My quest began with a link a friend sent me to an article in the New York Times about how the newly unemployed were getting rich selling their crafts on Etsy. I could not stop thinking about it. I love to knit. One of the crafters featured is a woman who said she now knits 13 hours a day while listening to podcasts and makes $140k annually.
Heck, I could do that. At least, the knitting and listening to podcasts part.
I looked at the work and figured out that this particular person was knitting with bulky yarn to speed production. Hm. That’s not so interesting to me. I like working with smaller yarns on smaller needles. But how could I possibly sell a sweater for an adult and make any money? The knitting takes to long.
I chewed on this for a while longer.
Aha, epiphany! I’d knit up baby clothes. They’re small, I can knit them quickly with yarns I love.
I set about finding patterns to knit and realized duh: the pattern designers hold copyright to works produced from their patterns. No prob. I’ve been a designer all my life. I started teaching myself how to design knitwear. I’ve completed my first child’s sweater pattern and am in the process of teaching myself how to transcribe it into a readable pattern that others could use.
Meanwhile, my husband (also known as The Wet Blanket) pointed out that I should check out regulations regarding the manufacture of children’s clothing. I began investigating. I’d get around the flammability requirements by not knitting sleepwear. (We’ll all just ignore the fact that all infant clothing is, perforce, sleepwear, okay?) Next, I learned that I could not include drawstrings. Okay, no drawstrings, no big deal. Then I discovered the regulation that stumped me.
There are regulations about how much lead can be included in the dyes used in the manufacture of children’s clothing. Having seen my son’s friends suck their clothing at preschool, this seemed a reasonable regulation to me. I began writing to yarn manufacturers, asking how much lead was in their yarns produced and marketed for children’s clothing. Some did not respond at all, some responded and said they didn’t know, and some said they were not required to comply with the regulations because they sold yarn for hand knitting, not children’s clothing.
I emailed the Consumer Product Safety Commission: the government agency that regulates the manufacture of children’s clothing. I have not heard back from them.
Research continued. I learned that if I used un-dyed fibers, I am okay in terms of these regulations. I like the colors Toast, Cinnamon, and Wheat as much as the next person. They even make me hungry to think about. But I also like brilliant colors. I ordered some natural-colored un-dyed yarns to experiment with and continued my quest to find a legal way to incorporate color into my products.
On Thursday, I got my Single Skein Club package from Twisted, a favorite LYS here in Portland, Oregon. Huzzah! Perhaps the answer to my prayers. A naked skein of yarn was included with packets of Kool Aid. I chatted with the staff at Twisted and asked how color-fast Kool Aid dyes are. They’ll fade over time. Which left me thinking: who cares? The baby will have outgrown it by then.
I’m about to go embark on my first attempt at dying a skein of yarn with Kool Aid. Results and info to come.