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Knitting: Earn from Making, Teaching and Selling
You can make money knitting, particularly if you are quick and professional. Even if you are an amateur you can learn the basics in about ten minutes (or five if you get help from Aneeta Patel), learn how to cast on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and how to cast off. With these basic skills you’ll be able to start knitting loads of things, and then you can sell them for a profit. See how some people have done it.
- What’s involved in knitting for money?
- How do you start knitting from home?
- What to knit
- Knit to sell
- Putting a price on your pieces
- Where you can sell your work
- Offer knitting help
- Sell knitting books
- Knitting social network
Knitting is generally either treated as a new fad or the lost art – but in fact, lots of people know how to knit. What they don’t know is how to make a profit from it.
There are a range of easy items you can produce through knitting. The easiest, and the one that most people begin with when they first start to knit, is the scarf. They can range from the big thick woollen garments worn during winter to the stylish thin acrylic scarves that are worn as fashion accessories.
Once you’ve mastered the scarf, you can move onto bags, cushion covers and blankets, with just a few rectangles stitched together and a button here and there, they’re very satisfying to make.
One of the best parts is choosing which wool to use, which more often than not is dictated by the size of your needles. Thick wool and thick needles will produce a chunky knit, whereas if you use thin wool and thick needles you can get a really loose ‘holey’ effect. Combining thin needles and thin wool will create a much tighter effect, perfect for dish clothes and tea cosies.
If you’re not sure which size needles to go for usually your pattern will tell you, and if it doesn’t pop into any haberdashery and ask.
We’re not going to teach you how to knit, because there are lots of fab sites out there that can make a much better job of it than us, it really is a great hobby – you can do it on your own or with a friend, learn from someone or take a class. Check out YouTube which has loads of easy-to-follow How To Knit videos.
Here, we’re going to show you some of the different ways that you can make money from your knitting skills!
What can you make?
If you want to get your hands on different knitting patterns, you can find them for free all over the internet (just drop the owner a line to ensure that they don’t mind you profiting from their pattern).
Alternatively, you can visit your local library to find loads of books on knitting patterns, how to get started and advice on stitches.
It’s a good idea to try and cut the cost of your materials as much as possible, so any profit can go straight into your pocket.
Even if you’re just a beginner, you don’t have to spend a fortune on the tools and materials you’ll need. There are loads of ways you can cut your costs:
- Many knitting magazines offer freebies and you can often increase your stash of needles, markers and other bits – as well as getting a magazine full of helpful hints and tips.
- Rather than buying wool full price, get it for less from charity shops like Age Concern and Oxfam. Don’t get the cheap acrylic stuff, but if they’re selling wholesale bundles of nice wool, go for that.
- The other thing these shops are good for is knitted garments. Buy a few second-hand jumpers, take them home and unwind them. As you do this, wind up the wool into a shank, which is a figure eight around your child’s/spouse’s hands or two chair legs. Voila! You’ll have a huge ball of wool that cost you what retailers charge for one small ball.
- When you’re starting out, John Lewis has a good retail selection of wool and other bits. And never hesitate to look around when you’re travelling – there are some lovely small craft shops hidden in pokey towns where you can root out the most amazing finds.
First of all, decide what hourly rate you believe your time is worth to produce your items. Then think about how many items you can make in a week and how long this will take you.
For example, four hours in front of the TV, seven days a week is 28 hours. At an hourly rate of £10, your weekly cost of production is £280.
Then look at your material costs – how much it would cost to make one item, and how many you could make in a week. Remember that investing in good needles should be a one off payment so take good care of them, and if you’ve followed the suggestions above, the cost of your wool should not be very high at all.
For example, if you can knit five scarfs in a week – out of three £5 jumpers worth of wool – that would be a material cost of £3 each. Once you increase production to ten jumpers a week, your total material cost would be £30 a week.
Add this number to your production costs (a total of £310) and then divide this number by how many items you can make in a week. For example, if you can make ten jumpers, then your total production cost per jumper would be £31.
Compare this price to that charged in craft markets for similar goods. If you’re charging much less than others, you could consider increasing your price.
However, if you’re charging over the odds, think again – perhaps you could increase the amount of time you spend making your crafts, or find other ways to cut the cost of materials?
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Once you’re more established, you could consider going a little more upmarket, with Country Markets that are run by the Women’s Institute. They’ll let you sell your goods (for just 5p to join) and they’ll take around 10% commission on sales to cover the costs of the market.
You’ll probably know the good markets in your area, but if you don’t, the National Market Traders Federation website has a very comprehensive list.
Craft in Focus aims to elevate the status of craft shows and Woodland Crafts is the top market organiser in the field.
Don’t overlook the joy of internet selling. If you get some good items together and put clear pictures online, people will be keen to buy from you.
Choose places like eBay to market and sell your items, and once you get into the swing of things you could even start up your own eBay marketplace. We’ve got the how-to guide on eBay selling here.
You could also set yourself up with your own Etsy store. Setting it up is free and you are able to personalise and customise your store, too! The best part is that their commission fee is only 3.5% – a lot lower than eBay’s 9%.
Knitting is a great skill to have, and many people are envious of those who can sit click-clacking away and produce a beautiful creation.
So, rather than knitting your friend/relative/boss a jumper that will take you forever, why not offer to teach them how to knit so they can do it themselves?
You’ll need to have a certain level of understanding when you’re teaching others to knit. For example, if they make a mistake you need to know how to pick up where they went wrong, sort the problem out and guide them in the right direction.
You can offer to teach people on a one-to-one basis or in a class, at your house or somewhere nice like a cafe or bookshop. Read here about London knitter and teacher Aneeta Patel, who enjoys the enthusiasm that both new and experienced knitters bring to her classes.
Top tip: start your students on larger needles and brightly coloured wool, so they can easily see where each stitch goes.
Sell knitting books
If you have a website for your knitting business, for the items you sell or for the classes you give, you could also sell books of knitting patterns and ideas.
Find out where you can buy wholesale books on knitting, and then re-sell them at a marked-up price.
You could also put announcements in the newsletters or web pages of your local guild or knitting circle. Advertise in any online knitting groups you belong to, and make sure you have the web address of your new shop in your email signature.
You can take books along wherever you set up your stalls as well, at car boot sales or markets. And if you don’t fancy selling books, you could always write down any designs you create yourself and sell them on your website or blog.
Find these helpful books at your library, or get them cheap on Amazon:
Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner: Aneeta Patel’s book – a tried and tested guide for people at the very beginning of their knitting careers who are looking for guidance and patterns for projects that they can use to make that first all-important step to ‘Beyond the Scarf’.
The Basic Guide to Pricing Your Craftwork: Basic formulas for pricing craftwork, retail or wholesale.
Big Book of Knitting: A good illustrated knitting reference guide with basic techniques like increasing and decreasing and more advanced techniques like knitting cables without a cable needle, working with charts, and placing sleeve increases in openwork patterns.
Crafting for Dollars: How to start and manage your own craft-based business.
The Knitter’s Companion: Best selling knitting reference guide that covers everything from the basic stitches to gauge, joins, seams, borders, buttonholes and more.
There’s a really good social network for knitters called Ravelry. It’s full of helpful advice, tools, patterns and, of course, other knitters who will give you help and ideas. If you’re serious about knitting and getting better at it, do join.
- Knitting SOS
- I Knit London
- Women’s Institute
- National Market Traders Federation
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