On Focus

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

Having a sales platform changes how one looks at things. Patreon did that. I started second guessing myself… wondering if my blatherings were “on brand”, which was stupid, because the brand is me. So I didn’t rant about politics so much, which is self-defeating.

I wanted to, but felt that wasn’t the place, which means I felt guilty if I wrote about it elsewhere so I didn’t write anything, for anyplace; about which I also felt guilty. Vicious circle, all of my own making. So I will fight that here. If I get a bee in my bonnet I plan to write about it. I plan to publish it here, because I am what I am, and hiding that seems silly. I am more than just someone who makes yarn.

On the flip side, I am trying to sell yarn. Up to now it’s just been a thing. I show yarn to friends, or carry some about with me and talk to people who are doing yarn stuff and they squish it, and tell me they want it, or that they don’t, or apologise because they want it, but can’t afford it.* Having a place where all (soon, I promise) of my stuff is on display makes me aware of what I’ve not been spinning.

So yesterday I started to spin some yarn which is better for crochet§ because I have taxonomic listing, and nothing to put in it. I got 4 oz done, so I have two bobbins resting before plying. When folks went to bed I decided to stay up, watch my present soap opera (Peaky Blinders) and try to knock out some more. So I’ve added one more bobbin. I’ll make the time to flll a fourth, and then I’ll ply them up, set them, and list them. All a lot more speedily than I would have done it when it was just because I felt like it.

I have taken my interest (somewhere between a hobby, and an avocation) and turned it into something like a job. It’s not a bad thing; which is a whole ‘nother subject, about how we see/value work; and what “housework” means, and how that colors so much of how so many of us see ourselves.

I’ll take a stab at that some other time.

*I get that. I wish I could afford to sell it cheaper. I’ve settled on a rough price of $12 an ounce to make my life easier. I’d been pricing things at twice the cost of fiber. My fiber costs run from ~$3-15 per oz. that made my finished skeins wildly divergent, and some completely unaffordable. It also completely revalued my labor’s worth as dependent on what I was making; not a thing of value in itself.

So I spread the labor (which is, more or less constant. Some fibers are more finicky, and some yarns[e.g. finer, more plys] more labor intensive; but spending more time doing bookkeeping about my time seems pointlessly recursive) out, and averaged out the fiber costs. I put some premium on more labor intensive yarns (e.g. 3-ply, cable) and called it a day.

§ Knitting, nålbinding, crochet, etc. all twist the fiber. Depending on which way the yarns were spun it either adds or removes twist. Adding twist makes a slightly more tightly bound material, it also makes stitches a little more distinct. It happens the predominant knitting style, in the US, likes z/s yarns, and the predominant crochet style prefers s/z: which is why I annotate all my yarns with that info (what a ropemaker calls, “lay”).

  1. Joshua Kronengold

    Hmm. I get the unaffordability thing WRT more expensive yarns — one could argue that the “proper” price is an approximation of the yarn cost + your labor cost.

    Is there yarn where setting price at $12/oz loses you money (before factoring in labor?) Presumably it does if you do, but that might be worth it — for now. (that’s a good case for “premium” pricing on that yarn, though).

    A case (not necesarily a good one) for the 2xyarn price: It’s not really pricing up your labor. What it’s doing is factoring in the opportunity cost of holding onto the yarn, and treating your labor as incidental to your cost of being a skein distributor in the form of yarn.

    IOW, what charging most or all the price based on yarn x 2 does is compensate you for keeping a bunch of your capital in yarn until its sold. The biggest problem isn’t that it overprices the expensive yarns, since the captial cost is considerable there — is that it undervalues your labor for the cheap stuff.

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