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You can make a living (almost) by knitting for money, particularly if you are quick and professional.
Even if you’re 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. Keep reading to see how other people have done it.
Knitting is generally either treated as a new fad or a 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 range from the big thick woollen garments worn during winter to the stylish thin acrylic scarves that are worn as fashion accessories.
With just a few rectangles stitched together and a button here and there, they’re very satisfying to make. Once you’ve mastered the scarf, you can move onto bags, cushion covers and blankets.
One of the first decisions 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 cloths 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 then just pop into any haberdashery and ask for advice.
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, but 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 for 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!
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 – most people will be flattered!)
Alternatively, if you prefer working from a book, why not save money with a visit to your local library? They often have loads of books on knitting patterns, how to get started and advice on stitches.
If that sounds like too much faff, eBay has plenty of cheap second-hand books for sale.
It’s a good idea to try and cut the cost of your materials as much as feasible, so any profit can go straight into your pocket. That said, it’s good to get a balance of cost and quality.
But 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:
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 knitting 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. 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?
Thanks to the internet there are a few ways you can easily sell your knitted creations.
Once you’re more established, you could consider going a little more upscale, with organisations like Country Markets. They specialise in sellers who produce home-made goods, so they’re an ideal place to start selling your knitted creations.
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.
If you can produce enough pieces you could even set up at a few craft shows. Living Heritage Country Shows has an annual list of craft shows on its website, and Craft4Crafters also lists upcoming events if you happen to be based around the South West.
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. Setup is free and you’re able to personalise and customise your store, too! The best part is that their commission fee is only 5% – a lot lower than eBay’s 9%.
Lovecrafts is a specialised site allowing you to showcase and sell your knitting designs really easily.
You may find the sites with higher fees are worth it if you seem to be getting more sales there. The best method is to try several different outlets and see where you find the most success!
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/colleague 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.
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 market them on your website or blog.
Alternatively, if you enjoy writing then why not create your own knitting book and self-publish it 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.
If you don’t need the cash but you love knitting, the organisation Knit for Peace would be very interested in taking your creations off your hands.
They say “the main barrier to continue knitting is what to do with the output – a keen knitter can produce 15 baby hats in an afternoon! Knit for Peace (an initiative of The Charities Advisory Trust) provides an outlet for 20,000 knitters in the UK, distributing donated knitting – blankets, clothes, twiddlemuffs – to those in need – refugees from Syria and Iraq in Kurdistan, street children in India, homeless projects and hospitals in the UK; in fact to over 300 organisations.”
In fact, Knit for Peace says that even if you don’t sell your creations, knitting is still a great benefit to the creator.
They recently published a report on The Health Benefits of Knitting, backed by a survey of over a thousand knitters, which provides evidence based research showing that knitting:
The report shows that for the over 60s, knitting makes them feel more resilient and improves mental health.
Knitting for others makes them feel part of the community, still of use and less socially isolated. This means fewer visits to the doctor!
So, whether you love the idea of making money from your knitted creations or simply want a fun de-stressing hobby, there are so many reasons to start knitting today.
We love this daft little vid called ‘The Last Knit’ – check it out!