My felted bag kept talking to me, even after I said it was done. “I’m plain,” it whined. “I’m missing something!” It finally occurred to me this morning what it was missing: a flower! Especially after the silk lost so much sheen and color, the bag needed something fun to make it pop. So this morning, I made it a flower with a button center and now my bag is satisfied. “I’m lovely now,” it purred happily.I finished another bag this weekend and it’s really, truly done. It’s a cotton/linen market bag and I’m quite pleased with the springiness of the yarn. It should work out perfectly for its purpose.I’ve got another bag starting in my mind now: a hot pink cotton fat-bottom bag with a dark denim lining and clear plastic handles. Won’t that be fun? Before I start it, though, I want to get a few more hats done before my next craft show on Saturday. And I might have good knitting time today. The kids have eaten enough candy that they seem to have fallen into a sugar coma and are nice and quiet. Better get busy while I can!
Last night, I finished my felted silk/wool bag. I hand-sewed the lining, sewed on the handle tabs and handles, and trimmed the long strands of silk sticking out. It would appear the bag is completely done. I like it. I was discouraged as I was working through it, frustrated with the felting process and not sure the lining would go well enough. But now that it’s done, it pleases me. I think it will become a knitting bag for ME.
Sure, I could try to sell it. It’s attractive, striking, unusual, handmade, handy. But I’m really not sure I could get anyone to pay what it’s really worth. Here’s a glimpse into the struggle of pricing handmade items:
- Silk Yarn $16
- Wool yarn $9
- Lining fabric $5
- Wooden handles $7
I’m already at $37 just in materials. But what about time?
- Finding the right shade of blue wool to match the silk: 1 hour
- Knitting the bag: 4 hours (approx)
- Felting the bag: 2.5 hours (1 hour hand-felting, 2 cycles in the washer, stuffing & shaping the bag)
- Prepping and sewing the lining: 2 hours (longer because I’m a sewing machine novice)
- Hand-sewing the lining into the bag: 1 hour
- Hand-sewing the handles into the bag: .5 hour
That’s 11 hours of labor. If I give myself even minimum wage (Missouri: $7.65) that’s $84.15. Add in the materials, and I should price the bag at $121. Whaaat? Sure. It’s technically worth that. Hard to argue with the facts. But where do I find the person who’s willing to pay that?
So here’s my question to you, fellow crafters: How do you price your items? Do you use a formula? Do you peruse Etsy or other sites to see what others are pricing similar items? Do you go with your gut?
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. This is an ongoing struggle for me, and I’m trying very hard to stop undervaluing myself and what I create. But at the same time, I do want to sell things. Not just for the money, but so other people can have things they love, so that I can share the joy of handmade.
After a day with no knitting on Saturday, I had a day with all the knitting yesterday, and I finished TWO projects! Without further ado, I present to you the Hogan Infinity Scarf:I know, it looks like poo in this photo, but that’s the wonder of blocking! This morning it got a little bath in Eucalan and now it’s laid out to dry.I’m so glad this silly thing is done. After all the fuss trying to figure out yarn amounts and what colors to use, and then I had a mistake in the chevron pattern that I couldn’t find…ugh! The upside is that this was my first experience with Rowan yarn, and it was lovely. It feels strong yet still touchable, not splitty, and I think it’ll have good stitch definition. And I really do like these colors together. I’m glad I went ahead and used the white on the edges. My Ravelry notes are here, and I’ll post another photo when it’s done drying.
I finished the cowl during Harry Potter #5, and while we watched #6 I needed another project, so I finished up another long-tail baby hat. These are fun.Now I *could* start a new project, but I’ve been in the mood to clear through some of my WIPs, so I think I’ll pick up something I’ve been ignoring. But first I want to line my felted bag.Here’s the fabric I have. It’s not quite an exact match but I think it’s close enough. What do you think?
I love felting my knitted things. But I also hate felting them. Ever since we replaced our ancient center-agitator washer with a newfangled tub-agitating washer, I have not been able to felt to my satisfaction. Yesterday I decided it was time to felt my blue/fuchsia bag, the one made with recycled sari silk that I blogged about a while ago. I did finally find some wooden handles I like so it really was just waiting for felting. I think I waited so long because I was dreading the process.
