Sunday, December 7, 2014

Knitting silliness, or: why I don't have an Etsy shop.

It's my birthday, so I'll talk about knitting if I want to.

Neither the Lady Morgana nor this shawl will be available on Etsy any time soon.
I was poking around a yarn shop the other day when I overheard a conversation that I could relate to. Another customer was chatting with one of the clerks about how, when she wears something she's knitted for herself, people will not only compliment her, but they often want to know whether she ever makes things for other people. You know, for money.

The same thing has happened to me. In fact, one of my friends has suggested more than once that I start an Etsy shop for my knitting.

To be clear: I don't have an Etsy shop, nor do I ever plan to start one. It's not because I have anything against Etsy; I don't. But in my case, I don't see the cons outweighing the pros.

The biggest issue is cost. You can buy inexpensive yarn at a craft store, but I learned pretty quickly that stuff you make with cheap yarn Nowadays, I buy yarn at local yarn shops, and at shows like Maryland Sheep and Wool. I don't typically go overboard and buy really expensive yarn (except for that qiviut blend I bought in Alaska -- but hey, I was in Alaska!), but even nice sock yarn can cost $20 per skein. And shawls, for example, take two skeins or more. For a women's sweater, you can easily drop more than $100 on a good wool yarn. And that's just the yarn -- it doesn't count needles or buttons or other supplies. Or my time. A sweater can take 40 hours or more to make. Let's say I'm charging $8/hour, which would be crazy cheap. But even at eight bucks an hour, that's $320. Would you pay $420 for a sweater? I didn't think so.

And knitting-to-order would suck all the fun out of it. Early in my knitting journey, I read a book about the women who knitted the first Fair Isle sweaters. They were turning out one of those beautiful sweaters a week. One a week! With fine yarn on skinny needles! That's a miserable production schedule. Just thinking about it makes my hands hurt.

Finally, I would lose control of the process. As it is now, I pick the patterns and the yarn colors that appeal to me. But if I took orders, other people would be picking that stuff. And in the past, whenever I have offered to make something for someone, they usually say they want it in black. Let me tell you something: I have knitted with black yarn. It's boring. It can also be frustrating -- the stitches are difficult to see if I'm knitting in low light. I swear that the next time someone asks me to knit something for them in black, I am going to drag that person into a yarn store and force them to pick a different color. It's not like they don't make yarn in every freaking color of the rainbow.

So yeah. No Etsy shop for me. I make more money writing novels than I ever would at knitting -- and the raw materials are significantly cheaper.

A couple of bits of business before I close for this week:
  • As alert hearth/myth readers know, Seasons of the Fool's release date is this coming Tuesday, December 9th. The offer I posted last week still stands: I'll send you a copy of the book now, plus gift you a Kindle copy of the book when it's released, plus send you a signed copy of the paperback, if you'll promise to post a review of it when you're done. I've had some people take me up on the offer already -- thank you! :) 
  • The street team is still in development. Holiday prep, family stuff, and my birthday all sucked up my time this week. Sorry. But the good news is that you still have time to let me know if you want to be in on the ground floor. I did come up with a name for it, though: Lynne's Woo-Woo Team. What do you think? I guess we'll need a secret handshake or a decoder ring or something. You guys work on that and get back to me.
  • Oh, right -- Winter Tales is out! It's an anthology brought to you by the Five59 Publishing, the same folks who do the 13 Bites books. This new collection contains stories centered around the winter holidays, and it includes two short stories by Yours Truly. Hope you like 'em.
These moments of entrepreneurial blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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