Thursday, March 05, 2015

Pricing Yarn, Business Moves, and Knitting!

Hand dyed bulky wool yarn
People have been asking about price of the yarn and other items lately. Fair pricing is an issue that most artisans find complicated. As hard working people with limited income, we can understand that the cost of an item is often the first consideration when people are looking at our merchandise and considering a purchase. But at the same time we can't stay in business and produce those special items if we don't get enough money for our products to pay our bills and cover our materials. Artisans have a lot of competition in cheap foreign goods, but also we have to deal with people at craft fairs and shops that don't take their work seriously enough to price it realistically to cover costs and the value of hand made.

As an example, I estimate that I put in eight hours of work for every skein of yarn that I produce. In the yarn industry, however, there are standards of pricing that I choose to use as guidelines for my artisan yarns. This means that no matter how long it takes me to produce a yarn, there is a price limit as far as what I can charge for it, based on the industry standard. I represent about twelve spinners in my area and we all use a basis of pricing that keeps our hand spun creations in line with good commercial yarns. If I priced the yarn based on the cheaper acrylic yarns available, I wouldn't stay in business. I have to hope that my buyers understand that they are getting a high quality product that will last them for years and make their hand knit crocheted item completely unique. No, we're not as cheap as Red Heart but you're getting a wonderful yarn that will last you forever and be a pleasure to work with. You will also be supporting local farmers and artisans who care about your community.

Artisan yarns at Jerry and Connie's House of Collectibles
In other news, I recently agreed to work an extra day at the antique shop where I help out part-time. Jerry and Connie's House of Collectibles is located in Meadows of Dan next to our post office and bank on the main highway. I will be working for him on Wednesdays and Fridays, so my Greenberry House shop hours, beginning in late April, will be Saturday through Tuesday, 10 AM to 5 PM. Putting yarn in at Jerry's will give me a yarn shop presence in Meadows of Dan all year, however, so I think it will be a good move. I may be able to have someone run the shop on Fridays sometimes; we'll see how that works out. So I hope folks will visit me in both locations!

Knitting with Thrums
I'm working on a pair of mittens for me lined with fleece in a technique called thrumming. It's much easier than it looks and a lot of fun, although I think I'll use alpaca or angora for the next pair. I want to work out a pattern that I can knit for sale. I hear that these are popular. This pair is made with some hand dyed CVM wool yarn and lined with a soft fleece that I bought at some point and didn't label. 

What I'm spinning: Almost finished the Shetland/merino periwinkle yarn for Kathleen's sweater
What I'm knitting: Experimenting with thrums for mittens
What I'm crocheting: Everything is hibernating
What I'm reading: Reading? I used to do that.
Current sounds & sights for spinning along: Midsomer Murders on Netflix, listening to Factory Man by Beth Macy
How the diet is going: Staying steady with this cold weather.


Anonymous said...

The yarn is fabulous and I fully understand your pricing. No artisan is able to price their hard labor to reflect the hours you have in it. There is no comparison of your hand dyed/hand spun to the mentioned store bought. I often apologize for using the other but for the project I use for, it's the only viable option.
I support and recognize your hard work and fine quality.
The mittens are beautiful..please bring with you to Olde Liberty Fibre Faire and tease me with their beauty.
Hugs and good wishes..look forward to seeing you soon.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Leslie, your pricing is very fair and the quality is excellent. There are always those who choose quality and the rest shop for barb wire -lol-. Hope you're getting something other than here... it's more sleet, ice, rain and shows no sign of stopping.
BTW, I'm not renewing; I think it's time for that dream to be laid to rest.

Lilac Cottage Homestead said...

Very beautiful yarn!!! Well worth what ever you ask!! Just sorry I won't be able to afford any for a while. God Bless