Obviously charging per hour doesn't work in every situation, like for small items. I certainly don't do it for things like badges and buttons, which I can produce in quantity and thus at much less per piece. And if you're multitasking (spinning and watching TV for instance), i.e. not focused entirely on your work, cut the rate.
However, I've actually had much less success when I don't consider and specifically mention my time. I've found more people are willing to accept "you are paying for both my time and my skill" as a reason when they ask why I charge what I do, rather than "because it's worth it." I wonder if it's because they think the latter sounds kind of arrogant, while they can connect more with the former.
The good news about perceived value is that in the market niche you're going for, Wuggums, people are willing to pay for good product. The perceived value is reasonably good for what you put into it. Chris, I think I first met you on the Regretsy forums? I know you sell in high-level events. Places like that, you can definitely make more if you don't charge per hour. People go with the expectation and willingness to pay a lot.
But for us at a less-than-professional level, a lot of times it's simply not worth it if we don't. I can't sell a blanket that I sunk six hours into for $20 or something and have it be at all profitable.
The cheaper stuff would be good for more crafty things. Not for garments and the like, but I use coarser wool when I want to felt decorative rocks, or felt soap. (Felting softens it some and the texture is good for scrubbing yourself, kinda like a loofah.)
I'm not as good with pricing out smaller things in bulk, since most of my work is done on a commission basis and I've never done a booth anywhere. But, what shadojake said is correct, you'll want things over a range of prices so that people have options. I have products that start at around $20, and my big stuff starts at $125. That leaves a nice range to work in for alternatives for people who want to buy something but can't afford to sink a lot.
Do you dye your own fiber? If so, you can also consider selling hanks of roving for people who want to spin their own. It's a cheaper way for people to still be able to get your product, since you don't have to add the investment of spinning into the price.
I also build in something into the price for my time. Not all crafts people do this. I believe they do the rest of the crafts people a disservice by not building their time into their prices. It is best to do this from the beginning, then there is no sticker shock later when you increase prices to cover it.
I agree 100% with this. Selling without paying yourself for your time, or trying to be "competitive" by charging next to nothing, screws over artisans and artists in general. It creates a low perception of value for handmade pieces, which is part of why I work on commission -- I'm selling only to people who understand why the price is what it is.
It's part of why garments would be a bad idea. Even if you're only paying yourself $5/hour (and I charge much more for my time), how many hours will a sweater take? There's a nasty belief that because it's art, we should be happy to accept very little for our work, as if our time is worth less because we're not playing with computers or whatever. Don't let people treat you like that, you deserve fair pay for what you do and your effort is not worth less because of what you put it into.
I would personally go for a superior product over a cheap one. People who use and know yarn don't flinch at paying a high premium for the good stuff; there's a reason that LYS stay in business and it's not just because of people who want to support a local economy. They know that premium fiber is expensive to buy in the first place, but significantly more pleasurable to work with, too.
It would probably be worth selling some of the cheaper stuff, too, for people who want to felt decorative objects and what have you. But I feel like your main money-maker in selling your yarn would be to make a name for yourself as someone who sells a unique, quality product.
Steer clear of the garments. In my experience a lot of people just balk at the price you would need to charge on a completed garment (or blanket) to make selling it worth your while. Remember that your time as well as your supplies are worth money, and that you'd have to sink a lot more time into a single garment than you would into dyeing and spinning. It's simply not as profitable.
This goes double since you say you're not very practiced at crochet. If someone is going to sink big bucks into a garment, they are going to want expert workmanship, not novice/intermediate. They're also going to want premium fiber, not scratchy wool, which means even more investment for you out of the gate -- plus even more time, if you want to use your own product and need to spin the fiber.
For me personally, one of the benefits of freeform crochet is going in with no patterns, no rules (other than knowing how certain fiber types react), and finding out what works together and what doesn't. I guess it depends on whether you're trying to have a finished product that will last, or just want to have some fun.
If you're going to be doing the former, some things to consider are whether a fiber felts or not, how you'll have to wash things, dye permanence, and so on. Are you going to wear it? Display it somewhere where sun can get at it?
If you're doing the latter, just go for it! Practice the techniques you want to practice and see how you can fit things together, how yarns interact, what colors jive. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work that way. Just think about what you want to work on.
As for CITR, that depends on the look you want. If you do a sl st join and a rising chain, you'll have a visible line that curves around your pieces, which you may want. If you work in unjoined, continuous rounds, you'll have a very smooth look but you WON'T have even rounds if you want to have perfectly aligned buttons or whatever. If you want the best of both worlds, I unhesitatingly recommend Deja Jetmir's invisible straight seam method (http://crocheteverafter.com/tutorials/single-crochet-tutorials/invisible-straight-seam-in-single-crochet-when-working-in-the-round/), which is about all I ever use now. It gives even rounds without jogs, and as promised an invisible join. This makes it ideal for in-the-round applications with colorwork and so on.
Hopefully some of that helped. Please feel free to PM me if you've got a question on something in particular.
Hm, well, it's a nice, slick synthetic, which I like because I've never had issues with yarn getting hung up on it. It's strong but quite thin, and I was pleasantly surprised at how pliable it was, much more so than a lot of circular needle cables I've run across. I'm not sure whether it can be steamed because I've never tried, since I never found the need to. It's always been quite cooperative, it curls but doesn't do that violent spring-back thing.
The set comes with either three or four different lengths, I forget which, plus extra end caps so that you can store your project on the cable without it unraveling, and without risking damaging a hook. I know they also sell the hooks individually, in case you need to replace one for whatever reason.
I've found that the hooks attach securely and aren't a pain to change out, which is nice! I think the longest cable the set comes with is 42", but I know you can buy couplers to join lengths together at yarn.com. I assume that they're universal across all of KP's cables, whether for knitting or crochet.
I would say that if you like KP products, it's absolutely worth it.
I really am not a fan of the tube. Things never slid well on mine, or the tube popped off the hook, you only get one length really, and you really are limited in stitch size by how damn big that tube is.
Plus, you've got all those hooks and tubes to deal with, and they take up a lot of room!
If you're serious about investing in a set of cabled Tunisian hooks, I have the Knitter's Pride Dreamz set and love them. You get multiple lengths of cable, warm and smooth wood hooks that are interchangeable, and the cables are slim but strong. I've never had issues with my work snagging on them and they take up much less room than a big glob of tubing.
Thank you, everyone! Sorry I'm late getting back to these, for some reason the site hasn't wanted to load for me.
@pixietoes, I worked the arm open and then closed it using the fingers themselves; they're worked half into the front of the hand and half into the back, so that when all of them are done, the hand is closed up. Then I add the thumb. All of them are worked in the round, and I stuff the arm when I have two fingers finished. Then I just do the others.
...that was a horrible explanation, oh god. I think Amigurumi To Go has a tutorial on something like that, my computer is being a butt with loading it right now.
A while ago someone asked me to make Anders from DA2. I have a confession to make, I hated that game and I really hated what they did to Anders' character in it. I'm still glad I got the chance to make the doll, though, because he looks a lot cuter and a lot less jaded and possessed!
Yarn selection being what it is around here, I combined aspects and colors from both his outfits.