Just A Few Yarn-ey Thoughts…

Hi everyone!  I’ve been having a lot of stuff floating through my head as of late as to the nature of my business and my craft.  It seems to me, that knitted items (and even other crafted items) aren’t as appreciated as they should be.  Especially hand-knit items.  When someone gives you a knitted present for the Holidays, don’t groan (or flinch).  Think of me.  Or think of the individual that made the item for you.  Knitting isn’t as easy as you think it is, even for those that have been knitting most to all of their lives.  It’s something that you need to practice, even up until the day you die.

I’m going to say something not many knitters will be willing to admit.  Yarn is expensive.  Depending on the yarn company and who you buy from a single skein of yarn can range from $3 (for a few yards of yarn, which will not make much, to be honest) up until $45 a skein (sock weight).  This difference comes into play quite a bit.  The yarn you purchase from Wal-mart (starting at the $3 a skein/ball of yarn up to $12, for over a thousand yards) or any big boxed store (Michaels, A.C. Moore, JoAnne’s, etc)  is a large company’s yarn (mostly Red Heart and Lion’s Brand, which is really not a big selection of all of the yarn companies out there) so they can afford to dye, spin, and wind the yarn for you at a bulk discount.  They have machines that do all the work, so not many hands get involved in the process.  To me, this process seems…sterile.

Indie dyers (or local yarn spinners, dyers, etc) do not have that luxury (or money) of buying in their supplies in bulk, and do everything by hand.  This takes their loving care, time and effort to create their wonderful yarns.  When you knit with their yarns, you can tell that they care about the product they are selling.  For example, here are several examples of wonderful Indy Dyers that I have recently purchased from.

From Friday Studios, I just purchased two skeins of yarn at $33 each.  This wonderful little company has so many different types of yarn and in many different colors that it’s hard not to fall in love with them.  I bought the  Vampire Bill For BlogVampire Bill Self-Striping colorway, as well as the 80s Pic For Blog80s Self-Striping colorway.  Here are some of the stats on the yarn.  “100g / 3.5 oz425 m / 465 y , 75% Super-Wash Wool, 25% Polyamide, 4ply Fingering.”  To get a glimpse of the size of each, each ball of these yarns will get you 1 pair of socks, depending on how big you need to make them.  I saw an add for the Vampire Bill colorway on Ravelry (a site where I have all of my projects listed), and immediately went to grab it.  On the way to check out, I saw the 80’s colorway.  If you know me in person, you’ll know that I LOVE purples (besides the fact that I was born in the 80s and this color just SCREAMS 80s)!  Both had to be mine, cause duh!  They’re both awesome.  I know people who have knit with the second skein and couldn’t stop raving about how soft the yarn is, as well as how cool this dyer is.  I’ll do a review when it comes in.  Believe you, me…

 

I have also bought from SheepyTimeKnits.  I have bought both the  Twilight Pic for BlogTwilight and  Ruby Slippers Pic for blogRuby Slippers colorways of their “All Your Base” line of yarns.  Each skein was $24.  The yarn is a 3 ply superwash merino yarn.  490 yards/100g.  To all you “muggles” out there, this means that these are also meant to be socks as well.  They are super soft and can be washed and worn around the house.  You can even make shawls out of them (although you may need several skeins).  See, aren’t those two SOOOOO pretty?  I saw them, and said “You WILL be mine!”

