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Take a photo and send it to Nan and she’ll knit it for you.

Ok, so you all know that I do knitting and crochet.  I’d imagine that if you’ve liked my Facebook page, then you like my knitting and crochet, so thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.  It’s because of your kind words, that I carry on knitting and crocheting.

But it’s the others…

Those people…

The ones who think they’re being clever, or funny by being insulting, or downright rude.  The people who come into the hut, and either deliberately or carelessly just knock the wind out of your sales with their tactlessness.  To those people, here is my response.


The basic fact of the matter is this…

If you want something hand made in the UK, unique, made from quality natural materials, then you have to pay a higher price than something you might find in a high street chain.  If you’re happy with mass produced, imported, made using manmade materials, that’s easy, there’s an entire internet’s worth of goodies that can be shopped around for.  In which case, perhaps you’re not going to find an artisan market your cup of tea, but why deliberately go out of your way to be hurtful to someone who has spent time, money and passion creating something that a lot of other people like?  Who knows?

I’m not even going to bother explaining about costs associated with running a business, you know,  like:

  • Materials and equipment
  • Display items
  • Advertising
  • Leaflets and flyers
  • Rent of premises
  • Use of home as office
  • Motor expenses
  • Travel costs
  • Printing and stationery
  • Books and software
  • Telephone and internet charges
  • Repairs and renewals
  • Bank charges
  • Computer equipment
  • Office equipment
  • Insurances

Because you’re sensible people, who know that every business has associated costs, ones that aren’t as obvious as “all it costs is a bit of wool”.

Interestingly, there’s a pricing formula for hand made items, as detailed in the online marketplace, Etsy.  It is this…

Materials + Labour + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail

Tee hee!  I chortle… Materials + Labour + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail!!

HAHAHA!  I guffaw!  I can hardly contain myself…

Ok, so let’s do this.  Take one of my blankets…  It’s a baby’s pram sized blanket.

Crocheted blanket

Crocheted using 100% merino wool.  I weigh it to see how much yarn is used, and base my prices on that.  That’s the background.  Here’s the reality…

Materials: £2.80 per 50g ball x 8 = £22.40

Labour: 24 hours x £7.83 ph = £187.92

Wait… stop… £187.92?  £187.92??

Right, ok, carry on…


  • Display items
  • Advertising
  • Leaflets and flyers
  • Rent of premises
  • Use of home as office
  • Motor expenses
  • Travel costs
  • Printing and stationery
  • Telephone and internet charges
  • Repairs and renewals
  • Bank charges
  • Computer equipment
  • Office equipment
  • Insurances

Lordy! Ok, based on last year, that was iro £8k, so… erm…? About £21 per day, so we’ll scrap that bit.

Right, Profit… well, erm, right… profit… erm, profit… erm?  we’ll scrap that bit too, so!

Materials + Labour = £210.32

Total: £210.32 = Wholesale price

£420.62 = Retail price


Actual price of blanket £42

Hourly rate: (£42-22.40)/24 = £0.82 yep that’s right!  82p per hour!

Let’s try something else.

Giant seagull by The Little Songbird Knitting Co Kent

Gerald, the ginormously gargantuan gull:

Materials: £50.40

Labour: 24 hours @ £7.83 ph = £187.92

Total: £238.32 = Wholesale price

£476.64 = Retail price

Actual price of giant gull £130

Hourly rate: £3.32

There’s a pattern forming and I don’t mean of the knitted variety…

So when someone looks at the giant gull, and says, “cor, that could do you some damage”, followed by, “it would certainly damage your wallet”, what is there to say?  Explain that actually, they’re getting it at 27.27% of what the retail price ought to be?  In fact, they’re getting it at 54.55% of the wholesale price!  Or maybe I should just flip up a sign saying…


Believe me, if I just heard one thing this week, then I wouldn’t be writing a blog about how rude the general public is, but it isn’t.  I’ve had “nan would be disgusted if she saw the price of those” (cactus, £16, 2hrs labour); “now… how much would you pay for this seagull?” (Solomon £35 – 8hrs labour); “I ain’t paying THAT.” (crocheted shopping bag £15 – 4 hrs labour).  The list is endless.  Daily.  The simple answer is, “don’t buy it then”, but I’m not allowed to say that.  If it was my hut alone, I would frog march people out of the door, telling them that I only sell to the deserving, and so what about negative feedback?  I’ll give them bloody negative feedback!  But no.  I share the hut with two talented and wonderful people, so in order for my fury not to impact them, I shall keep quiet, or…

I might resort to one of these!


