I’m sure you’ve all had the occasional throwaway comment from an ignorant friend. “You should sell these. You’d made a killing.” No. As we well know, you wouldn’t. Most recently, someone suggested I could do that with the three-hour cowl, and suggested a price of $25. Quite apart from any considerations around needing to buy a licence to do so (the pattern is free for personal use, not otherwise), it takes me rather longer than three hours to knit the cowl. But assuming I could manage that, then, what, it would be fine to work for a bit over $8 an hour, less than half the Australian basic hourly rate? I don’t think so. That might cover the cost of the yarn and perhaps allow for some printing and wear-and-tear (needles break; super glue isn’t something I’d normally stock in my sewing kitty). But the time to make it? Pay for that? Not remotely.
All that aside, I don’t knit for money; not only because it doesn’t pay well, but because I’d rather knit for people who will be happy to receive something that I’ve knitted with love.
Over the years I have knitted many things for Youngest Aunt. She is always a happy and grateful recipient, whoever the knitter. She still wears a beautiful beanie that our Mum knitted for her a very long time ago indeed (either just before she left high school or shortly after she started uni); it’s just as warm and cosy and blue as it was then. The blue is important, I think, and probably why it’s still her favourite. It’s like Youngest Aunt, remarkably well travelled. Locally, it has been ballooning in the Barossa, many times up to the summit of Mt Lofty and more than once spotted at various wineries about the place. It has also appeared in even chillier climes during OS sojourns.
Mum knitted socks for Youngest Aunt, too (I made my own). I’ve offered to make others for her, but she confessed that she didn’t find them particularly comfy. I suspect that a large part of that relates to the fact that Mum knitted those socks with a pure wool yarn Nowadays, the availability of yarns that have a small percentage of something non-woollen to help them hold shape better is bound to provide greater comfort. Plus, there are all those fabulous self-patterning yarns to add to the appeal.
But getting back to my output, I’ve knitted and crocheted all sorts of things for family members: jumpers and cardigans; beanies, berets and balaclavas; mittens; fingerless mitts and gloves; scarves, shawls and cowls; a christening gown; angel jackets and baby singlets – I could probably continue, but you’ll see what I’m saying. I make a lot of things for people I love. I’m happy to do that. And for that, I don’t count the cost or the time.
Luckily, however, the beanie I’m knitting now – version three and let’s hope it’s third time lucky! – is coming along nicely as the result of knitting on public transport.