For other reasons, this probably would have been a very welcome action but his enthusiasm for my possible money-making threw me into more than a little of a panic: What on earth was I going to knit? Something small, that didn't take too long to complete and that I could sell for lots of money. And three of them, obviously. Just pass me the golden yarn and I'll get started then.
I think that most knitters will agree that the above wish list is just that, a fantasy. Knitting is not a fast craft (and you crocheters keep quiet, please!). Even small things take a surprisingly long time to knit. And when selling them, I don't believe potential customers are anywhere near ready to pay even a half reasonable rate for the time taken to produce said knitted item. So what was this golden nugget going to be?
Husband suggested a corsage. I thought that this was rather predicable and boring, and rejected the idea (although – and don't tell him just yet – the idea of making a couple is starting to appeal). I quickly scoured my books (see, I always knew they'd come in useful) for ideas, but unfortunately, I'd neglected to purchase "How to Get Rich Fast in Knitting" – but who knows? Maybe after this latest adventure, I'll be writing my own.
Having no idea of the market (literally – I've never been to this craft market) or a full itinerary of the items on the stall I'd be sharing, we (oh yes, I'm sooo sharing the responsibility of this venture) decided that I should start with some smart phone covers. Knitted in the round and with a bit of Kitchener at the base, these should knit up in next to no time. Well, if you call between 90 and 120 minutes "no time", then yes, yes they do.
I presented completed cover number one to Husband who, while generally positive, suggested a few adjustments – which have been included in subsequent designs. As I said, this is a joint venture. Then arose the tricky subject of pricing. It being my knitting, and a project that I just knitted off the cuff (= trivial / easy / simple / absolutely nothing special), I was at a loss to think that anyone would pay anything much for it at all. Husband pointed out that even for mass produced covers, you could easily pay between £5 and £10 – and this was without the beautiful yarn, the hand knitting and the almost seamless end result. In projects such as these, it isn't the raw materials that cost the most it's the (wo)man power and even if you take an optimistic estimation at the national minimum wage, is anyone seriously going to pay £9.29 for a woolly phone cover?
Somewhat sceptical of this venture, I nevertheless decided to continue knitting. After all, I had promised D, who had sensibly made her contribution on a sewing machine, that I would indeed be providing three of something knitted. Husband thoughtfully took the boys out to play so that I'd have just enough time while dinner cooked to have a good stab at cover number two.
Cover number two, I decided, would be nice is a different colour way. In order to do this, I needed to wind the skein into a ball. In our house where we don't have those whirly-twirly winder attachments, this is a two man job. My men were outside having fun so rather than wait for help, I decided that the quickest thing to do would be to wind it myself. Idiot, that I am.
In the hour it took for dinner to cook, I successfully wound a single and very small ball of wool. In the magic that is winding a skein solo, very, very quickly the yarn became a complete mess, a series of tangled knots. There was nothing to do except sit on the floor, find the other end of the yarn, take a very deep breath, not reflect on the stupidity of the situation, and start winding. Looking up, I caught sight of the jumper that I'm knitting for Oldest Son and even in its incomplete state on the needles, it mocked me. For if I wasn’t going to be making phone covers, this time could have been used to continue knitting its back. I begged it to stop and, praying that Husband wouldn't return before the winding was complete, I continued. Obviously we'll be pricing this cover at a mere £15 – and whilst it doesn't include any blood or sweat, there might be a few tears.
Trying to remain positive, I am still knitting – I try, after all, to be a woman of my word. But I have no confidence that even if I can price them, the covers will sell. I imagine a series of expert knitters perusing my handy work, pointing out all the defects and carelessly dropping them back onto the table. I can hear the embarrassment in my friend's voice as she rings to tell me that nothing of mine sold but the whole of the rest of the table was cleared. I can feel my anxiety levels rising and, not for the first time, wish that I'd just knitted myself a patch for my jeans and been done with it.
I'm only a quarter of a way through cover number three so I'd best get back to the needles. Then there's some packaging to consider. And maybe the corsages. To say nothing of the "real" knitting that I'm supposed to be / would like to be doing. Thankfully I only have until this "Woolly Wednesday" to complete my work as I'm meeting D to relinquish my contribution – any longer and I suspect that I'd go properly insane. So watch this space. This time next week I may be addicted to craft stalls – or wrapping up my current efforts Christmas presents for my nearest and dearest.