Too much time on my hands…

or, maybe too much fiber in my hands as days of welcome rain have kept me mostly indoors where I am catching up with fiber projects. Washing, carding, spinning, weaving rugs, making socks…. (first handspun socks on the csm – so warm! – I love slightly (and even not so slightly) mismatched socks)………………….

handspunsocks

………….sorting wool to be used for felting, dyeing lots of mill end roving from Sheep Shed Studio , thinking of ways to use up small bits of yarn (more in another post) and generally just thinking about the business of fiber.  I have often read blogs, posts, discussions from other fiber artists on the subject of pricing. Invariably, the subject of an hourly wage comes up. “I have to make x dollars an hour for my work”. “I CAN’T spin for minimum wage.” “I AM an ARTIST and deserve $1000000/hour!!” they say.  In 20 years of spinning, I can spin many times faster than I could even 5 years ago. Should I drop the price on my yarn because I can spin faster now? I’ve never really understood that frame of mind. We are selling products – not time, and it is the end product that determines its fair worth.  We are not selling our time, we are selling our talents. There is certainly something special about a beautiful handwoven coverlet or a carefully handknit sweater from beautiful handspun yarn.  The time and talent of the artisans adds depth that cannot be matched by machine made products. And that’s what makes it special – the uniqueness and beauty that can only be achieved by our hands.  I want people to buy my yarn because they think it’s beautiful first and appreciate that it’s handspun from my own sheep second. When my buyer knits a sweater from my yarn, I want people to admire his/her sweater without the maker having to wear a sign around his/her neck saying “I made this sweater myself from handspun yarn and it took FOREVER, so you better like it”.

Sometimes it’s good to look at sheep the same way. Hide the pedigrees, the provenance, forget who the parents are, who the breeder is, what rare lines the sheep carries, and just LOOK to see what grabs you.

I’ve probably been looking at too many “art yarns” online lately 🙂 One thing about yarn with little skulls spun into it is that I’m pretty sure it’s handspun. I’m not completely sure it’s art and I’m not really sure where the line is between yarn and string, but I’m pretty sure it’s fun 🙂

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About patchworkfibers

Registered Jacob Sheep
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6 Responses to Too much time on my hands…

  1. Great post and your socks are gorgeous!

  2. KathyB. says:

    Me again, I hope you don’t mind but I added you to my blog list. and I forgot to mention, I LOVE the socks!

  3. KathyB. says:

    Your days sound like my days. Sorting, skirting , washing, dyeing, spinning, and weaving wool! And I love the privilege of being able to do it.How can I put a price on all the hours of work involved? I too, have pondered the question of monetary reward for all the ‘work’ involved. But truth be told, I do this for the love of my sheep and the fiber they produce. Each fleece from the sheep of my flock of Jacobs is unique,as is the individual sheep. ( what I especially love about Jacobs) how do I put a price on creating yarn or weavings that start with a lamb from a lamb, from a lamb I have raised and loved?

    But I DO need to put a price on them because I have been using the money I earn from the sale of my products to feed and keep my flock. Kind of a circular thing…I make and sell creations from their wool to feed them so I can make and sell….I suspect many, many other sheep keepers do the same. No way am I getting rich or making enough of a profit to merit keeping these sheep for that reason. Ahhh, there is something to be said for actually LOVING what you are doing, but any suggestions to help in the profit area are always welcome! Great post!

  4. Patrice says:

    Excellent piece – and the socks are great too!

  5. OH… I looked at your link to Sheep Shed Studio and what a nice place to buy from. They sure have some good deals right now on grab bags for felting etc.
    I agree with you on pricing. When I buy an item I want to pay for what it’s worth not how long was spent on making it. I will always pay a little more for those very special items that grab me and I can’t live without.

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