Slow Fashion October- Week 1- Intentionality in Fashion and Life


Yesterday, I expressed how the philosophy of Slow Fashion factored into my closet. It meant higher quality clothes, more hand made, local, ethical…but what does Slow Fashion mean for my personal life? I certainly don’t spend all day standing in my closet (despite the temptation).

In life, I have to ask ‘why’ a lot. The question begins with acknowledging a desire, and I dig deeper to inquire “but why this desire?” It usually reflects heavily on who I think I am and who I want to be. When I ask myself “why” to Slow Fashion, the answer (and more intimate desire) is made clear. “I want to be a person who is responsible, considerate, self sufficient, and ethical. I want to carefully consider all things and take the appropriate actions”. This desire goes so far beyond my wardrobe!

In my day to day habits, I would like to be a more responsible, considerate, self sufficient, ethical person. When I clean, I would like to do so responsibly. When I cook dinner, I want to be considerate of those around me and my own health, when I complete tasks and manage my household, I want to be self sufficient. Most importantly, in all my dealings with people and the planet that contains us, I want to be ethical and genuine. This transformation, very sadly, does not happen overnight and is often easier pondered than applied. For me, slow fashion is practice for the ‘real thing’. Because what is fashion and creativeness other than a reflection of the interactions with our world and the sensibilities of it?

When I consider how my possessions are made, I become more aware of the lives around me. Do I want this item cranked out in a textile factory overseas, where the only goal is quantity over quality? Or do I want an item that is intimately made, in someone’s home or work space where it is given full attention to detail, and the entire process -from concept to sold product- is filled with joy? Numbers be damned! It’s about the love.

In the same way, I can’t help but care for the person/peoples making my items. They spent so much time and care crafting a very useful and utilitarian item for me (I mean, we are talking about clothes here) how could I not respect them? How could I not treat them well? Slow Fashion encourages me to see people, not just items around me. I see faces and names and long cultivated brands when I look at my “sustainably made, vegan, local” dresses and shoes.When I look at my handspun yarn, I see Kat, the 60-something-year-old spinner who has a passion for dyeing her hair green and sipping pumpkin soup during cold Farmers’ Market days. She shears her rabbits herself after working all week to clean strangers’ houses, and I always have an open invitation to visit the bunnies. I don’t want cheap, impersonal, meaningless relationships, in the same way I don’t want cheap, impersonal, meaningless yarn/shoes/sweater/jewelry/dresses/makeup….it’s all very relevant.



Therefore, Slow Fashion teaches me to work with intention in all things. Including my craft and day to day life. For the month of October, I’ve moved my office out of the corner of my bedroom and into our small apartment’s living room. All my tools, my referential materials, my yarn, my alpaca carpet, everything is taking up half the living room. I now have a studio that I walk into as soon as I get home instead of a chair in a dark corner by my bed(though I do love dark corners, really) My aim is to bring my love for my personal craft and my love for an entire community to the forefront of my mind and personal space. At the end of the month, my living room will be returned for its intended use, but for now, it will play host to:

My Special Projects

This month I hope to complete quite a bit of work. In an effort to take myself more seriously in my work not play lifestyle not hobby, I’ve lined up a lot of goals to devour in 31 days.

First on the list is my Cloud Escape sweater, which desperately needs to get done and on me. I believe it’s the longest sweater I’ve ever made? We’re coming up on 2,000 yards of fingering weight. Either way, I’ve worked on it for far too long, I need to finish it so I can focus on

Nuvem. A 2,000+ yard, lace weight, hexagonal shawl. Right now it’s a babe, but it’ll turn into a staple piece of my wardrobe when it’s all said and done.

I’m also working on my first two designs. I actually finished knitting my socks, but the pattern needs to be tech edited (any volunteers?) and nice photos must be taken. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this Shibui Pebble mohair, so against better judgment I sketched out a design for an infinity cowl and I’m well on my way to having it off the needle.

