Friday, January 13, 2012

Can You Read Me Now?

I have never stopped to count how many crochet patterns exist in the world, but my overall feeling is, there can never be enough.  I've come to this conclusion recently when I was shopping with my daughter and she found a crocheted poncho that she absolutely loved. Retail: $29.95

I looked the poncho over, and although the price of $29.95 was certainly affordable, I didn't want to buy it because I felt it was UNDERVALUED.  Why, I can't even buy the yarn to hand-crochet my own for $29 -- and here they were selling HAND work for less than the cost of the yarn.   I wanted to buy it for her, but I didn't want to -- I was very confllicted in making this decision.  We left the store; I didn't buy it.  If it had been a knitted poncho, I wouldn't have thought twice about it as the majority of knit products sold in retail stores are machine made; $29 for a machine made poncho would not have given me grief in my decision making.

Reading finished crochet work is
like reading International Crochet Symbols:
All it takes is a bit of practice.
As weeks quickly rolled by, I consulted EVERY stitch dictionary I could get my hands on, looking for the granny square motif that was featured in the poncho my daughter wanted.  I thought, "I can crochet one myself -- and give it to her for Christmas."  Christmas came & went.  I thought, "I can crochet one myself -- and give it to her for her birthday."  Yeah, that was a wash too.  And I never found the motif in any of my crochet references.

Last weekend my CGOA Chapter had a "Crochet in Public" meeting at the Danbury Fair Mall.  After the meeting my daughter and I revisited the store that had the poncho she wanted.  The poncho was now on clearance for $17; even more UNDERVALUED.  Sigh. She begged.  She pleaded.  I caved.  For the record: I am still torn; this poncho should have sold for much, much more -- I KNOW it took several human hours to create as it was hand-crocheted!

On the bright side, she is happy -- she got the poncho she fell in love with nearly six weeks ago.  And, setting the undervalue issue aside, I can be a bit happy too because I now have a new stitch motif to add to my crochet references -- I've actually started creating a simple scarf/wrap for myself!

SIDE NOTE: I think it is important to state I do not plan on recreating the poncho - there'd be copyright infringement issues if I did - but rather I do like the motif - very much so!

RECOMMENDATION: I think it is important for all crocheters to know how to read stitch work.  Knowing so will help with counting stitches, in ensuring stitch placement is correct, for locating errors, and for being inspired to create something wonderful.  The reading of actual crochet stitches is the "old school" style of crochet patterning dating back to the earky 1800s before printed patterns arrived on the scene.  Visit the threadwinder here to see some great examples of "crochet sampler" pages.

Practice. And the next time you see crochet work at a retail store, maybe you'll hear it whispering to you, "Can you read me now?"


byhooks4u said...

I understand about the turmoil within with the undervalued handcrochet ponch. There are so many wonderful crocheters out there that devalue their time when they are on etsy, ebay or whatever. I will not buy a product from a shop that the person doesn't value their time or their craft. My belief is if you are good at what you do, use good quality products to make your craft, do not sell yourself short. Oh my didn't mean to go on a rant..sorry..have a great day.

Anonymous said...

There would be copyright issues only if you tried to sell it, no? It is a very pretty motif. Does the poncho label tell who made it and where?

DaCraftyLady said...

Oh I so agree I have had to lower my prices just to compete as my items stay on there and no one will bid. It is not only the hand made world but also on EBay where I used to make a semi good part time job. That was before the world thought there should be FREE s&h and the cost that comes with listing and selling items. IT is a shame that the hand made world has declined so I hope that 2012 gets better. I didn't even do the craft show last year because of this reason.. Try not to fret too much it...I agree no copyright issues unless you sell the pattern...

gragar860 said...

I thought you had found the "motif" in the "150 K&C" book.. I would have guessed you were going to cave!!! said...

There was one motif in the 150 K&C book that was close, but not quite it.

The poncho in this discussion was made in either China or in the Netherlands (or the yarn was from one country & hand-crocheted in the other; the label's print is extremely tiny & difficult to read.)

The poncho is made of acrylic; the store that sold it is "Forever 21"

AudreyO said...

It's tough to put a price on something handmade. In addition to the cost of the materials, there is also the cost of your time.