Unlike other pattern-based clothing, knitting patterns sometimes come with notes from the designer, saying the pattern is for personal use only, and the objects cannot be sold. Is it really possible to restrict someone's finished product entirely? I'm not a copyright lawyer, but the general consensus is no, technically you can't limit the sale of the item, but it's generally frowned-upon to sell. Are we selling just the physical labor of making a piece, or are we also selling the designer's creativity? What will sell better: a simple, universal pullover, or one with design elements, stitch patterns, and built-in ease?
I asked my Twitter followers what their views on the copyright matter are, and it was almost unanimous: it's not illegal to make and sell an item, but it's kind of a jerk move to do it without simply asking. Then you have something like this:
I DO know that it becomes a frivolous debate very quickly for me, though, when I think about how much yarn costs, how long it takes to make an item, and how much money that would end up equalling. Let's take my last FO, that Versio sweater:
I finished it in one month (36 days). Probably spent around 3 hours each weeknight working on it, and another 4 or 5 hours each weekend day for the entire month. Granted, there were days I didn't knit, and days I knitted a ton, so this is just an average. Let's say right around 100 hours total of knitting and finishing. The yarn, Wollmeise lace, is a generous 1700 yards, of which I used about 1200. The whole skein is about $50, so at 1200 yards, I used just over $35 worth of yarn.
If I get paid for my yarn, pattern cost, and labor at minimum wage, I end up at:
$35 + $6.21 + $7.25(x100 hours) = $766.21, before sales tax.
Before I even got to the labor part, I was over $40, which could buy me a machine-knit sweater at a mid-quality store in the mall.
Let's try something smaller, like my Raphaelite shawl:
Two skeins of Madelinetosh yarn, a $5.50 pattern, and about two weeks of work:
$44 + $5.50 + $7.25(40) = $339.50
For those of you who don't knit, take a moment to think about the things you do in your free time. Your hobbies, arts, interests... Would you be willing to trade your time at minimum wage? Would your work be worth more? It is for me... Giving away something I've made, no matter how small, is a huge sacrifice of time, before you even start valuing the materials and labor.
This is also why I'm super picky about who I knit for, and what I knit for them... When someone snubs your gift, it can be devastating... but that's a different post altogether.
Leave your opinions in the comments, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!