I started with hand felting: I filled the sink with tepid water, added the Eucalan and dropped in the bag. The water immediately started turning pink with dye from the silk. The more I agitated, the more it bled. I ran it under the cold tap, then the warm. I beat it against the side of the sink. Then I dunked it back in the water and did it all over again, rubbing the bag between my hands over and over until my arms ached. After half an hour, I had gorgeous deep fuchsia water, a barely-felted bag, and a burgeoning disappointment. I had such high hopes for this bag.
A stint in the washer was next. What could I lose, right? A few towels, a bit of soap, and no spin cycle. It took two wash cycles but I did end up with a bag that could conceivably be considered felted. Not wanting to do another round, I shaped it and set it out to dry.It’s amazing there’s still some fuchsia dye left, as much bled out during the felting process. And it’s so strange how the top band, which is garter stitch, felted so much less than that stockinette body. Is that normal? If so, I’ll avoid garter stitch in the future for felted items! I checked on the bag this morning, turned it to let the other side get some sun, and switched out the damp newspaper. The silk is *still* bleeding.Once it’s fully dry, I’ll reassess. I suppose I might try to felt it more, but I’m also pondering lining it. I’ve got some satiny fuchsia fabric that might look pretty nifty in there.
Last night we binge-watched Arrow. We just started it, so we’re still in the first season, and I’m really enjoying it. So while we watched 4 episodes (or was it 5?) I worked on my cowl. It tried to foil me at one point. I got to the end of a round and the pattern didn’t match up. I went back and checked, and the whole round was fine. I tinked it anyway, reknit, came up with the same results. I counted my stitches and was one short. I counted again and was still one short. I have no idea when or where that stitch got lost. And since this is something I’ll probably keep, I decided I didn’t want to work hard enough to find it. I increased a stitch and moved on. So far, so good.We are officially in Spring Break mode now, which means I’ll have the kids home with me for the next nine days. I’m not sure how I’ll persuade them to not spend that whole time on their electronic devices. Maybe it’s time for some spring cleaning?
We got the snow as promised, all day yesterday and more overnight. But only 3-4 inches, so I can’t complain too much. The puppies are loving it, spending half the day outside and wearing each other out. I spent the day with a Twilight marathon and knitting, and it was delightful. I pulled out the yarn from a bag I’d frogged three months ago, determined to make progress.
I had one skein of Kathmandu silk in blue and fuchsia, and one skein of Cascade 220 in a coordinating indigo blue. I’d started a bucket bag way back in early December, got it about halfway knit and decided I didn’t like it. No real reason, it just didn’t seem right for the yarn. I frogged it, picked out another pattern, and then the yarn sat there for ages. So yesterday I started knitting that second pattern, and it was going swimmingly, until I realized my silk yarn was diminishing quickly and I wasn’t close the end. I looked again at the yarn requirements. What the heck was I thinking? I didn’t have enough yarn for this. Sigh. Back to the drawing board. Thanks to Ravelry and my own library, I decided I’d try another Vintage Bubble Bag. No, I didn’t have enough to make a full-size bag, but that was okay because the bag was too big anyway. Time to improvise and modify! I merrily knit along during my movies and this morning I finished up the decreases and bind-off. All my notes are Ravelled here. Now I just have to decide what to do for handles. The pattern calls for i-cord handles, which is what I did the first time I made this bag. But I used up all the silk, so the handles would be solid blue. I’m tempted to buy some handles, wood or plastic or something. I like how they hold up without stretching. But I have to decide before I felt the bag, and I want to felt the bag soon, so I need to figure it out. Anyone want to weigh in?
And no blog post of mine is complete without a hat, so here’s the Swirl hat I finished on Friday. It used almost the whole skein, and the brim is nice and snug on my head. I do enjoy this pattern! Not too bad for two days’ knitting, eh? Today I might work on my gradient cowl. We’re all going for haircuts so I’ll have plenty of sitting & knitting time. How about you? Making good crafting progress during this stupid snowy winter?
Thank goodness, my mojo was not gone very long. Yesterday afternoon I went up to my craft room and gazed at my stash and pulled out a handful of skeins that called my name, and wound them without any expectations of what I should knit with them. I just appreciated the colors and the feels.I mean, how can you play with this and not want to knit it?? It’s hot pink Simpliworsted and I know it’s going to be a hat, maybe for me, but I feel a little of that crippling fear you get when you love a yarn so much that you want it to be exactly the right pattern. I keep telling myself I have two skeins of it, so it can be two hats and I can keep whichever one I like best.