Finally, as I discussed in my last post, before I began my journey to Slow Fashion, I “purged” my closet, throwing away many items of clothing with hopes to donate them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, my church,  or I just threw them out into the dumpster. I was really proud of myself at the time, it felt so good to release old, frumpy clothes that I felt terrible in. Shame, shame on me.  Karen Templer of Fringe Association has some amazing articles about why NO ONE WANTS YOUR OLD CLOTHES. She makes it very clear that streamlining your wardrobe does not need to include a purge or adding to the dump waste that already exists. In fact, her sources show that “Only 0.1 percent of all clothing collected by charities and take-back programs is recycled into new textile fiber.” Even fewer donated clothes make it to the hands of those “in need”. Fast fashion has outpaced charities’ ability to sort and donate, as a result, its cheaper to burn the clothing. And by cheaper, I mean about 20.4million annually.

My point being, long before the local Goodwill or dump is an option, there are so many ways to successfully re-home or re-purpose every item of clothing. My final challenge, that will last the rest of my Slow Fashion journey, is to never throw away another article of clothing, or use a third party to  “donate” it. What I have is what I have, I will build on this foundation and repair, resew, cut, trim,dye, ruffle, add on, and cinch up as needed. But there will be more of that in Week 2 of Slow Fashion October when we discuss “Long-Worn”.

Until then, please continue the conversation over on Fringe Association’s comment section and #SlowFashionOctober’s Instagram








Slow Fashion October. A Celebration of Slow Fashion Week 1

Hello! I’m Morgan, the 20 something behind Daydream Knits. This month, I’m participating in Slow Fashion October hosted by The Fringe Association. This month will be a celebration of the spirit and mindfulness behind the resurgence of ‘slow fashion’. Each week has different themes and a series of daily questions. The Fringe Association will host both interviews and community discussions on every aspect of slow fashion. It will be an exceptional opportunity to meet new creators and read about how the movement towards sustainable clothing manufacturing aligns with modern fashion and creatives. This first day serves an introduction to me, personally, as a creator and as a maker in the slow fashion movement. 

I learned to knit about 7 years ago, but did not pick it up seriously until 4 years ago when I moved for college. There, I found a wonderful L.Y.S whose owner became a mentor in my fiber passions. I worked there for 3 years and was soon addicted to the idea of having my closet full of hand knits. During my college stay, I became very involved with the knitting community and other makers and artists throughout the area. I was soon a regular at my neighborhood farmers market, rubbing elbows with a vendor who taught me to spin yarn  in exchange for company, an alpaca and bison farmer, and a Nepalese seamstress.

The paradigm shift was jarring. I’d come from a world of quick, factory made clothing, moved to hand knitting, and now been invited to see how the suppliers of my craft lived. Spending three weeks knitting a sweater? Awesome. Spending two months spinning up yarn from your own fiber animals then knitting a sweater? Mind blowing.

To me, slow fashion is hand crafted and labour intensive. It involves many hours to finish projects and the materials are viewed by a fast-fashioned world to be exorbitantly priced. As I branched  into the world of fiber prep and animal husbandry, I discovered that the makers of supplies (the back bone to all fiber craft) had an even more intensive job. Here was where the decisions to be sustainable, vegan, ethical, or otherwise ‘slow’ were made. It was so easy for me to order international made yarn (which is beautiful) or even US made. However, after seeing the amount of care and effort people in my own community put forth to make quality materials, I became a dedicated ‘buy local’ advocate. Once I’d spun my own hank of yarn, I had a higher appreciation of where my store bought yarn came from. Once I learned how intensive animal husbandry was, the more I admired my Farmer’s Market vendors who raised and cared for animals year round, so every Saturday I could have my pick of quality (processed) fiber. The dedication astounded me and I further integrated myself into the slow craft world.

Last year, I was married and moved away from my college town. Though physically removed my community, I remain in touch and visit often. I still call the vendor who taught me to spin yarn and email the bison farmer. The alpaca farmer’s son (who travels the world sheering alpaca) was at my wedding. My stay in the slow fashion community has been one filled with love and close working relationships.It also prepared me to expand my ‘slow fashion’ craft to the rest of my life.

After moving, I also felt a need to purge my possessions via the Marie Kondo method. Sadly, in my overstuffed closet, I found many items of clothing that I’d never worn and were in poor condition. Those were thrown away. To my dismay, I also noticed many pieces that I loved, but had been taken care of so poorly (or made with low quality materials) that they were stained or ripped. I didn’t know what else to do except throw them all away. I have so much guilt over this! All the bags of clothing to the dump, never to be seen or loved again. I took a second look in my closet and realized that the few items that remained were of a starkly different quality than the piles of clothing I’d thrown away. The clothes I kept where special. Three sweaters I’d knit the year before, hand knit hats, “expensive” dresses I’d bought from a local dress shop.

Actually, nearly all the items that survived the move were items I’d purchased locally. They were durable and beautiful and I’d always taken special care with them. I found myself able to repair or re-wear anything that was damaged. Not only was slow fashion something I could apply to new clothes that I made, but also to old! This has motivated me so much to not only make my clothing with care and love, but also to buy my clothing with care and love. Local, hand made, personally loved, and then sold to a customer.


This is where my  desire to to rebuild my wardrobe sustainably, with hand knits and responsibly sourced clothing has come from. This is why Slow Fashion October is so exciting for me as I anticipate all the other makers and crafters sharing their stories. Please, go to Fringe Association to view the weekly themes. There will also be daily prompts to guide conversation as well as many other makers posting in the comment section and on Instagram. Join the conversation!


The Mountains Are Calling

The Mountains Are Calling

Picture heavy post! Knitting photos near the bottom!

Last week Jonathan and I went on our one year anniversary trip! We decided to take advantage of our anniversary’s proximity to Labor Day and delay our trip until September. Thursday night, after work, we jumped in the car and drove west as long as we could (three hours!) That made the remaining six hours to Boulder, Colorado much more enjoyable. We’d heard a lot of people mention how boring the drive from KC to Boulder was; I’m not sure what they were talking about though.



I find windmills facinating

We loved the entire drive! It was amazing to see all of the farm land, cattle, and windmills going on and on for miles. The most delightful part of the drive was undoubtedly the sunflowers. Kansas is the sunflower state, after all. We had to take advantage of the fields of flowers along the interstate.


Is it illegal to stop on the interstate like this? 


Of course, the interstate sunflowers had nothing on the flowers alongside the “Welcome to Colorado” sign. This was one of the most breathtaking views of our entire trip, and we’d only just arrived!


While we were driving, I pulled out my unfinished NaKniSweMo from last year. I figured that the mountains in fall would be a great opportunity to wear the sweater for the first time! I managed to finish steeking the sweater before hitting the road, and the entire drive up was spent weaving in ends, knitting on a border, and sewing on buttons. Phew.


On the second day of our trip, we decided to do a day hike up the FlatIrons to the Royal Arch. What was supposed to be a two hour morning hike turned into a four hour, five and a half mile, strenuous hike at extreme elevation (my sweet husband didn’t check the map). It was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done before, but Jon and I stuck it out together! We took hundreds of photos and drank two liters of water while going up, up, up. Near the end, I started to wonder if the view at the top could possibly be worth the pain, but we pushed on anyways!


So close to the top!


Top of the arch, I’m sitting inside of it. Yes, those are knitting needles in my hand. 

Sadly, by the time we made it to the top of the mountain, storm clouds were rolling in, we were starving, and the sun was setting. We had no time for photos so we rushed down (which was surprisingly more emotionally trying than going up) and finished off our night with a fancy dinner and lots of drinks.

The next day, we decided to drive back up the trail and do some laid back sightseeing. I was pretty exhausted, but the pictures were so so worth it. I present my Oranje sweater!


The Knitimg_2538

This was my first ever fair isle project. I go big, right? This yummy sweater is knit on a US6 with sport weight yarn. I used Debbie Bliss’ Fine Donegal which is technically a fingering weight yarn. However, the single ply wool is rather heavy and I managed to hit the same gauge on the sweater as if I’d used a true sport weight. img_2537

I’ll be upfront, this sweater has some of flaws to it. The armpits have little give to them, so when I lift my arms, the whole sweater comes with me. And seeing as this was my first time working fair isle, the yoke is a tad snug. I’m re-blocking the sweater and am going to re-seam the armpits again in hopes of having a bit more give. I think this will ultimately be a success. I have faith since the first time I blocked the sweater (before steeking which I highly recommend) it went from frumpy to fabulous. The collar could also probably stand to be blocked a little higher as well. img_2536


I really love the brown button border of this sweater, but honestly, it’s a little finicky. It takes a day and a half for me to button this up proper, and the mass of buttons leads to gapping (though this could possibly be remedied with blocking). The fair isle often doesn’t line up if my buttons are askew-as you can see in the photo above. A part of me wishes I’d been patient and waited to get home to put in a zipper, but I wanted this to be done so so badly! And I love the brown highlights too much to not have them.


