I've been making a lot of felt ornaments/finger puppets/etc., lately.
This is because:
• It's something concrete I can focus on. I like stuff that I actually physically make with my own hands.
• It's zen, for me. And a total indulgence in time. Sure, I go to bed at 3 a.m., but I'm ALONE in the quiet house watching whatever tv I want (or nothing at all).
• I enjoy the challenge of creating the patterns and then executing them; deciding how to layer everything for effect, etc.
• I'm actually pretty good at it. That increases the satisfaction level.
• People are impressed by it, generally (even if they think I'm a little off my rocker) and I enjoy people being impressed by me. Narcissistic, maybe, but true.
• The damned supplies are already all over. (As long as they're out I think that I might as well keep going. Because if I clean them up nicely and put them away...it's going to be a long time before I revisit them again.)
Some, I've given away as gifts. Some I'm going to keep. But every time I post them I get mentions of selling them. (Which are honestly the best intentioned and very flattering--so I'm not complaining in the least.)
The thing is...it's really a labor of love.
I made this ornament most recently:
(It's Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)
It took...oh...just under 3 hours to make? Probably a little less if I hadn't been interrupted occasionally by friend chats or whatnot. It was 3 episodes of Doctor Who.
So what would I sell this for? The materials are fairly cheap (~30-50 cents a page for felt, 30 cents for embroidery floss, etc.), but designing the pattern, cutting out the pattern pieces, cutting out the felt, doing stitching detail (that collar tho!), etc. is time consuming.
A felt ornament, in a store, would go for $2-5, maybe. Something fancy might be up to $10.
That's a totally fair price for a felt ornament. I don't know that people would pay more. But it's not worth the time for me for $10.
Hence the crafter's quandary. People are used to paying $50 for a really nice blanket and would balk at paying $250 for a handmade quilt--even though that would (maybe!) be only cost-recovery on materials and time.
Why pay $500+ for an original painting when you can get a nice looking print for $15 (framed and ready to go for under $50)?
Handmade things cost more, but a lot of people don't have the luxury of paying more when cheap, readily-available goods are everywhere. And, for the most part, these aren't items one *needs*.
Plus, well, we're not talking perfection here. My stitches could be improved (I made some mistakes on the collar that wouldn't happen in a second iteration), I would change hair color, I would fix the lip-technique and eyes. If I had an embroidery machine it would go much more quickly (but I also don't like the machine-embroidered look as much).
So I'd feel bad charging more. I'm not sure what the "worth it" price would be to me, honestly. Or what the market would bear (I wouldn't want to over-charge, either).
So I think I'm just going to create pattern instructions to go with the patterns and sell them for $1-2 a pop. Something that you'd feel okay impulse-buying and you'd even feel okay knowing that your ambition might outstrip your execution and you'd have an unused pattern lying around forever (the TNG busy book pattern I bought was $10...I figured if I never actually got around to it it was no huge loss).