I used to get asked this all the time: “If I buy the yarn for you, will you knit (or crochet) this blanket for me?” or scarf, shawl, sweater, hat, whatever, you name it.
When I was in my teens and twenties I took a lot of these requests. I did gain some experience because I was working up different patterns than I would have chosen for myself most of the time. So it gave me opportunities to learn new techniques or stitches.
The downside was that it took a lot of time and that meant sacrificing spending time doing other things. Often I was working with colors or fibers or patterns that I really didn’t enjoy so the whole process was kind of miserable although it was gratifying to see the person who’d made the request be happy with the finished item.
So after after, oh, about a decade or so, I started responding to these requests by quoting a fair hourly fee for for my time based on my skill & experience level. I discovered really quickly that people in my little community weren’t willing to pay this. Some actually got angry about it. Some did ask me where they could learn to knit or crochet the things themselves and I gave them the resources/teachers I knew about.
There are many makers who will take these requests for whatever reasons, maybe they just really enjoy it or maybe the gratification of making someone happy is all they feel they need in return. And a lot of us do love to make gifts for those in our lives who we know will really love and appreciate them.
But many just don’t take these requests and from what I’ve learned from chatting with other knitters and crocheters is that it’s usually for similar reasons to mine - it’s just usually not worth the time and energy it takes..
There’s this expectation that those who have art or craft skills shouldn’t need/want anything in return for sharing them with others. Like they’re not real skills that deserve compensation. It’s the way we devalue art and craft in our culture at large - it’s not a real career or a real job, etc. Most people don’t consider the time, practice, money, energy, and everything else that went into developing these skills when they’re asking someone to knit up a shawl for them just for the price of buying the yarn. Even though they will definitely consider all those things when encouraged to learn the skills themselves.
I used to do craft shows for a while and it was interesting and funny to me that very often the same person commenting at my booth “Oh I could do that myself” would ask at some point later if I could make it for them if they bought the yarn. It’s a weird phenomenon.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear them, leave a comment!