Tucking my floats

Overall, I adore this sweater. The flaws in it are small fish compared to the amount of effort and time I put into this. I learned a lot while knitting this, like how to “tuck my floats” on the yoke so that there’s not a mass of loose strands inside the sweater waiting to be snagged. I did my first steek (you can check out the video here on my instagram) and I learned how to do a proper steek column so that you aren’t terrified while cutting!!! After hiking up a mountain, I feel safe in saying that this is an epic sweater that is worthy of the Dutch knitting traditions Ann Weaver based the design on. I would totes heard sheep while wearing this sweater, up a mountain even.

I’m so glad that I decided at the last minute to finish it on the car ride to Boulder. This will be a wardrobe stable for my first winter in KC. For me, this represents a new benchmark in my knitting. I learned so much while making this. I was so careful to get gauge and make size adjustments as needed so my effort wouldn’t be wasted. This makes my old work feel like child’s play, and I think I’ve finally kicked down the door to “a knitted wardrobe” instead of just lacey accessories, sorry Darling Emma. I’m ready to take my knitting to the next level. I still have a painful amount to learn (like seriously how to get more ease into these armpits). But I’m happy to learn from my mistakes and enjoy the journey, but right now, I’m just gonna wear my sweater and feel baller.


Yes, It IS your grandmother’s knitting.

Winter Stash

Hi, lovies! Jon and I just got back from our one year anniversary trip! I have so much to tell you! But after a 16hour round trip drive, climbing a mountain, and all the laundry, I’m still recovering. Until then, here’s a post about my winter yarn stash!

Since moving to KC, I’ve made a lot of effort to get my yarn stash under control. Post-moving finances aside, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of yarn I had. It was no longer something to delight in, but a burden to haul through. I mean, seriously.

When one organizes a yarn closet, one must first pull everything onto the floor #realtruth #knittersofinstagram

It would appear that six garbage bags of yarn is the thin wooly line between abundance and overstuffed. I’ve indefinitely tightened the purse strings on my yarn budget. I’ve bought 12 skeins of yarn in 9 months. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but considering I used to spend hundreds of dollars on bags of yarn (I’m talking entire paychecks and half the sale’s rack) this is an amazing feat. I also have to throw in, three of those skeins were a birthday present for myself, so they don’t count. Mhm.

Buying less yarn, though a good start, did little to reduce the absurd amounts of yarn I already had. After a few teeth gritting sessions of self restraint, I’ve become a monogamous knitter. One project at a time, get it done and on to the next. I’ve also relaxed my expectations on what is humanly possible to knit in a single season. When I stopped expecting myself to knit 20 pairs of socks and 1,000 sweaters in a three month period, I was able to better focus on the knitting I actually had going on and could just get it done. I used to spend my “knitting” time browsing Ravelry trying to assign projects to all of my yarn and create a queue. All the while I would have about 8 unfinished projects languishing in the corner. No more of that

I think what’s helped the most, though, is dividing my yarn up by seasons. This spring and summer, my winter yarns were packed away in the back of my closet while my “summer” yarn (lace weights, bright pinks, silks ect ect) lived in a large wicker basket under my desk. This made everything seem more doable. I diligently worked at knitting down this basket, while neither thinking about the winter yarn in the closet, nor expecting that I could knit through all the spring and summer yarns. This week, with the undeniable scent of fall in the air, I unpacked my winter yarns and placed the summer ones in the back of the closet. Until next year, my pretties!

It’s so exciting and refreshing to cast eyes over all of this delicious yarn that I haven’t seen for months! And what a delight to see so many piles of sweater yarn! And all in worsted and aran weight. Bliss. I’m itching to cast on and it feels like I have a clean slate for the cold weather season without having all of my yarn mixed in together, haunting me, judging me. Check out my winter stash!


