Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas knitting goes commercial

Today, as I perused Facebook, these beautiful stockings danced off the screen. I thought Knitting Daily had posted another set of free patterns, but no. These beauties are now on sale at the Sundance Catalog.

Given that these stockings are being sold retail, wouldn't you figure they were assembled by a fancy automated factory in China? Wrong. As the Tassled Flamestitch Scarf description says:
Add to your collection with a new design in our keepsake stockings, sure to become family heirlooms.  A women’s collective in Bosnia creates these wonderful woolens, hand knit in flamestitch patterns, each signed by the woman who made it. Exclusive. Sizes may vary slightly, as each is individually knitted. Approx. 7"W x 21-1/2"L. Each stocking sells for $65. 
What a steal! How much are these Bosnian artisans making on every stocking? Two bucks? Three? The real answer would be: not nearly enough.

The Sundance Catalog sells other handknits, such as this $68 sock monkey, handmade in Nepal. 

Or these cute wool bottle sweaters, stitched by those hard-working Bosnian knitters, which sell for $35 each.

The very best handknitted item is an ethnic tree skirt, again handknitted by the Bosnians, which sells for a whopping $595.

At this price, I'd definitely make my own, but I'd knit all of these items before buying them, mostly because I can. For those who will never learn to knit, these make perfect gifts. But as Sundance has proved, there's no money in knitting. In my world, knitted gifts are always acts of love, never economics. 


  1. Yeah, I love the 2 pairs of handknit wool colorwork socks for $48. If I priced out what hourly wage it would be for me to knit those same socks,afer accounting for the yarn, I imagine it would not be anywhere near minimum wage.

    I feel like the same problem exists on sites like etsy, where theoretically people are selling their own wares, but they price their items to compete with mass produced stuff. I just took a peek over there and someone is selling a Wingspan scarf, in a wool/silk blend for $30. I made one this summer with $20 worth of yarn and a whole month of car knitting. I gave it away to try to soothe a grieving friend, so in my mind mine was priceless.

    I look at my knitting as therapy/entertainment. Because of this, I tend to look at my yarn cost differently than I would if I were pricing to sell. A $20 skein of sock yarn gives me hours of knitting entertainment. The fact I get some kickass socks to wear is a bonus.

  2. Oh, and the fact we can make sweaters that fit us -PRICELESS.

  3. Did you know that though there is a knitting machine out there for everything, so when you see these, the ladies making them were probably doing them with a machine. Or at least I hope so. But if you see a crocheted item, it was actually done by someone sitting somewhere in the world, with yarn and hook. No machine imitates crochet.

  4. That's why I don't sell on Etsy. In my mind, my knitting is worth a million dollars.

  5. Don't you think about this every time someone asks you to knit them a pair of socks (usually in jest) but wouldn't even want to pay the price for the wool. I hope those women are getting a reasonable wage. It is interesting to see that knitted items are gaining in popularity.