So, besides the amount of money you would be spending on yarn, you would also be spending a lot of time working on the item you knit.  It takes almost TOO much time to do some of these knitted items that you see on Pinterest, etc.  If I got paid by the hour that I work on my knitting projects, I’d be a RICH woman!  If you give that the minimum wage here in CT is $9.19 times the amount of hours I’ve been putting in this past week, it stands to reason that if I were to sell that item (or five projects, as this week’s case may be) and be paid for my time then people would freak!  Let me lay out my week in terms of what I was able to finish and how long it took me to do that.  This way you can get a glimpse into my world.  Then tell me $20 for a hand-knit hat with several colors (especially since I needed to buy multiple skeins of yarn) is too much…

 

Okay.  Since Monday the 19th, I have worked on a total of six projects.  I have worked on a white Basketweave Baby Blanket for a client, a blue lap blanket with 5 different color skeins of yarn for another client, a Holiday Stocking in the Ruby Slippers colorway, two hats for the donations (that I’m running behind on, BTW) for AGDQ2015, a simple cowl for myself, and the start of a Hogwarts Express shawl, also for myself.  For the sake of this post, I’m not going to be counting the latter, as I’ve had to start and Frog (rip the work out and start over) several times and just decided to put it off for a bit.  But that is a total of an hour I spent on it.  The times you’ll be seeing do not include the time I had to take out to sleep, work (even part-time), and do homework for a class.

Monday the 19th: (a schoolwork day, to boot)

I started my knitting day at roughly 2:10, and ended at 3:46.  I was working on the white Basketweave Blanket pretty heavily.  In that timeframe, I did 4 rows in total.  Each row of that pattern has approximately 246 stitches across.  So if you add all that together, in an hour and a half, I did 984 stitches.  This approximately 11 stitches every minute.  This sounds fast to you, as you don’t know, but I knit pretty slow.  Especially when it comes to a highly patterned row, where I have to count each and every stitch.  The pattern calls for 6 stitches and 4 stitches.  Depending on the row, it could be 6 purl stitches and 4 knit stitches, or 6 knit stitches and 4 purl stitches.  So you REALLY have to pay attention to the pattern.

The good news, is that I actually got a chance to finish the project that very night (as it was due the following day to a client).  I took a quick break to eat and start looking through my homework assignment.  Then I got sidetracked into knitting some more.  From 4:39 to 6:30, I finished up the pattern (3 rows), then did the last 3 rows in knit stitch only to create a boarder on the top.  I also do a double-count row to make sure that I get the same number of stitches that I started off with.  With a blanket, having the same number over the course of the project is pretty key.  It means you didn’t mess up anywhere.  So, yay for that!  🙂  I also include my bind-off row as a complete row.  So, this makes a total of 8 rows I did in that time frame of roughly 2 hours.  That’s 1,968 total stitches.  That’s about 16 stitches every minute.  (So, here’s the starting proof that I knit faster than I purl…)

That makes a total of 1.5+2.09 = 3.59 hours.  At $9.19 an hour, I could have made myself $32.99.  Now, consider that that particular blanket had a grand total of 226 rows.  Total of 55,596 stitches.  13.5 average/minute.  Total time: 69 hours  X $9.19/hr = $634.11.  So, to be fair to the time that it took me to make the blanket, it would cost you $634.11.  With the yarn I chose for the project, (Lion’s Brand, Pound of Love) retailing at $11.69 a skein (and I only used about 1/2, your grand total for the project would have been $639.96.

So, now that I’ve done the math on all of that, you might be thinking “but don’t you sell baby blankets at $40 at pop on your Website?”  Why yes, yes I do.  I for-go a lot of the price of time for the potential yarn/shipping costs.  I could charge a whole lot more, but I don’t.  Just keep that in mind.  Like many knitters, I honestly enjoy the process and the look on my Recipient’s face more than everything.  It makes all the work that I do worthwhile.

DSC07158 DSC07164 Here are some pictures of the blanket!  Hope you like it!  🙂

 

Tuesday the 20th: (which is a work day for me.  I work at 4, most week days that I don’t have class…)

At 3:30 until 5:21 AM I worked on 2 rows of the Blue blanket.  Had to rip back 1st row, as I’m a dunce and didn’t realize what row in the pattern I was on.  Before work I did a quick row (1:27 to 1:54) in Shaded Blue.  While in the parking lot at work, I actually cast on the cowl.  I don’t have a record of when I worked on it, though.  This is why I’m not adding it into the total time I spent knitting.  I’m sorry if that confuses anyone.

