Handmade Monday 122 – Teatime?

I’ve been a bit lacking in the blog dept in the last week or so as I’ve been busy making, as well as having a bit of a dip with my medical issues, caused by this lovely muggy weather and dealing with my daughter who’s had a few scary moments of her own…

So its nice to be back on the blog again and really good to be joining in with Handmade Monday – I miss it when I get too busy 😦 Its a lovely treat to have the time to peruse other people’s beautiful makes too, so remember to pop across and join in or take some time out for a read!

I’ve been asked to make some vintage teacosies for a local tearoom to display and hopefully take orders for me. So I’ve had to get to grips with a new way of knitting so that I can make them grow at a reasonable speed. I started the first one using a vintage pattern I found in a charity shop but didn’t like the look as the gathers were really thick so using pinterest plus more magazines and old patterns  in a  similar style and experimenting I achieved a happy medium…


These cosies require a fair level of skill at fairisle knitting, ideally the ability to  colour knit 2 handed – that is with one colour in each hand and are fairly time consuming to make. However I’m a realist and know I won’t get compensated for my time and skills but I do expect to cover my materials and make a little on top to cover travel etc. Hence I priced the cosy at £12 which was materials plus £3.

However I was then asked if I could do them cheaper as the people in local area won’t pay that much for handmade.The customers in the cafe all loved it and backed the cafe owner up and gave me a price range of £7 – 12 ( for a 4 person pot)

The only way I can see I can cut costs is to sell my higher quality materials items online, at fairs and markets and produce an acrylic version of the cosy for local outlets wanting things their customers will pay for. But this won’t look as nice or be as good at insulating the teapot as the pure wool version, but I suppose you get what you pay for? Its also harder to get acrylic yarns that have the muted effect colourwise that pure wool yarns give. Perhaps I’m turning into a yarn snob????

But good old Robin Yarns have come to the rescue following a browse around the local yarn suppliers and I’ve found a lovely soft pistachio colour that I think will work!

Lessons I’ve Learned:

Lesson 1 – do your market research, where are you selling and who will you be selling them to? Is this something people want?

Lesson 2 – explore options, is there a market place for selling your items created from better quality materials

Lesson 3 – make sure you are comfortable with compromising  to meet customer needs, if not, you may need to find a new outlet


10 thoughts on “Handmade Monday 122 – Teatime?

  1. I find it quite sad that handmade items are beaten down in price but I guess that’s the cost of competing with factory-made goods. I hope you find a wonderful outlet somewhere that will pay you a good price, even if it’s probably still not quite enough. Lovely tea cosy, btw.

  2. Nothing wrong with a bit of yarn or fabric snobbery! Lovely tea cosy, I’m sure you’ll find a price that makes it as popular as it deserves to be x

  3. Gorgeous tea cosy. My take on the pricing is this: if you are barely covering the cost of the materials (and I understand you are buying the yarn at a retail price?), then it isn’t worth your while to make and sell them – at that particular tea shop, at least! If they want to pay less for a tea cosy, they can easily pick up something made in the sweat shops of Bangladesh. Your Lesson #3 is right on the nail! You make what you make, and it is what it is – a very stunning and extremely well made item, that took you x amount of time to make. It is worth what it is worth, and that’s it. Do not be tempted to undervalue or discount what you make because some people say it’s too much to spend. There will ALWAYS be people who will say it’s too much!! Your alternative is to make a simpler design with less expensive materials, so it all depends on your market 🙂

  4. It looks a lovely cosy, and too me is far too cheap!

    I get frustrated at the fact people think they should pay less for locally handmade than the imported (probably also handmade) items that are made by exploited workers! (sorry rant over)
    You are quite right with #3. There will be people out there who would happily pay much more, and even some who would not buy at such a low price as to them this means low quality. Finding the right outlet is the key, and accepting that we can’t be all things to all people and daring to say no when the price offered is not enough (wish I listened to myself sometimes!)

  5. I think £12 is reasonable if your buying your yarn at retail, as I knit vintage tea cosies too so I know the work that goes into them.

    I trawl charity shops it’s amazing the quality of yarn you can get, I also buy up all the hand knit jumpers and unpick them to keep costs down. It all takes time but I find it works very well.

  6. It’s a shame people there weren’t prepared to pay the cost of your cosies – and I think the one in the photo was fabulous. You are right to stick to your guns and sell where people are prepared to pay your very reasonable costs.

  7. The tea cosy is sweet. It really annoys me when people say they won’t pay for handmade. Why not!!!!

    A lot more care and attention goes into handmade items than cheap shop bought things made in sweat shops. Don’t drop your price or standards just to please them as they are not your target customer xx

  8. The tea cozy is lovely. I would like tobe a yarn snob, but can’t afford it with my medical bills. So, to each his own.

    i hope things are better for you and you daughter this week.

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