The story of the $1300 Poncho

$1300-Poncho_3Snoop shopping is fantastic in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Long gone are the days of coyotes with bandanas! Designer labels and art-to-wear where abundant when my husband and I were there last Thanksgiving. At Santa Fe Dry Goods, I had great fun trying on Issey Miyake jackets. Then I discovered Sophi Hong who uses mud dyed silk for her luscious coats and jackets. I used a few of her little details on my recent black shirt like the stitches on the placket indicating snap locations.

My generous husband bought me a number of fabulous things at some of the other stores (I guess I’m not going on a ready-to-wear fast anytime soon). Then at one store I spotted a big pile of knitting on a lower shelf and pulled it out. It was a soft, squishy, lovely, yummy big armful of yarn that turned out to be a big poncho with a pouch pocket. I was in love, and slipped it on…more in love. Cashmere I asked? No, it was 50% alpaca and 50% merino and it was hand knit AND 1300 dollars! I eyed it up for a minute and folded it back up. I can make that I thought to myself.


How often we say that and don’t ever take the project on, but when I got home I started planning. I decided that Blue Sky Bulky Alpaca Naturals was the identical yarn. I bought one skein locally to swatch and plan the pattern. This yarn is a super bulky and I finally went with #17 needles and about 7 stitches for 4”.


After planning and swatching, I ordered 23 skeins just to be safe. It took 20 for the poncho I made, and took about 30 hours of knitting. Those stitches were pretty hard on my hands and I managed to knit about 5” per 2-hour movie.

I tell all of this because it is interesting to note that $1300 is not an inappropriate price. The wholesale price for a $1300 piece of clothing can be calculated to at least half of retail at $650. I received a bulk discount at, however the yarn still cost $217.50 (I’m sure a designer can get this yarn for even less). Then I knit for 30 hours. Even at $10.00 an hour that would be $300 and at $20 an hour we are way over the wholesale target. I’m not even including designer showroom and rep costs or shipping.


Wow, it’s no wonder hand knits are so expensive. I’m going to go hug my poncho…yummy!

12 thoughts on “The story of the $1300 Poncho

  1. Ooh! