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A Knitting Dream

31 May 2010

All we knitters have at some time been told “You could sell that”.  The (non-knitting) friend generally has no idea how much we’d have to charge to recoup the cost of the materials and labour. not to mention adding a little just for profit.

Last week in the UK, the BBC aired a show called High Street Dreams and one of the entrepreneurs featured was a woman called Beryl Ware who wants to break into the big time with her knitted scarves.  You can see a short extract from the show here. 

The scarves are knitted with very thick yarn on very large needles and she sells them retail from her website for up to approx. AU$400.  Strangely,  they’re knitted with merino roving (ie unspun yarn) and I’ve no idea how that stands up to daily use.  One of the big UK High Street stores has placed an order and will sell them for about $300.

The show has raised interesting discussion around the Knitternet about knitting (and other crafts) as a business.  They do seem incredibly expensive for such little work but anything that raises the public’s perception of the value of handmade items is fine by me.  I nearly cried at the Easter Show this year to see what price some of the entrants had put on their labour – one beautiful fine lace scarf with a price tag of $50 for instance.  Who else in a first world country would work for $1 an hour?

I will be very interested to follow Beryl’s progress.

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4 comments

  1. This is really interesting Sally – about time that the craft was given a true dollar value
    I am currently negotiating for a large artwork in return for some knitting – these are fair swaps in my view.


  2. Yes, I was thinking along the same lines yesterday as I knitted my umpteenth pair of self-designed fingerless mitts. Two and a half hours a mitt equals five hours; at my current casual rate of pay for professional work – I could be asking similar prices to those she’s asking for her scarves! No way!

    I agree with Missfee – it sounds like a fair swap!


  3. Surprisingly, roving wears quite well. 4-5 years ago I knitted a huge throw in stst with long fringing on large needles for the kids – we all still use it when sitting on the lounge watching our favourite dvd. I’ve washed it by hand and spun it out in the machine (don’t think it would survive a machine wash, no matter how ‘delicate’ the cycle was) and it still looks good.

    One thing I do know is that the scarves would definitely be super-duper warm and as light as a feather, as the throw is unbelievable feathery and warm!


  4. I saw this programme when it was shown on TV and my first thought was that this is a totally seasonal product. If Beryl doesn’t think of something to put into the shops once winter’s over, I can’t see it making a full-time living for her.

    And will shoppers be looking for something different next winter?



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