Give It Away


First, thanks to all of those that have made donations in support of my running in the Race for the Cure. I have already had to bump up my goal because I met the first one!

To kind of go with the theme of charity, here are a couple things that I have made in past years that were auctioned off for charity. These aren’t the only things that I have made that fall into this category, but the rest have either already been posted or don’t have digital images.

What brought all this to mind was having lunch with my friend Joe this past Monday. Joe would have a drag show once a month at the Hippo. September’s show became a benefit for breast cancer research after Joe’s mother died of the disease. After donating a woven scarf or shawl to be auctioned off during the show in the past, Joe asked if I would knit a sweater instead, thinking that it would fetch more money. I was skeptical, but I went along with it. This is what I made:

EZ Cable Yoke sweater

It is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s cable yoke sweater out of Vogue Knitting. I made it out of Tess’s Designer Yarns cultivated silk and merino. Making the size medium for men (large for women,) took pretty much the entire two skeins that I had of the yarn. I thought of overdyeing it because I was not sure if people would go for the color, which is kind of a silvery gray. The women in my guild convinced me not to, saying that it was a good neutral color for anyone.

Well, before the show where the sweater was to be auctioned off, someone came down, took a look at the sweater, and said, “What, did you get this from the Gap?”

Joe: “Patrick made that sweater.”

The guy turns beet red, as I am standing five feet away from him. (This guy does have quite the way of being an asshole, sometimes.)

This comment did give foreshadowing of what the sweater was going to go for. The amount it sold for? $75. The cost of the yarn just to make the sweater? $200.

The next year, I went back to making a scarf. I had quite the collection of rayon chenille that I got as mill ends from the Mannings, so I used that to weave a scarf using a shadowweave threading that I found in 1000 (+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8 Harness Shadow Weaves by Marian Powell.

While the two colors that I chose were probably too close in value, and the yarn too texture to show the weave structure, the scarf still look nice (enough.)

Shadowweave chenille scarf

Here are some close ups. See if you can make out the weave structure.

Shadowweave scarf x1 Shadowweave scarf x2

The scarf went for? $85. The cost of materials to make the scarf? < $10. (BTW, most every scarf or shawl that I have every donated for any kind of auction has always gone in the $75 to $95 range.)

What did I learn from all of this? Well, the main thing is, the general public values weaving more than knitting, IMHO. I think this is mostly because there are just fewer weavers than there are knitters, making weaving a much more mysterious thing for people. People see sweaters in the stores, even sweaters that are supposed to be handknit, for very low prices (considering the amount of time and effort put into making the sweater, if it is truly handknit.) Handwoven items just aren’t that plentiful.

It is all kind of strange to me, especially since I can do a piece of weaving in a lot less time (if I put my mind to it) than I can a knitted item. Any thoughts on your end?

2 thoughts on “Give It Away

  1. I think it depends on the type of knitting. I always get a lot of compliments on my lace knitting and I even had an offer for several hundred dollars for a shawl I was wearing. I think it’s because lace shawls are a rarity in stores. Just my two pennies. 🙂

  2. My first thought is that the general public is not worthy of our knitting. It could be that the scarf can be worn every day but the sweater maybe every other week, not that a cardigan may have fetched more $ from the “muggles” as the Yarn Harlot would say. I guess we live in a world where most people think knitted items come from the Gap, and that is a shame.

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