You CAN’T afford me

I’ve had a few recent discussions lately about making things for others without any compensation for my efforts, abilities, or own expense. It was a favor when you really think about it that they even thought to ask ME of all people anyway. [Please note the extreme sarcasm] I’ve mentioned the most recent which was my nine-year-old niece assuming—wrongly so—that it would be cheaper than store bought to do so. Who ever knew that making things for people you love would backfire to such a degree?

Well just moments ago I was on Ravelry and someone posted a thread asking for an experienced knitter to make her a garment because she felt it would be too much time and effort to do it herself…

I mention this because someone in said thread pointed to a site that actually calculates what one should charge for time, effort, skill, and expenses in doing such said thing. I—curiously— because I’ve had not one, not two, but three request in one month for a Viajante shawl/wrap/poncho from three separate people. I put in the cost of materials from the most recent yarn purchase because I bought with another Viajante in mind. I also put in a guesstimated time amount for how many hours I dedicated to this thing. (Initially I said about 750 hrs but, then recalculated with about 600 hrs instead.)  To get this I deducted 2 of the 7 months time frame my projects page states. For one reason is because I set it aside for that long. Then I rationalized that I didn’t knit for 30-31 days straight so I cut that in half to 15 days. I also didn’t knit every hour of the day so I started at 10 hrs and then decided 8 hrs was more realistic. So, 15 days over a 5 month period at about 8 hrs per day comes to about 600 hrs.

Then it ask you to determine your skill level. Novice – Competent – Expert. I realistically rated myself at competent. I am more skilled and know more techniques than a mere novice but, I have to actually consult others modifications to most patterns before I implement my own. Often times I find a new way to learn to properly read my knitting when implementing a certain technique so I thus consider myself competent but not quite an expert. How much with a 10% profit does it suggest I charge for this endeavor? Those who undervalue handmade crafts still yourselves: $2,076.00 USD 

By the way that does not include shipping. I’ll just give you a chance to let that marinate and sink in…

I think now I can legitimately reply when asked to make something, “You really can’t afford me.”

Curious to price your beautifully made handcrafted items? Check here.


8 thoughts on “You CAN’T afford me

  1. I was trying to explain this very thing to my brother. He was trying to get me to open an Etsy shop. people don’t get it. If it was that easy to make a fortune on Etsy everyone would do it!


    1. Haha, totally agree. I always wanted to but, gosh is it expensive. Especially factoring in the reality that there are others out there already doing the same thing and struggling. This was an eye opener even for me because I’ve seen things beyond beautiful on Etsy at about $150USD and while I knew it was worth it I felt it was too much for me to afford. Now I see they’re actually worth more. It also explains why so many handcrafters take offense to the, “You should sell that.” or “It’s good enough to be store bought.”


    1. It will be an up hill battle for me. I don’t mind making things for others but, I don’t like the obligatory nature that seems to come attached. If I make it for person A then persons B, C, & D expect it as well. Recently, my mother gifted some things to an individual and another who was witness to it gave verbal indication she felt left out. Which raises the conflict of giving out of obligation. i.e. I feel bad so I must. Bottom line I should give freely and not out of compulsion.

      Which also comes in to play when asked to give. How to be tactful yet blunt and straightforward? That is the question.

      Liked by 1 person

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