Cloud Escape

I decided to really get into winter knitting this year. I usually only manage one or two sweaters every winter, and I don’t have a chance to enjoy them for more than a few weeks before it’s time to pack them away. This is due to me being so dead set on doing Christmas presents for *everyone* and their mom. Like, actually. It’s always so stressful and I’ve done it four times in a row now. I think this year I’m going to take a break. I’ve decided to do no more than four presents. There shall be store bought scarves and coupons all around this year! And Walgreen’s Christmas cards, soooo many cards. This year, I deserve Escape.

IMG_2322.JPGIn the beginning of August, I cast on for this beauty. An oversized, split side, bi-color sweater. The yarn was a total impulse buy. I walked into my LYS in Arkansas and the yarn was nestled together on the shelf *screaming at me* to take it home. Before I even knew what was happening, I was handing over my credit card and signing my name in blood.

IMG_2323The yarn is, of course, more Dream in Color. I think they should sponsor me. This time I’m using the Jilly Cashmere. I love the halo that the yarn has while also holding sharp stitch definition. The blue, ‘Forget Me’, is to die for. Actually impossible to forget (see what I did there?)I love how it has splashes of brown and green in it. I only have one skein of the ‘Brownie’ brown, so I’m a little nervous about having enough to do full sleeves, I hope that them being tight, clingy sleeves will mean I can make a little yarn go a long way. If not,some stripe work might be in order. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m officially ready for Fall to touch down.

IMG_2325Also, Jon and I have welcomed a new member into our family. A little ball of fluffy kitten that relentlessly plays and mews at us all day. Kora. I’m totally in love. I mean, look at these paws

Look at that tail

Look at that FACE

A deep and insatiable affection has been stirred up in me, and I can’t get over this kitten. She loves to crawl all over me, and cuddle, and play, and basically all the things Luna is too cool for. Don’t worry, Luna is happy, and adjusting well to the newcomer. I think she appreciates that I no longer harass her for photos. And I think she likes keeping Kora in place with head bops and swats.

 Expect to see much more of this little kitten, and if you (like me) can’t get enough of her, follow my Instagram for endless pictures!

Until next time, daydream on my lovelies!

(Just one more picture)

Camino Bubbles- Fire and Ice

I have a lace addiction. Truly. I believe most of my stash is made up of lace and fingering weight yarn. I have a sweater’s worth or two of worsted weight yarn, but if you close your eyes and take a random draw from my stash you’ll most likely pull out a 500yd skein of kettle dyed lace. I can’t help it. It’s so rewarding to knit an entire shawl or sweater out of one skein of yarn. And the way light shines through lace? Mm, to die for.

img_5308After finishing my commission, I was really excited to cast on for a “quick knit”. Though, after that sweater, anything could be considered quick. The Camino Bubbles by Kieran Foley is only 89 stitches wide though, so it seemed very inviting. This was a glorious knit and the drop stitch bubbles were addicting!


The Yarn

I used two skeins of Jilly Lace: Dream in Color. I’m completely sold on this brand. This will be the fourth project I’ve knit using their yarns. The blue is ‘Blue Fish’ and the brilliant orange is ‘Great Pumpkin’. The skeins are 880yds each and 100% merino wool. Yum. There’s actually enough yardage on these skeins to knit two Camino Bubbles! The yarn is a touch sticky/grabby because it’s single ply, however, the bubble stitches were easy to drop. The colors of this yarn are so vivid and saturated that I was terrified they would bleed (especially the blue) from even wet blocking. The yarn claims to be machine washable though, so I went ahead and soaked this shawl and pinned it down. There was no bleeding and I didn’t notice any color leaking while it was in the sink. Nevertheless, I don’t think this shawl will ever be thrown in the washing machine, dab clean only!