When I got home from work, I did a quick measure of my work before starting back up to work.  It’s always good to know how long you lap blankets are.  Sometimes I make a blanket only 45 inches long.  Before heading into the last 1 1/2 stripes I had left to do in my pattern.  It was up to 43.5 at this point, which was fine.  As LaLa of The KnitGirllls would say, “It’ll work out.  It’ll be fine.”  🙂

After doing a quick check,  I did two rows of the more complicated rows which help make up the majority of the Roman Stitch that this pattern is made of.  This took me from 10:13 to 11:03.   Then I did 3 rows (1 all knit, 1 all purl, 1 all knit) more rows, which took me until midnight.

Total Time Spent Knitting: 3 hours and 13 minutes

Amount I Would Have Earned: $28.48

Total Number of Stitches: 240 stitches/row X 5 rows = 1,200 stitches total.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged:  Just over 6 stitches per minute.

 

Wednesday, January 21st: (Another Work Day for me)
Between 12:03 and 12:23AM I did a row.  Then I got distracted by prep for homework due Thursday nights.  Then I picked up the blanket again between 3 and 3:38AM I did the 2 Rows of the Roman Stitch part of the pattern.  I like to take breaks between the Roman Stitch and the rest of the pattern to break it up, and so you can see how freaking long it takes me to do 1 by 1 ribbing (kitting 1 stitch, then purling the next, and repeating until I get to the end of the row).  But it also helps that at the end of this particular point, I was changing colors from Royal blue to Shaded Blue.  From 4:30 to 5:40AM I spent doing 4 rows.  I got sick of working on the blanket, just because that’s who I am.  I can’t be monogamous with any piece of knitting for too long.  This is why I always have between 4-5 projects actively on the needles at one given time…

At work I did a few rows of the cowl, but can’t remember the exact number.  Sorry.

Between 5:45 and 6 PM, I cast on a Stocking in the Ruby Slippers colorway that I mentioned above, as well as the first purl row, just to keep the cast-on stitches together while I put it down.  I think I got home from work that night and just boogied on my homework assignments until I got bored with that too.  All of my classes are online, so I use the computer a lot, and sometimes my head hurts from being on the computer so long…

Total Time Spent Knitting: 2 hours and 23 minutes

Amount I Would Have Earned: $21.90

Total Number of Stitches: 240 stitches/row X 7 rows (on the blanket) + 96 stitches/row X 2 rows (on the stocking) = 1,872 stitches total.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged:  13 stitches

 

Thursday, January 22nd: (Day off from work, but Homework Day)
From 3:15 to 6:40 AM I did 2 rows of the Roman Stitch.  Then I went to bed, because it was SUPER Super late.  Then I woke up just before noon, and worked from 12 noon to 12 AM almost straight through, with some homework spread throughout.  I actually worked from Row 7 to the end of the Shaded Blue stripe and up to the 4th Row of the Navy.  This was a total of 15 rows.

Total Time Spent Knitting: 15 hours and 25 minutes

Amount I Would Have Earned: $140.15

Total Number of Stitches: 240 stitches/row X 17 rows = 4,080 stitches total.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged:  Just over 4 stitches per minute

 

Friday, January 23rd: (Another work day)
From 1:43 to 3:06 AM, I worked on 4 rows.  I think I stopped because I got distracted by something shiny…. Or maybe a FB game…. Who knows.   Most probably, I was working on the Cowl again.  But again, like I mentioned before, since I’m not too sure, I’m not going to count it in my counts.  Sorry if it confuses you again…

Between 4:14 an 4:54 I did the Roman stitch rows, as well as 4 more rows.  Then I went to bed, as I had to work in the morning, so I couldn’t spend TOO much more time awake.  After work I hung out and knit while EE finished his stream.  From 10:40 until 11:37 I did 3 rows on the blanket, then passed out.  I have to work early Saturday mornings, and I don’t want to be dead on  my feed for a 9 1/2 hour shift…  (Just a word of advice I’m passing on to you, if you must know)

Total Time Spent Knitting: 3 hours

Amount I Would Have Earned: $27.57

Total Number of Stitches: 240 stitches/row X  11 rows = 2,640 stitches total.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: About 15 stitches.

