In Response to Diane P. on Fair Fiber Wages

I come from the background of doing the machine knitting circuit but am familiar with the handknitting one also. I’ve done numerous aspects in my fiber career: teacher on the circuit, sponsor of those “big conventions”, publisher, and finally a yarn shop owner.

First off, when I look at the list of teachers for many of these show, very few of the names are recognizable anymore.

My reaction is to yawn and then not sign up for classes.

Successful people making a living in fiberarts create an excitement by having outlandish personalities or innovative classes.

To [sic] much of what I see out there nowadays isn’t worth the price of a class at those shows because the local stores can have their employees do the same thing at a much lower cost to attendees.

No longer do we have names attached to books, etc.

XRX boosted the careers of many people by promoting them at their events and that is hard to put a price tag on. World has changed and that is not as common any more, hence the yawn and why I don’t know your name as a teacher.

Hence why my customers don’t know your name so bring you in as a teacher for a private event has little draw to them. Where is the newness of Shadow Knitting, Mitered Squares, Brioche. I can buy a $20 book to learn 30 ways to cast on. Why take a $120 class?

Next, when did all the teachers become divas.

What is wrong with sharing a room with another teacher, or being in someone’s home overnight while at a private shop? Did it many times in my teaching career and most times I was treated royally. Worst case was more then tolerable.

$75 per day for food? What are you eating, steak for breakfast?

This diva attitude is why teachers can’t make a living and let me give you an example of what I mean.

Say you teach at the “big show” for 3 days, 6 hours a day. You have a travel day beforehand and a travel day afterwards. That is 5 days of “work” for $2250 ($125 per hr x 6 x3).

Now lets say a teacher is shop friendly.

You set up a circuit of 3 stores you will teach at. Leave on Friday (assuming you are driving), teach at the first store Sat & Sun, drive to the second store Monday, teach Tues & Wed, drive to third store on Thurs, teach Fri & Sat, drive home on Sunday.

You set up a circuit of 3 stores you will teach at. Leave on Friday (assuming you are driving), teach at the first store Sat & Sun, drive to the second store Monday, teach Tues & Wed, drive to third store on Thurs, teach Fri & Sat, drive home on Sunday.

You charge the first and third store $1000 per day, inclusive, and you accept sleeping in someone’s home.

The second store, being in the middle of the week where it will be harder to get students, pays $800 per day.

You would then make $5600, of the equivalent of booking 2 “big shows” back to back (10 days of work/travel), subtracting $4500 (2 fully booked shows of $2250) leaving $1100 to cover travel expenses and meals (which will be less since your host usually feeds you anyway).

The shop has a chance of making money because they can charge the students $75 per day (20 students $50 each covers the teachers $1000 fee+ lunch) and students will create a waiting list because they are getting 6 hours of good education for a very reasonable fee. The shop owner makes a profit on the sales of having 20–40 people in their store generate. This scenario helps both the teachers and the shops, which are being priced out of the market.

From a store perspective, I would definitely sponsor someone in if the financial risk to me were half Abby’s chart.

Don’t forget either that if we continue losing stores at the rate of the past few years, those events such as the DFW FiberFest will eventually suffer because no one is doing the basic teaching. Just a different perspective, let the arrows fly.

--

--

was bred by anthropologists to preserve textile lore and engage in written slapfights. http://patreon.com/abbysyarns http://abbysyarns.com

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store