The Thousand Dollar Sweater

Having a dilemma as I finish up a sweater for a client.  The pattern was easy,  the knitting was fun, there was no deadline.  Those were the good points.

The client couldn’t remember where she was in the project, nor what size the sweater was………….and there might not be enough yarn.  The not so good points.

Now, I’m down to blocking the pieces, then I think I’ll weave in the hundred or so ends, then sew up the seams.

Which leaves me with the question……………….     How much to charge?           For me, this is the really awful part.


           By the hour, a thousand dollars would be a bargain….when you consider how much time I put in trying to figure out where in the world to start, and how to make the project fit the available yarn.  The actual knitting didn’t take as much time as the ‘pondering’ of the project.


By the inch has been suggested, which sounds like a terrific idea, but still…………I don’t know what figure to put on an Inch!

A couple of suggestions were to pose the question to the sweaters’ owner “how much is it worth to you?”

So, I’m left with just the knitting and no real plan as to how to bill the client.

Any & all suggestions will be appreciated!



5 thoughts on “The Thousand Dollar Sweater

  1. We have had this issue before with creative people. What is fair to pay someone for thinking about a project? I was outraged when I hired a landscaper about 10 years ago, and when I got the bill for the tress, plants and his time, there was 10 hours billed at $50 per hour (remember, this is 10 years ago… I realize it would be more now) which added on an additional $500. When I asked him if it really took him 10 hours to sketch out the plans (and could I see these sketches, please?) to fill a 10×5 space he replied that he often thought about my project while showering, cutting his lawn or when he was shopping at nurseries for other clients…or the WORST! When he was working in other people’s yards. I asked him if he thought about other people’s projects and billed them out for that shower, that other lawn and all the other times, too. And he admitted to me that he did.

    So I told him that I would only pay him for the time he spent sitting and working on my project…not while he was doing other things. And I never hired him again, even though I quite like what he did. And I have always felt a little bad about that.

    I think if someone throws a huge curve ball at you, they should be prepared to pay for it. And this lady did throw you a big one. Do I think a thousand dollars is worth it? Maybe to her it is….but it wouldn’t be to me. I think your friends are right: how much is this sweater worth to her? Maybe find out. She might surprise you. But I just always wondered if that gardener and I had better communication, I wouldn’t have had to confront him and I would have been happy to continue working with him…. but I think communication up front is the only way to go. Oh, oops! Too late for that.

    So, what is fair for you, Sue? I definitely think that thinking time is fair…especially when someone lobs a grenade at you, which she did. And I also think it’s fair to just explain to the customer what you had to go through to correct the problems. Really… if she just read your post, she would understand. And I bet it looks great, too…

  2. I like to think: How much would I want to do this again? It sounds like the project was a fun challenge, and that doesn’t come with a price tag. I did one of them recently at about half the price I would want to do it a second time. We had agreed on the price ahead of time, but it seemed fair to me, since it was a learning experience for me.

    • I appreciate your comment. I like the question ‘would I want to do this again?’ It has been a fun project, I did learn a couple things. But, you’re right. I don’t think I’d take this one on again. Still not sure what the bill will be. Thinking!!!

  3. “How much to charge?” That is a TOUGH one! Since the client provided all the yarn and the pattern, that does not figure into it. But I agree with MelindaLu – there should be some charge for being “dropped” into the middle of a project and having to puzzle out the size and where you are in the pattern. My best guess (not having seen the details of the pattern) would be $100 if you had to knit more than 2/3 of the sweater and $80 if you had to knit less than half of the sweater. I am including a $15 “drop” fee in each price. It probably doesn’t come out to a lot per hour of knitting, but what can you do? IF you were to charge even $10 per hour, a pair of mittens or socks could run between $150 to $300.

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