 

Saturday, January 24th: (As I mentioned, a pretty long work day for me)
As I was getting ready for work, probably about 30 minutes, tops, I worked on 1 row on the stocking.  It was an increase row to flush out the rest of the foot of the stocking.  That usually takes me twice the amount of time…  Then I went to work.  In the parking lot, I did a few rows of the Cowl.  Not sure of the exact number, as we had some snow on the roads, and I wanted to get there an hour earlier, just in case the roads were bad (guess what?  They weren’t!)  Supervisor let us in earlier, so I only had time to knit 30 minutes.  Since I had a lunch, I knit the entire hour.  Did a good amount of work, but I can’t remember the exact number of rows, as I was just winging it until I started to run out of yarn on the ball.
I got home an hung out with EE a bit before starting the remainder of the blanket, which was 7 rows if you include the cast off row as an actual row.  For the sake of this post, I will.  This was between 9:09 and 11:40PM.  Since I had to work again in the morning, I took some photos (those of which I will be sharing with you, of course!)

Total Time Spent Knitting: 4 hours and 52 minutes

Amount I Would Have Earned: $41.51

Total Number of Stitches: 240 stitches/row X 7 rows + 1 (144 stitches) row on the stocking=  1,824 stitches total.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: 10 stitches

 

Here is the Blue Blanket I finished.  It is 240 stitches across, with 62 rows total.  The top picture was of EE modeling the blanket’s length.  Finished Width: 78 inches (6 1/2 feet).  Finished Height: 57 inches (4 3/4 feet).

DSC07175 DSC07179DSC07181

Predicted Total Stitches: 14,880

Predicted Time Taken: 1,190.4 total hours, based on my average counts over the past week and how much I worked on the blanket while I was at AGDQ.

Predicted Total Before Materials, based on work: $10,939.78.  5 Skeins of Yarn (used 1/2 of each) are $10 each.  I would charge $25 total for materials, even though they were $50 all told.

Charged: $130 only, because the materials screamed to me.  But that is actually my standard rate for a lap blanket with several colors.  Pretty cool, huh?

 

Sunday, January 25th: (Another work day)
Before I headed to work, I did 2 rows on my stocking between 7:45 and 8:20AM.  While I was in the parking lot at work, I also did a few rows on the cowl.  Again, not sure of the exact number, as I was mostly concerned with shoving my breakfast down my gullet before my Supervisor showed up to unlock the building.  (Yeah, we have to wait, unless we want the alarms to go off, and the cops to show up…)

DSC07184 DSC07185Most of the work on the cowl that I did on Sunday was once I got home, however.  From 6 to 7 PM, I did 6 complete rows and the cast off row.  This was a total of 7 rows.

From 7:30 to midnight, I was hard at work on the AGDQ2015 hat #2 that I was running late with.  All in all, I did 15 rows.  A far bit of that work was the Letters in the pattern.

Total Time Spent Knitting: 6 Hours and 5 minutes

Amount I Would Have Earned: $64.33

Total Number of Stitches: 144 stitches/row X 2 Rows (Stocking) + 96 stitches/row X 15 Rows (AGDQ Hat) + 102 stitches/row X 7 rows = 2,442 total stitches.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: About 7 stitches.

 

Monday, January 26th: (Dual day off.  Snow storm start & Homework day)
Since I had gone to bed earlier than I normally do, my body woke me right after 10, so I started my knitting day at 10:40.  I did a marathon knitting session on the stocking (10 Rows) which went until 2:19.  I pretty much peeked my head out of my knitting for food and to bug EE, who was also working from home.

