Posted in Completed Projects

Commission Knitting and Two FO’s

Where has November gone? I swear this month was just starting last week! I can’t say this month has been particularly busy, but I haven’t been taking pictures nearly enough to make regular posts now that it’s dark when I leave for work and dark by the time I arrive home. Definitely need a better light set up for the winter months.

A few days after I posted last, I was asked to knit some baby things for someone I work with. Booties, a hat, and a sweater. This put all my current knitting on hold since I found out shortly after starting that there was a sort-of deadline of ASAP because the recipient would likely be home for Thanksgiving to receive these items. (Turns out they won’t be and likely won’t be gifted until late December.) Patterns were decided on, yarn was purchased that weekend, and off I went.

Warning… I go off a bit on a rant here about commission knitting.

Normally I don’t do commissions. The biggest reason is that people really don’t understand the work, time, effort and skill that goes into knitting and greatly devalue it. The thinking is generally that “it can’t possibly take that much time or be worth that much.” I know every knitter/crocheter/crafter out there understands and gets this! Sadly, those that don’t make things by hand don’t always understand this. I’m not really sure I ever will take on a commission again, but I’ve at least learned a few things from it.

I thought that the person who asked for these items appreciated the work that went into them since we’d had discussions at length about how long knit items take, how much work goes into them, and the real cost of labor and yarn. I didn’t set a price up front because I wasn’t sure how long any of it would take considering the last time I made a pair of booties and a baby hat was over 6 years ago when I first learned to knit and the last time I knit a baby sweater was…. never. I wasn’t sure on yarn cost, either. Big mistake. It was a comment about how much she owed me for the hat and booties that made me realize that what I thought she understood about the time and work and cost that truly goes into a knit item wasn’t understood at all.

The comment was something about $6 for the booties, which was said while I was saying that we’d discuss price when I finish the sweater. Needless to say my jaw dropped at that, but I kept my cool and didn’t say anything about it. The yarn alone cost $8, plus another $5.99 for the pattern I had to purchase. At least the hat and sweater pattern are free, but she insisted on this particular bootie pattern. I didn’t use all of the yarn and could still use leftovers for some other project (no idea what since I don’t knit baby things often), but that doesn’t even begin to cover the time spent making them or the supplies. Took me a week of after work knitting time to finish the two booties (6-8 hours) and a day and a half of weekend knitting time to do the hat (4-5 hours). That doesn’t even count the time I spent making a bootie that ended up the wrong size and helped me figure out a way to not knit it flat and have that ugly seem in the back. Even if I estimate the lowest amount of time since I didn’t time myself, 6 hours at minimum wage (in Ohio that’s currently $7.30), that’s $43.80 and that’s JUST for the booties, not even counting supplies. I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging her that “real” amount at minimum wage. Alternately, you can figure it by yardage used – somewhere between $0.15 and $0.30 per yard, depending on difficulty of the pattern. Based on that, it would be $21 for the booties since I used approximately 140 yards. Not sure what will happen at this point or what I’ll charge.

Lesson learned, courtesy of this experience and wise words from Leslie: always decide on a cost before purchasing yarn or starting anything and if it’s something large, it’s a good idea to get a 50% deposit up front.

Anyhow… the booties and hat are done, which means I have two FO’s to share!

Moc-a-Soc (Front
Baby Moc-a-Soc

Pattern: Baby Moc-a-Soc (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: November 14, 2010
Completed: November 20, 2010
Yarn: Plymouth Dreambaby DK in brown, approx. 92 yards, and Plymouth Dreambaby 4ply in off white, approx. 48 yards
Needles: US 1.5 (2.50 mm) for the brown bootie part and US 1 (2.25 mm) for the off white sock part
Notes: I made changes to the pattern because I didn’t like the seam in the back or the fact that where they split in the front, there was knits on one side and purls on the other. Shoe: Starting flat, I knit the garter stitch portion as written through row 15. On row 16, I joined in the round and knit one round (instead of purling). On odd rows 17, 19, 21 and 23, knit as written. On even rows 18, 20, 22, and 24, knit (instead of purling since you are working in the round). Cuff: Starting where you joined (where the seam would be): k1, “p2, k2” repeat from ” to 1 stitch before the end of the round, k1. Repeat for 2 more rounds. This is where you split the center. K1, “p2, k2” repeat from ” 4 times more, k1. 20 stitches have been worked. Turn. Keep in ribbing pattern for 5 more rows. Knit 3 rows. BO all 40 stitches. Seam the bottom of the shoe. Since the sock is worked after seaming, I did not change that portion.

Moc-a-Soc (Heel)
Baby Moc-a-Soc – No seam on the back!

Baby Hat
Baby Hat

Pattern: DROPS Hat in “Extra Fine Merino” (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: November 20, 2010
Completed: November 21, 2010
Yarn: Plymouth Dreambaby DK in light blue, approx. 74 yards
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) for the brim and US 4 (3.5 mm) for the hat
Notes: Heavily modified version of the hat. Used smaller weight yarn and needles. Left out the purl row after finishing the brim. Used the 18.5″ size to get a 16″ hat with the gauge difference. DROPS patterns aren’t my favorite since they don’t always seem very organized or specific (doesn’t tell you what kind of decrease to use, says things like “decrease evenly” etc), but for free patterns, they aren’t too bad to follow if you know what you’re doing.

Baby Hat (Top)
Baby Hat – Top

I started the sweater yesterday, but I don’t have any progress photos of it yet. Most of my other projects have been put on hold for these projects and some have even been frogged. I’ll update on those next time! 🙂