While I pondered that, though, I decided I needed a fast felting project. I’d pulled out some wool in peach and mint green that wanted to be a felted bag, so I spent a while on Ravelry before deciding on this clutch pattern. The knitting part was super fast; I got almost all of it knit last night, with maybe an inch left to do this morning. I did a three-needle bind off instead of learning Kitchener. I didn’t think trying that for the first time was the right way to coax my knitting mojo into staying! Now the bag is ready to felt and as soon as I get my errands done, I’ll be working on that. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.The other excitement of the morning was thanks to these two monsters. They look sweet and calm, don’t they? Well, they greeted me when I got up this morning and they were all excited and happy and bouncy, and then they decided they should start roughhousing on the stairs while I was trying to go down. Two puppies crashing into me means I fell down and slammed my lower back into the hardwood stairs. Yeah. It’s awesome. I’ll be doing some training with them on stair etiquette very soon. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find an ice pack!
I got to add two more FOs to the Christmas gift pile over the weekend. The first, and most satisfying, is a blanket. It’s throw-sized, about 31″ by 41″, so not huge, but still, knitted blankets take a long time. It’s a much bigger commitment than, say, a hat. I spent most of Saturday at a band competition with my daughter and this was the project I took with me, hoping I could get it finished. I got a long way, and finished it Sunday morning. This is the Double Seed Stitch Blanket by Purl Soho. It’s simple, classic and lovely. I used 5 skeins of Knit Picks Brava Bulky in red. I wanted it to be soft and warm but also washable. I used a smaller needle than the pattern specified, 11 rather than 13, to get a denser fabric. I found it quite cozy on my lap as I worked on it, so I’m really hoping the recipient will be pleased with it.
The other gifty object is the red tote. You may remember I blogged about it before, discussing my felting struggles. I tried one last time and finally I have called it finished. This is the bag after three machine cycles and two hand-feltings.I like it. There’s more stitch definition than I would prefer, but it’s definitely a sturdy fabric. It’s a good size for a book, notebook and cell phone. For those who missed it before, this is the Lucky 7 Felted Tote made with Cascade 128 Wool. I’d like to try this pattern again with a different wool.
With two gifts finished, I thought I deserved to start a selfish project. Did anyone else see the new Candy Cane Scarf pattern? I can’t remember if I saw it on Ravelry or Facebook but I fell in love with it immediately. I don’t make many scarves anymore because they take so long, but I’m making this one! And I’m making it special too: I’m using my Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. Mmmm, it’s gonna be soft and warm and delightful! Since the yarn is bulky, not DK like the pattern uses, I’m using size 8 needles, and I only increased to 32 stitches before switching colors. I’m so happy with it, and it’s going faster than I expected (thank you, garter stitch).This is totally going to be worth all that end-weaving.
I hate to brag, but my Christmas shopping is DONE. Christmas knitting is down to one fingerless glove. (I really should start that soon.) I have none of the panic from last year, and I’m liking it. It’s a combination of starting earlier in the year and stressing less about handmade gifts. Not everyone is getting one, and that’s okay. Not everyone is getting something big and complicated, and that’s okay too. Now I can sit back and coast along, and not freak out every time the kids cross off another day on their Christmas countdown. I wish the same calm for all you other crafters!
I’m sorry, I don’t have much to show off, which is sad since it’s been a few days since I posted. Or at least it feels like it. But you know, I *do* have to do other stuff sometimes. Sighhh.
Yesterday I went to my new LYS, Angelika’s Yarn Store, to get some Cascade 220. You know that really pretty fuchsia and blue silk yarn I bought in Weston? I found a cool felted Bucket Bag pattern and decided to actually use the recommended yarn. Crazy, huh? I was hoping for a matching fuchsia but struck out, so I found a good blue instead. I think it’ll look really nifty. I’ve got the bottom knit and the stitches picked up for the body of the bag, so now it’s just a bunch of knitting in the round until it’s tall enough. This is my current waiting-room knitting project.And I loved the Purl Soho Super Soft Merino Hat so much that I needed to make another one, for myself this time! I found two skeins of the Mirasol Tuho in hot pink and cast on last night. Can I say again how much I love this yarn? So soft and squishy and warm. Mmmmmm….And that’s all, folks. I still have one fingerless glove and a little less than half a blanket to knit (it’s boring. Hard to make myself work on it.). I guess it needs to get a little closer to Christmas for the panic to set in enough to get me to abandon the fun knitting. So today, it’s cold and I’m grumpy, so I’m going to take my tea to the couch and knit for a while on my hat.
