!Rant quite yet.
What am I going to rant about?
You heard me.
Let’s start off with this, shall we? Go on and watch it. I’ll wait.
Now, for those of you who didn’t watch that video (whatever your reasons may be), it basically sums up how long it takes to knit a sweater and the respective costs involved, and why when you ask someone to knit something for you, the amount they’re asking might be way more than you’re expecting.
I am currently knitting a Harry Potter scarf for someone. This scarf is a gift for this person. Note that. A gift. Gifts are (supposed to be) given without regard to cost or the idea of reimbursement, so that means that for me, knitting this scarf is done because I want to and for free. It’s a gift for someone I care about. I pay for the yarn, I invest my time and skill into the project, all because I want to do so.
This does not mean I will knit for anyone else for free. Thus saying, “I want a Harry Potter scarf!” or “My *insert relative here* would love one of those! Will you knit one for me?” will not get you what you want for free.
This is where people get offended. Regular readers familiar with both me and this blog will know that I absolutely do not care about their butt-hurt.
These offended people don’t understand that while yes, knitting is my hobby and I enjoy it immensely, it’s MY hobby. Mine. I make what I want, and making things for other people isn’t something I enjoy unless it’s a project I want to knit for them. I’ve taken commissions before and while the money is nice, it’s not something I enjoy. It’s work, and work is the opposite of fun and relaxation. I knit for many reasons. Money isn’t one of them.
Now, will I knit a Harry Potter scarf for you? Absolutely. It will cost you at minimum $250. MINIMUM. Why is that price my “minimum?” Because that’s the “friends and family” price, so unless you’re one of those (as in, “I know you personally/you have been in my house/you have bought me tequila and sushi/you are related to me by blood, marriage, or adoption, etc. and I actually give a shit about your opinion of me”) count on spending over triple that.
You heard me. I said “over triple that.”
“Dina! Why is a simple scarf so expensive? That’s outrageous! I can buy one online for $12! Someone is selling them for $30 on eBay and it’s hand-knit! You’re a greedy, price-gouging bitch!”
Oh, yeah? Let’s break this down, shall we?
A very simple Harry Potter House scarf with blocks of color knitting (AKA the “Year One-Two” or “Philosopher’s Stone/Chamber” scarf. There is another version called the “Prisoner of Azkaban” scarf or “POA” version that’s a bit different.) takes me approximately 90 hours to knit. That’s knitting two hours a day for six weeks. I could knit more, or possibly faster, but I have other things to do and sitting on my butt for two hours knitting can be an issue sometimes, so I’m being generous when I say “two hours a day” here.
Now, if I charge just ONE DOLLAR AN HOUR for my time/labor, that’s $90, and the yarn I need for that project runs around $30 (this is the inexpensive version – an acrylic/wool blend that’s machine washable). That’s $120 there. For a dollar an hour. There are workers in sweatshops who make more than that.
So that minimum friends and family price up there of $250? That’s me charging them about $2.50 an hour plus the cost of yarn (which I discount slightly). The REAL cost of a Harry Potter Scarf? At $5 an hour it would be $450, plus yarn, so $480. At $10 an hour, that’s $900, plus yarn cost = $930.
Minimum wage in my state is currently $9.25, so let’s go with that just for shits and giggles. 90 hours at $9.25 = $832.50 + yarn cost of $30 = $862.50.
Read that again. $862.50 for my time and materials at minimum wage. For a basic tube scarf with color changes and tassels using an inexpensive yarn. Now, you want me to knit a sweater for you? *eyebrow raise*
Now, sure. You could go with a $12 drugstore version made with shitty materials in some sweatshop or a person on eBay selling their work for $30, but you get what you pay for. (I highly suspect ebay Seller uses really cheap yarn from fuck-knows-where in colors that probably aren’t all that accurate, in addition to likely using the non-canon version of the pattern, but I’ve cosplayed before and am a stickler for accuracy. [Shut up]. They clearly do not value their time judging by that price. Here’s a great post on the devaluation of hand-knits.) If you want an inexpensive costume piece, go with those versions. If you want a hand-knit piece with guaranteed evil in every stitch made by the Gothic Goddess herself, that’s going to cost you.
I saw something on Tumblr once (that I can’t find now despite searching) that said something to the effect of “you can tell how much I like you by how willing I am to knit for you for free.”
That should tell you enough, don’t you think?
I have people I’ve known for a decade I haven’t knit for, and I have people I’ve known for a month I’ve knit for. It really does depend on nothing more than that.
Also, see the FAQ about how I feel about rudeness, stupidity, idiocy, and entitlement. People who want you to knit for them for free generally fall into one of those categories, when they’re not just plain ignorant. Now, ignorance I am willing to overlook and forgive IF the person is truly clueless/uninformed. Some people truly don’t know how much time and effort goes into a handmade item, so they’re to be excused if they show understanding once they’re made aware.
It’s the people who are made aware then continue into one of the other categories that are the problem here. The people who are told a Harry Potter House Scarf will cost them over that $12 one they saw in the drugstore and didn’t buy at the time because they thought it was too expensive that say, “But you can do it for free, right?”
Yes. I can. I can totally do that for free.
BUT I WON’T.
Here’s a good post from Tumblr I found while browsing for that other image about the cost of crafted items.
So, if I’ve knitted for you, either because you’ve won something of mine through various fundraisers and charity events I’ve donated my skill to or are someone I’ve promised something to (I know there are more than a few of you still in the queue for things – I’m a slow knitter!) or because I wanted to/offered to knit you something, consider yourself honored. I’ve knit for you. That’s not something just anyone can say.