Once upon a time there was a baby elephant hat. It went to a baby shower for a teacher, who was expecting a little boy. (This teacher and her husband had decided to decorate their baby’s room with elephants, so the hat was just the thing for little Carter.)
At the shower, the little hat was very well received and oohed and aahed over. Other mothers remembered knitted gifts and a teacher expecting twins informed the hat’s maker that she wanted to “put in her order” early. All of this made the knitter happy and a little proud.
Then it was suggested that the knitter should sell some of her creations and she had to try to explain again why that would be so frustrating. So here goes:
I love knitting. To me it is a stress reliever and a creative process. Once I told a friend that to me it was “like breathing.” Yes, I would love to be paid for it. But although I don’t think of myself as a creative genius or the world’s greatest fiber artist, I do believe that if I were to make it worth my time, I would have to charge a lot of money. “Aye, there’s the rub” as our old friend Will (via Hamlet) would say. Even if you value handcrafted items, it’s difficult to justify the cost. Unless you are independently wealthy, you don’t want to pay $50 for the above hat, or $250 for the sweater in the last post. At least not when you can get a machine-made knockoff at the Gap for $20 or Wal-Mart for $45, respectively. I personally can’t afford it myself, and I know the time and effort that go into creating the finished product.
So, I will continue to politely decline offers to knit something on commission for you, because you really won’t think it worth what I want to charge. And that’s just for my time, not because I think I’m the next Vera Wang (I’m so not). On the other hand, I will joyfully knit for those I know and love, because I’m made so that I express myself best that way. Go read this. Stehpanie writes about it so much more eloquently than I ever could – her story of sweaters for her girls and what they meant over the years may bring tears to your eyes.
ANYWAY . . .
I hope you like the hat, little Carter. May it keep you warm in the Indiana winters.