Friday, February 03, 2006

Musings on the cable clutch

Although I haven't posted much about it, I have been knitting recently. I didn't get much time to work on anything last semester (Sept - Dec) except here and there. Over Christmas, one of my husband's cousins was raving about these lovely little hand-knit clutches that are apparently quite the rage in some fashion circles. Well, raving might be too strong a word... cousin is in her late teens and generally doesn't "rave" about anything at family gatherings lest she appear less-than-dignified. But she really likes them, nonetheless. After admiring the website for a bit, I decided to have a go at a knock-off an approximation.

I also went back through the archives of a couple knitting and craft boards to see what others had come up with. I think mine is turning out better than some of the other knock-offs, but we'll see. I noticed occasional indignation from some knitters: "US $150 for THAT? But it's just a simple cable pattern, sew up the sides and add a bow!" When cousin's mother asked me if I thought the designer clutches on the website were worth the price they were asking for them, I did some quick math and said, "Yes, if they're really hand-made and you account for the inflation of selling in New York City." I spent CND $25 on two balls of mid-range-price superwash wool and about 5 hours of knitting. At $20 an hour for my time (which is reasonable for quality handmade work) that's minimum CDN $125 right there. And I haven't bought lining fabric, ribbon, a magnetic fastener, the handles or sewn up the sides and finished it yet. I'm sure the designer can have them made faster and gets wholesale pricing on materials, but still. I don't begrudge them one bit for making money on what appears to have become a lovely niche product for the fashionable.

Our cousin, of course, is not going to spend US $150 on a designer clutch, so I will make one for her and probably one for myself. Beyond that, though, I won't be taking orders. If you've been knitting for any length of time and done even simple cables, you can figure out the pattern for yourself. Here endeth the math lesson, and why I don't attempt to put a price on my handknitting.

I repeat my mantra: pictures eventually. Really.

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