The Pattern

Oh, Keiran Foley, what a beautiful mind you have…I’m constantly amazed by how he uses dropped stitches and lace to create amazing shapes in negative space. If you haven’t already, check out his website and blog it is very drool worthy. Camino Bubbles is a very simple charted pattern. It includes written instructions, but I truly think it would be harder to knit this if you only follow the written instructions. The chart is much easier to use. You have one set up chart(A), chart B is repeated as many times as you want, then a finishing chart(C). That’s all!IMG_2361

The Knit

I was delighted to find that after doing a few repeats of chart B, I didn’t need the pattern anymore. It was very easy to see where dropped stitches needed to go and the only thing I really needed to keep track of was how many rows I did on each repeat.I carried this shawl around with me everywhere and whipped it out if I ever had a minute or two to knit. I could stop in the middle of a drop stitch row and pick it back up an hour later and know exactly where I was! The pattern is very repetitive and self explanatory, which I love. Dropping the stitches was so fun. There was a primal satisfaction in finishing the last chart repeat and pausing to pull and stretch the shawl, watching as the yarn unraveled to reveal a perfect bubble. I goofed a few times and dropped the wrong stitches or one stitch too many, nothing my handy dandy crochet hook couldn’t fix. I would absolutely recommend “popping” the bubbles as you go, to make sure that you don’t have any stray dropped stitches.
As far as alteration go, I  knit this shawl longer than the pattern sample. I believe the sample had 7 repeats of chart B, I did 9.5 for a post-blocking size of 72″ long. I think it goes without saying that this is a must block project. It’s all scrunched up and awkward after casting off. I blocked this to two times it’s size after casting off and the length of the shawl took up my entire balcony. After drying, it settled to a very comfortable size. I love shawls that are at least 60″ wide. I feel like 72″ is just enough extra length to really work with the shawl style wise. The pattern also has an option for a 130st wide shawl.


This is an A+ pattern, and I highly recommend it! It’s a brilliant use of dropped stitches and the shawl is very dynamic in lace weight. A perfect summer shawl that I will absolutely make again. Also, “Finding Nemo” colors😉

Fall is fast approaching (see the dead leaves in the background?) and I’m eager to cast on for fall knits. Despite a few more weeks of heat, I’m already in an autumn mindset. I can smell pumpkin and chilly nights on the wind and my fingers are itching for wool and textured oversized sweaters. Have you cast on for fall yet? Or are you hoping to complete one more summer knit? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, knit on!


P.S I have a new guest in my home…

A Note on Commissions

I think when you make an agreement to do a project for someone, you should prioritize that project. I believe it to be a sign of maturity and professional courtesy to place personal projects on hold and attempt to finish your customer’s project as quickly as possible and with your very best of effort. Especially if you’re being paid.

For the past three months I’ve been working on a commission for a LYS. A customer injured her shoulder and wanted her sweater completed for her, the LYS asked me to do it and I happily agreed. I had ten to twelve weeks to complete the work and I was told I would make a certain amount of money for making it. We had a verbal agreement. The sweater, the grey thing, was two thousand yards of various moss stitches in a size extra large knee length jacket. In grey. The instructions were beyond convoluted (if you have to say “at the same time” 5 times for one part of your sweater, you need a pattern rework ) and I had to start over three times just to get past the yoke. But I finished it. Here it is:


Yep, I wouldn’t even do a photo shoot for that. Blurry instagram with me looking like I’ve been awake for four days is all you’re getting.

I took the sweater in to the LYS and handed it over. Three months. Almost all of spring and summer that could have been spent knitting cute tops and headbands. She hands me a check. I almost fall over. It is significantly short of our agreed on price, over $100 short. We discuss this and come to find out that they have a ceiling on how much they pay for commission work. I ask why she agreed to pay me more if she wasn’t actually going to, she gives me a rambling half answer. I’m a bit dumbfounded and realize there isn’t much I can do. Hold the customer’s sweater hostage and demand more money? That wouldn’t be fair to the customer who had no part in our financial deal. It would also be unseemly for me to stand there and argue. I wouldn’t win even if I did. I took my check with a smile and walked out, ignoring her offer for me to work a few Saturdays a month if I ever wanted to.

I was angry. I feel cheated and used and like an entire season of knitting was stolen from me. I sulked over this for an entire day. Now that I’ve had time to process this whole affair, and cast on for another project, I have a few notes to share with fellow knitters who might be new to doing commissions.