Hidden under my desk, so that I can deny all responsibility.

“That’s bullshit!”, it will say.

And to the general public, it would be like their conscience telling them to shut the hell up.

ITEM 2.  I’m not Pinterest.

Some of you may have heard of Pinterest, it’s a site where you “pin” your interest in something.  Great for ideas on how to do your kitchen, recipes, patterns and tutorials, a whole smorgasbord of hints, tips and ideas.  Hurrah!  There’s no need then for this…

I designed my cotton shopper.  I sell the pattern on various online sites.  I also teach people how to crochet the cotton shopper on my 4 week course through Kent Adult Education.  I’m also very accommodating when it comes to telling people how it’s made.  In fact I had a lovely chat with a lady from the Midlands, who initially had asked whether it was made using a tattling shuttle (like fishing nets).  We had a lovely chat, about how she was known as “the undoer”, in her craft group, because she was always having to undo things.  Lovely.  Just the kind of customer I love coming into the hut.

What I don’t love is the kind of customer who does this…


Young female customer:  Ooh I really like these bags, not necessarily with the rose, but I really like it.

Her mum:  Well, take a photo of it, and send it to Nan, and she’ll knit one for you.

No don’t come into a shop where everything is hand made, and take a photo of it, to send to someone else to make for you.  Just no.  Bad form.  No no no.  That’s EXACTLY what Pinterest is for, and having Googled knitted shopping bag, it took me straight to Pinterest, and a free pattern by  Marvellous.  Perfect for Nan.

The most frequently heard is…

“Can you make one of these for me?” asks one customer to another, looking at something I have made.


ITEM 3. You could make that.

This is a standing joke between me and my lovely friend.  She has always been saying that to me.  You could do that!  She’d say, pointing to the Sistene Chapel ceiling.  I love her faith in me, but half the time, it was just not based in reality.  So I understand why people say it, and after all, like my friend, she’s not saying, “this is so crap, that even you could make it” (which is precisely what the maker hears), she’s saying, “you’re really clever, you could make it”.  Well.. at least my friend is saying that to me.  The general public however, could well be insulting both myself and their friend!

My standard response is either, “she can, but she won’t”, in a smiley way, or, “she can, but could she make hundreds, and still remain this side of sane?”, and everyone laughs and laughs…

I’m not sure it’ll ever change, but if you do think that your talented friend can make something, or you think it’s so crap that EVEN your friend could make something, try not to say it within earshot of the person who actually made it….

Like on this one occasion.  Primary school Christmas fair.  Teacher and TA, standing on the other side of the table, so literally only about 2ft away from me, and 100% obvious that I’d made everything.  100%.  Teacher studying my wares, turns to TA and says, “YOU could make all of this”.


ITEM 4. General Ignorance.

“You remind me of my nan”.

Do I?  Well thank you very much.  No, no. I mean it.  Thanks a lot.  I remind you of your nan?  Well you remind me of a horse’s arse.

“Can I smoke in here?”.

Guess.  Go on, guess.  Yes or no?  Hmm… No?  Maybe?  Jeez…

ITEM 5.  Usual rules of propriety.

  • Children covered in ice cream touching things. NO
  • Children touching things in general. NO
  • Children in general (joke!  Blimey!) NO
  • Dogs weeing on display items. NO
  • Dogs eating display items. NO
  • Dogs weeing on floor. NO
  • The public smoking too close to the doorway of the hut. NO
  • The public sneering at stock. NO
  • The public sneering at prices. NO
  • The public. (I’m joking again!  Calm down!) NO
  • Lovely people. YES!
  • Lovely people who buy things. YES!
  • Lovely people who say lovely things. YES!
  • Lovely people who come in and have a nice chat, even if they don’t buy anything.  YES!
  • Children not covered in ice cream.  YES!
  • Children with their hands tied together.  YES!
  • Children who come in and have a nice chat, even if their parents don’t buy anything. YES!
  • Dogs. YES!
  • My Dogs. No

This one is one of my favourites, and not uttered by the public, but by a friend, something I will remember, and remind him of, For-Ev-Er.

Alpaca Faux Fur Pompom Hat Hut No.13

Friend: How much are your hats?

Me: £25

Friend: They’re £3 in Primark.

Me: There’s a discernible difference between my hats and Primark.

Friend: To the untrained eye they look the same.

Me: *Rant* (for weeks)


If you have nothing nice to say, shut up and bugger off.





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