If you’ve been knitting for more than a hot minute (especially in public), you probably have had someone request that you make something for them. It’s always kind of awkward, especially if you don’t really know the person. I am not opposed to making things for other people, but my response is governed by how I’m asked.
Here are some responses that I’ve come up with:
1. “Oh, you knit? Make me a scarf.” In my brain I immediately reply “No! You rude person.” But what I say is: “Sure! I’d love to make you something. If you pick out a pattern and get buy the materials, I’d be happy to make it for you!” I have never had anyone go through the hassle of actually buying the yarn, so they get no scarf from me.
2. “I love the socks that you’re making! Could I pay you to make some for me, too?” This is trickier, because they are actually willing to put forward some money/effort to get you to make them something, which I approve of. But, most non-knitters don’t realize how much effort goes into a pair of socks (or any other project). Let’s say that it takes 10 hours to knit a pair of socks (which is crazy fast, but I like round numbers). And, minimum wage in Washington is about $9 an hour. That comes to $90 for labor, plus another $10-20 for materials, so you end up with a $100 pair of socks. The point is, you’re not going to make money knitting. If I am actually interested in making the project, I’ll usually will give them the same deal that I give folks from the first group (although they are much more likely to follow through). If I don’t want to make the project, I usually laugh awkwardly try to change the subject.
3. “Allison, would you be able to make me a very special hat to match the color of my coat, and could it have a pattern so that it goes with those mittens I got for Christmas last year?” These requests I almost always fulfill. It’s clear that they have really thought about what they are looking for, and they are very polite about asking for it (weird, right?!). Usually, though, I’ll keep these projects secret until birthdays or Christmas when I need to pull out a really great present.