In Praise of : $1000 Socks

Conversation with My Hair Stylist

Me: I'm knitting my brother a pair of socks for Christmas. I think I will put a price tag on them:

  • Cost of beautifully dyed wool : $40
  • Hours spent knitting beautiful wool : 20 {at least}
  • Approximate cost per hour of my skill level: $25-ish

Wholesale cost of socks : $540
Retail price of socks: $1180

The tag would go on to read:

"These are expensive socks. If you don't have the decency to hand wash them and I hear that they were shrunk in the dryer, I may never speak to you again.
Love, Your Big Sister."

The beginnings of said socks.

The beginnings of said socks.

We went on to laugh about how lots of people don't fully realize the time and effort and energy that goes into a handmade item. And the fact that there is no way to make truly "affordable" homemade gifts. As women who have both been in business for ourselves we then concluded that knitting was not the business to be in.

Me: Which is why I think I want to get more into knitting. Because it's not a business model. It's not something to be monetized. It's not a thing that one makes a small business plan like every other creative thing I've tried to do since I was a kid trying to sell friendship bracelets on the playground.

Her: {Sarcastically kind} That's a novel thought- not doing something for the money but for the sheer enjoyment.

That conversation happened earlier this month. It's been brewing around my brain for a while but it took a bad joke about thousand dollar socks to really solidify it. 

The thing is, when I again became a full time stay at home mom earlier in the fall, I was on the precipice of some major creative burnout. The tea towels were selling really well and I had a customer base that was really excited about it and ideas about how to really work with the seasons and wholesale potential. All good creative juice things.

But I wasn't enjoying it.

The numbers weren't adding up (my profit margin wasn't too good) so I was spending lots of admin, marketing, production time and had hardly any creative time. While I loved going to my local farmer's market once a month, I knew that my family situation (busy executive husband, cute but energetic toddler) wasn't at a place where I needed to be on the full time craft fair circuit. 

So when the Universe forced me to put down the paint brushes to take care of my son, I did so willingly. There was no kicking and screaming and resisting. There was a transition period where my introvert-ness had to become more used to constant toddler chatter but that was it. Once we both adjusted to out new schedules life went, and currently is, going just fine.

And I am knitting. I described it to my brother {same as above} as the perfect toddler mom activity. I knit while he plays or naps or chases the dogs or eats whatever cereal he's obsessed with today. I knit before his gym class starts and I knit in the ten minutes before I pick him up from his twice a week morning pre-k program.

This knitting is "doing" and "making" in a similar vein that painting was to me. It's fills the place in my heart {soul? brain? hands?} that knows that I'm a maker and a learner. I am the person that loves a creative challenge and both painting and knitting do that for me. Both require me to stop and think through various sets of steps at times, while other times, repetition or muscle memory or the muse is able to go on autopilot and I'm able to soak in an audio book.

But where painting was sedentary knitting is mobile. Where painting required drafting, knitting asks that I follow someone else's pattern. 

Right now knitting {doing it, getting better at it, pushing myself to learn more about it} is where my creative brain is. Right now, making for the sheer enjoyment of making is where I'm at. 

And that is a wonderful place to be.