Behold, ’tis a great and wondrous thing! I have made fingerless gloves that not only match a hat, but MATCH EACH OTHER! This is the first time I have been able to knit two mitts exactly the same size! I always count my rows wrong somehow, so that one mitt is longer than the other. Not this time! Bwahaha! Even better, I think they’ll actually fit the recipient well, and it was a great way to use up the last of the Mirasol Yarns Tuhu.
I also felted the red tote. Not quite as happy with it.This is after two cycles in the washer and a heavy beating by hand. I mean, I went to TOWN on this baby, and it just won’t felt all the way. So I’m going to try one more time in the washer and this time throw in a few dog toys for extra agitation. If anyone has any tried-and-true felting tips, please share them!
I’m getting so close to being done with holiday knitting, too! Only half a lap blanket, one hat, one fingerless glove and one toddler-size set of mittens left. Crazy, huh? I’m sure I’ll decide at the last minute to make more.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! May the company be happy and the food plentiful.
I have reached a milestone: as of this weekend, I have 100 blog followers! And most of them aren’t friends or family, which is what really blows my mind. I’m so tickled and flattered that so many people enjoy my posts enough that they want to see them regularly! To all of you following me, I say a hearty THANK YOU!! You encourage me to keep this little adventure going and help me believe that maybe I can really call myself a writer.
That’s not the only bit of encouragement I’ve gotten either. I have a new follower on my Etsy page, and again, it’s someone I’ve never interacted with before. Of course I love to have my friends and family follow me, but when it’s a stranger, you don’t question the motive. You know it’s because they honestly like your page. And that feels good.
My Facebook bonny knits page is at 72 likes, so it’s a slow grower, but that’s okay. It’s grown by almost ten likes within the last couple of weeks; that’s encouraging. And I’m hoping that after Christmas when I have more time to put into my business, I can get that number higher too.
Okay. Enough with the boring number stuff. I’ve been productive the last few days and have several things to show off. They’re all Christmas gifts, and there’s a slim chance one of the recipients *might* see this blog, but oh well. First is a simple cowl, made to hug the neck closely.It’s modified from this headband pattern. But I honestly don’t remember now how many stitches I cast on, and apparently I didn’t create a project on Ravelry. I *think* I did 60 stitches on size 13 needles, and I just did a simple 3×3 rib until it seemed big enough. It came out a little looser than I intended but I think it will still please the recipient. I used Lion Brand Hometown USA, a thick, warm yarn, in Tampa Spice.Now a hat! Another hat, hooray! I love how this came out. It’s for one of my nieces and she saw something similar in a Delia’s catalog, so this is my attempt to recreate it. I especially like the big pompom on top. 🙂 This was my first time using a Purl Soho pattern, even though I’ve been admiring them for ages. It’s the Super Soft Merino Hats for Everyone. I didn’t have the right size needles so I did the men’s size on smaller needles. I think it came out perfectly. The gray is Cascade Pacific Chunky, an acrylic/merino blend. It’s a yarn I just found recently and it’s a new favorite. The light turquoise is Tuhu by Mirasol Yarns and oh my is it luscious. It’s 50% Llama, 40% Merino, 10% Angora. My SIL bought it and started knitting boot cuffs, and discovered she’s extremely allergic to the angora. It’s sad. But her loss was my gain: I bought the yarn from her and it was heavenly to knit with. I held it double to match the thickness of the Cascade, and I *think* have just enough left to make a pair of the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts to go with the hat. Fingers crossed!Last one: the Lucky 7 Felted Tote. I realize it’s not felted yet. This is what it looks like after two cycles in my washer. I think I have determined that my washer just doesn’t felt. There’s no center agitator, so the wool doesn’t get enough action. (haha!) This is made with Cascade 128 Wool. The label said nothing about superwash, so it really should felt. Today I will submerge it in hot water and beat it with a wooden spoon. Tune it tomorrow to see how that goes!