Additional one-off briefs, product tests and valuing my work.

Additional one-off briefs, product tests and valuing my work.

Bed runner

  • A friend had painted her bedroom and when admiring the colour I mentioned I had some yarn which perfectly matched it. She asked that if she paid, would I be willing to make anything, such as a pillow or quilt out of the yarn.
  • There was not sufficient yarn for a quilt but I suggested a bed runner which she really liked the idea of. A bed runner was also more suitable for the yarn as it was roving yarn, which is very difficult and easily destroyed by washing. I sent her a few possible design ideas to select from that would be suitable with the yarn.
  • In knitting as the general rule sale price is calculated by doubling the cost of the yarn. I used about 900g of yarn which I had bought at a charity shop at £1 per 100g. Purchased new the yarn would have been £5 a ball (50g) at least. Therefore to help me decide on a fair price, whilst keeping in mind it was still for a friend, I looked online for a similar product.

I suggested a price at £65 which she was more than happy with. As I already had the materials and it was not a personalised item we agreed that she would pay upon completion.

  • Once she had chosen the pattern I made the runner within two weeks and sent it to her. She absolutely loved it and sent me some lovely photos of it in situ

 

Phone Stand and tissue box

  • My mother asked me if I could make a present suitable for my aunt who is a keen gardener who also loves hand crafted things. My mother loved the stamps heads I had made in the past and wondered if it would be possible to be make something using floral stamps. This seemed a brilliant suggestion.
  • I had a look for what to decoupage the stamps on as it needed to be functional, not just an ornament. The tissue box blank seemed perfect, as the flat edges would make the stamps easier to place and the whole image of them be seen.
  • This was a great choice and the final look was great. It was very tasteful, perfectly fits in with my retro style, being that mix of old and new. I ordered more tissue boxes to decoupage after seeing how great it looked.
  • Covering the box used a lot of stamps which was prohibitive for many themes. Many of these where ones which I felt could sell well, such as trains, butterflies and cats. I bought a simple wooden phone stand which I decoupaged with the butterfly stamps I had. It was far harder doing phone stand due to its more complex shape. We really liked the end result, and it made an attractive product using far less stamps. Possibly coasters could be made using the smaller collection of stamps, and people often buy themed coasters on generic themes.

 

 

I really struggle in seeing my worth and actually selling anything I make. The items I have sold in the past have been few and under-priced. I tend to give them to people and, as I am so unsure about them, they are often just an add on rather than a main present. I feel extremely uncomfortable selling the items. This comes partly from my own insecurities but there is also an attitude towards knitting where people do not think it costs time or money. I so often hear ‘my gran or aunt could knit a jumper in an evening’ and the skill and actual time required is completely undervalued, it also often makes me feel quite inadequate.

 

I have been working on building my confidence in this area by giving as the full gift a knitted or crocheted item and trying to tell myself that I am not being cheap, instead that I am giving a great gift. I have had such positive feedback from this and requests for future orders. I think me giving the items as the gift, and not an add on, makes it more apparent how much work and effort goes in, and that they are valuable.

Pot trims

  • For a very quirky friend of mine who loves plants I crocheted a contemporary style ribbon with tassels for décor at the tops of some flower pots. She absolutely loved the pots and gave me more pots, asking me to make ribbons for them too as she thought it was so original. I was really taken aback by how much she loved them, especially as they were not particularly complicated to make.
  • Plant pots are an item which would be expensive and risky to post, making it impractical to sell online. I plan on, as soon as it safe to do so, attending craft fairs and selling them there. I’ve been shielding for most of the last year which has prevented me going to suitable events or shops and trying selling methods other people have used. They would be an item that would be quite different and special. In recent years they has been a real resurgence in people owning house plants so adding in a handmade element to the pots means they would be likely to sell well.

My friend took some beautiful photos of the pots once she had potted them for me. She was very happy about having a reason to use her camera and do some photography again as she rarely gets the chance.

 

Crochet pots

  • Crochet pots are very popular. I tested using the yarn type which is strong enough to hold itself up which is what tends to be used for the baskets. I found this very painful and my hand got terrible cramps. The other method often used is to have an bought wooden insert and crochet around it.
  • Quite often yarn comes wrapped round cardboard tubes. I usually rewind this and had been and storing the tubes ‘just –in-case.’. I looked at the size of these tubes and thought that they would be a great height and width for pen pots.
  • I made my first one using very fine multi-shaded purple yarn and a 2mm hook. This looked beautiful and I loved the look once finished, but the time it took was excessive for what it is. Unless I found an outlet in Knightsbridge this wouldn’t be a profitable choice.
  • I then made another pot using much thicker yarns and a 4.5mm hook. I loved the look of this pot, especially the colour change from turquoise to grey. I then used a more squat tube to make a complementary pot with yellow and grey. I was slightly disappointed with this one as the yellow did not stand out as much and the extra width made it take far longer than the change in height. I would stick with the regular size tubes in the future. This size yarn and hook was just right for the tubes, thicker yarn would make the crochet outer too thick in comparison to the size of the tub.
  • I gave these as gifts to different people who both really liked them, one even sending me photo of them in their house the next day.

 

Ear warmers

  • I saw somebody wearing an ear warmer and really loved the look. I am fussy with winter hats as often unsuitable materials are chosen for them and in my family they always seem to be too short to cover the ears properly! I thought I would have a go at making an ear warmer using some lovely pure wool I had.
  • I found a design and realised it was relatively simple. I made one and loved making it. It was a relatively quick knit and did not use much wool. This is a real benefit as, because I buy most of my yarn from charity shops, I often only have 50g which is insufficient for many projects but was plenty for this one.
  • I made a few more of these ear warmers which are able to be adapted for different needles used and head sizes with ease and were quickly appropriated by my mum and sisters who have loved them in this awful weather. They do not require a lot of concentration whilst being made; comparable to dishcloths to knit but more appealing to possible customers, they have become my ‘unwind’ knit
  • I looked at selling them on Etsy and saw they sold for about £10 when made from pure wool. They are relaxing to knit, cheap to produce, easy to source the yarn sustainably, cheap & easy to post, adaptable, and I believe sellable. I am adapting the basic pattern to produce a range of designs for my shop.
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