  1. Communication is a must

To be honest, this was not my first experience with this LYS. I previously did a commission for the shop and was paid the amount I asked for. However, when we first set up the deal, she informed me that she paid on a sliding scale. $.25-$.75 a yard based on the difficulty of the project. When I finished the project, I asked to be paid $.35 for the 1,000 yard project. She informed me that the maximum they pay for commissions was $250. I reminded her about the sliding scale. “Mhm, yeah…we usually only pay $250 though. I’ll pay you what you want this time though.” She never explained to me why she told me I would be paid on a sliding scale if she obviously had no intention of doing that.

Whenever I did work for this shop, it took me weeks to be paid after I’d already dropped off my finished item and we had terrible communication. It took her nearly three weeks to pay me for my first commission job. I called the shop multiple times, had to give her my address three times so she could mail me a check, and I went to the shop twice to pick up payments and she’d forgotten to leave the money for me. I once went to the shop to try and be paid, she stayed on the phone for twenty minutes with me standing there waiting and I finally had to leave, without payment, to make it to an event on time.

All this to say, if you and the customer you’re working for have terrible communication, don’t agree to work for them. It was stupid of me to persists in working for someone who would never answer my calls or have the courtesy to have my check waiting for me in a timely manner. If you can’t even have two minutes of the person’s time to ask questions or be paid, don’t bother.

2. The faintest ink is better than the strongest memory

As I said above, there was a lot of back and forth about what I would be paid for my work and I really had to go out of my way to get my paychecks. In hindsight, I can’t believe I never just had the gall to ask her “So, before I start, how much are you paying me for this?” It is not rude to confirm before hand how much the person thinks your time and energy is worth. If they think it’s rude to ask, don’t work with them. Take a few minutes and type up a simple contract for the both of you to sign. Nothing crazy, something simple will work fine as hard documentation of your agreement.

“I, so and so, agree to pay so and so x amount of monies for the completion of such and such by this date.” See? Simple.

Discuss  the yardage of the project you will be doing, the difficulty of the work and the amount of time it should take before agreeing to anything. Get all of the information about the project you need  while face to face with the person, it wouldn’t hurt to include these things in the contract as well. You’ll seem like a true professional if you do this; it’ll be an accurate reflection of the fact that your time and effort is valuable and you take your job seriously. If the person is turned off by this. Don’t work with them.

3. Be honest

Be honest with yourself and your customer. Tell them how much you think your work is truly worth. Don’t undersell yourself to get more work or overcharge to bleed your customer dry. This is a business transaction, not a blood sport. It should be pleasant and simple. If you really hate the project and think it’ll be a drag to do, let the person know upfront and ask to be paid accordingly. Don’t agree to a price that won’t make up for all the grumbling and complaining you’ll be doing while knitting on the project. If the person isn’t willing to pay you more, request to have a longer amount of time to complete the project or simply decline to do the work. You aren’t a slave, your time and skill are valuable. There is no shame failing to come to an agreement and simply declining to do the project.

4. Work hard

There is shame, however, in taking way too long to do a project and not doing your best. The grey thing was knit for a customer using the LYS to get her work done. In other words, me slacking on the sweater, not making it just right, or deliberately taking way too long to finish would be totally unfair to the customer. She had nothing to do with my failure to do business properly or the LYS underpaying me. If you’ve agreed to do something, do it. Don’t back out half way because you don’t like it anymore, or argue over payment after the work is already done. Have all your ducks in a row before even picking up your needles

Honestly, I know there is a lot of contention over knitting for pay. There is a plethora of knitters who are underpaid for their work and it is often very difficult to find a happy medium. I’m glad I’ve had this experience, though. I truly believe it will help me do business better in the future and have a more discerning eye for the work I’m asked to do and how much my skill is worth. Knitting should always bring joy, even commissioned work, but it’s not the responsibility of the customer to ensure your happiness and satisfaction. You must stand up for yourself and not be afraid to say ‘no’. Will I work for this yarn shop again? Probably not. Will I do more commissions? Totally. Will I get burned again? Maybe, but I’ve learned to take my work more seriously now, and hopefully I’ll be better prepared to deal with a transaction in the future.

I really hope my inexperience helps a few of you out there who are exploring the world of knitting for pay. Please don’t make the same silly mistakes I did, but more importantly, stay happy with your knitting- no matter what you get out of it.