DSC07191 DSC07192 Then I switched gears over to the AGDQ hat.  I did 15 rows from 2:30 to 6:10 PM, which lead me to the end of the pattern section.  At that point, I started getting ready to do the remaining homework for the week done, and the last rows that would cast off the hat.  I normally don’t count those rows, as it does tend to vary depending on the size of the hat, needles, and yarn I’m using.  But I do know I cast it off at 8PM after working on it for an hour.  At that point, I went to do my homework full-time at that point.

Total Time Spent Knitting: 8 hours and 32 minutes

Amount I Would Have Earned: $76.43

Total Number of Stitches: 144 stitches/row X 10 Rows (Stocking) + 96 stitches/row X 15 Rows (AGDQ Hat) = 2,880 total stitches.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: About 6.

 

Tuesday, January 27th: (Day off)
I don’t know if you had heard, but here in CT, we got some snow.  Instead of us being on the roads, the Governor put a driving ban on all of the state at 9PM Monday night until early Wednesday so that the snow drivers could do their thing.  The day ended up being pretty relaxed and sleepy.  I’m going to say that I was knitting from 12 noon to 12AM, even though I think half of that time I spent half falling asleep over the needles.  I did 17 rows on the toe (144 stitches each row) and 20 rows of the toe decreases.  It was a bunch of counting and re-counting.  It looks pretty, though… (total= 2440) 2448+2440=4888

Total Time Spent Knitting: 12 hours

Amount I Would Have Earned: $110.28

Total Number of Stitches: 4,888

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: About 7

 

Wednesday, January 28th: (Back to work for me)
From 12 to 2AM, I did 4 rows of the stocking to finish the decrease rows.  I think I got sucked into a FB game at this point.  Then I took myself back out of it around 4:30 to try to cast on the Hogwarts Express Shawl.  Ripped back several times, and got frustrated and threw the ball of yarn and needles to the side at 5 AM.  Between 5 an 5:20AM, I cast on AGDQ Hat #3.  I did the Cast on, double count, double yarned rows (where I double up on yarn, in an attempt to hide on the waste yarn and weave in my ends).   I went to work, got home and watched EE stream.  Tried the cast on again and failed.  Got frustrated and then went back to playing more FB games.

Total Time Spent Knitting: 3 hours

Amount I Would Have Earned: $27.57

Total Number of Stitches: 392 + 96 sts/row (AGDQ hat) X 3 rows = 680 total stitches.

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: 4

 

Thursday, January 29th: (Homework day)
Since I was up late, I thought that I would do 10 rows on the Stocking.  Each row is now down to 96 stitches until I get to the top.  I worked from 2 to 4 AM, then went to bed since I was dragging ass at that point.  I got up that morning and started this post while I was working on some homework.

Total Time Spent Knitting: 2 hours

Amount I Would Have Earned: $18.38

Total Number of Stitches: 960

Stitches Per Minute I Averaged: 8

 

So you can see, I keep track of a lot of different things when I knit, just so I can see how far I’ve gotten.  I joke sometimes with my friends and co-workers that I’m not a speedrunner, but I’m a Speed Knitter.  I’m not there officially yet, but I hope to be there some day…

Anyway, my whole point with this post, was to show you that if someone makes you a knitted item for the Holidays, take some time to appreciate the fact that they love you enough that they made you something with their own two hands.  What with the cost of yarn, needles, other supplies, and the time spent knitting that item for you.

…It’s not easy being addicted to knitting…  😉

Cheers, and thanks for reading all of the way through to the end of this rambling post.  If you comment below or on our FB page with your opinion (no matter what it is, I won’t be mad if you don’t agree with me), you will get $5 off your next order on any order I make for you.

 

Alright.  It’s almost 5AM here.  I have to get to bed.  Thanks for listening!  -Silver-

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