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Earn from Making and Selling
What’s involved in knitting as a business?
What’s involved in knitting as a business?

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.

Knitting is generally either treated as a new fad or...
Putting a price on your pieces
Putting a price on your pieces

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?

 

It’s a good idea to try and cut the cost...
Selling your creations
Selling your creations

In person

Try out a stall at a car boot sale first – it will only cost you between £5 and £15 to set up there. Find your nearest car boot sale on Carbootjunction or Your Booty.

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.

If you can produce enough pieces you could even set up at a few craft shows. Living Heritage Events has an annual list of craft shows on its website, and Craft4Crafters also lists upcoming events.

Craft in Focus aims to elevate the status of craft shows and Woodland Crafts is the top market organiser in the field.

 

Online

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. .

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%.

Don’t forget the other online auction sites as well, like CQout, eBid, Preloved and Auctionair.

Loveknitting.com has also launched a site (designers.loveknitting.com) which allows you to showcase and sell your knitting designs really easily.

 

 

In person Try out a stall at a car boot...