It’s “Weigh Day”!
There is a lot of discussion among society regarding transparency within the clothing and textile industries, including how things are made and priced. When we are pricing pieces, prices are based on three things: the weight of fibre, the length of time it takes to create a piece (labour), and dyeing costs (materials and time). I’ve always felt this pricing method is fair and transparent as it reflects the different material and process costs, and even more so, the cost of labour.
No matter the piece, labour is always the most significant price factor, which makes sense when you consider our pieces are “yarn forward factory free”.
I always feel it is important, and interesting, to know about how things are made. It is part of the story of our knitwear.
As we continue with #marchmeetthemaker, the next theme to discuss is “Time” . Such an interesting topic. In creating ethical textiles, everything takes a lot of time. Designing. Prepping . Dyeing. Knitting. Finishing.
Time is also a huge factor in how items are priced. Pricing of items is based solely on two factors, the materials used, and the time it takes to produce a piece. Each piece is weighed to determine the amount of materials used, and timed for the labor allowance when determining price. The most expensive portion of creating a piece is the actual time spent making the piece.
Certain types of pieces have higher price points reflecting the time spent creating it. Large pieces, like scarves, take longer to knit. Technical pieces, like a sweater, take a very long time, as can textured or fine knit pieces. Dyed pieces can be the most expensive, due to the fibre prep, dyeing, and skeining; naturally dyed pieces are very labor intensive.
Time is a major factor in the world of handcrafted ethical knitwear.
@w1hundred (on Instagram and Facebook)
Today we continue with the #marchmeetthemaker posts; the theme is “hands at work”.
Textiles created by hand, and factory free, are a rare thing in this era. The majority of the pieces we are currently creating are knit manually on flat bed style knitters.
Knitting, using vintage flat bed knitters is very physical work. Arms, shoulders, back and hands are active for hours. The average scarf ranges from 600 to 1300 rows. That equates to moving your arms, side to side knitting, 600 to 1300 times… constantly. I think most people think of knitting as being serene and relaxing, flat bed knitting is not, it’s physical labour.
In addition to producing knits with manual power, we also dye all our yarns by hand, in natural dyes, prior to knitting. This includes crafting the dyes, prepping the yarn, dyeing, rinsing, and skeining. In a world of mass production, the methods in which we create knitwear is very different.
During the month of March many creatives participate in #marchmeetthemaker , which is a way to share with others aspects of their creative process. The first prompt was “story”, which I thought would be nice to share.
W1 Hundred was born out of an interest of textiles, local fibres, and ethical, ecological and historic practices. I started knitting at age 6 and sewing at age 9. Add in an Art diploma and a fascination with natural dyeing, and a business was formed.
As the business progresses, it is interesting to see the challenges created by staying true to core values, especially in a world of mass produced product. However, the core values are the main story: factory free knits, carefully selected materials, natural dyeing, Canadian produced wool, and Canadian inspired pieces. Pieces built out of a belief in quality and process, and pieces crafted to last.
Organic cotton. This is one of the fibres I am knitting with today.
Choosing materials mindfully is incredibly important. The piece may look similar to others on the market, yet it makes its statement through its ethics, respect for farm worker, and the environment .
Finding ethical materials to work with isn’t always the easiest, but it is worth it to be able to create clothing with a conscious. Fashion can be done environmentally and ethically “correct” with just a little extra effort.