Monday, October 27, 2008

Local Church Craft Sale

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During the past week I had seen signs around the neighborhood advertising a church craft sale. I hadn't been to a craft sale in years and thought since it's nearby why not go. So Saturday morning I walked over to see and came away rather disappointed to be honest.

To me craft sale means things that are handmade. Of the 30 or so tables displaying their wears, perhaps a dozen of them had handmade items ie: knitting, crochet, jewelry, clothing. The rest of the tables were dollar store type items or catalogue items.

The knitted / crocheted items were basic. A couple of tables offered 5"X5" washcloths knitted out of polyester yarn which felt rough to the touch for 1$ each or 3 for 2$. Other tables had short & skinny scarves knitted from dollar store eyelash yarn for 10$ each. A couple of one foot wide stoles done in some really ugly looking yarn for 15$ each.

Some tables had knitted or crocheted baby items, newborn hat and buttoned cardigan style jackets were going for 15$ each. At least they were nicely knitted using soft baby yarns in pink, green, blue and yellow. Considering the amount of time dedicated to knitting these items and the yarn used, I was surprised they were only 15$ a set.

Another table offered knitted baby blankets done in a basketweave stitch for 10$ or 2 for 15$ The blankets were 2 feet by 3 feet each and were done in a fingering yarn. Again, the price boggled me since there was obviously a lot of time dedicated to making each of those blankets.

Now my rant is: Has knitting fallen out of favor? Why would someone who has spent hours...days... weeks making something sell it for so little money? I know that some people who do not knit, do not know anyone who knits have the idea that knitted / crocheted items are cheap last minute gifts. They lack the appreciation that should be given to items that have so much sweat equity poured into them, nevermind the cost of the yarn used.

This bothers me a great deal. Do we let non-knitters / crocheters dictate what price we should put on our work? Knitting, crocheting, any work done with fibers should not be devalued to the point where people consider knitted / crocheted items cheap. I find this insulting and demeaning. We are proud knitters, crocheters, fiber artists, so why continue to encourage the wrong type of customer by under pricing our items?

When I look at fiber artists and designers' websites showing the new trends for the next season, I don't see cheap garments or accessories. I wonder how they would feel if someone cheaply reproduced one of their items and sold it for 5$ at a local craft sale.

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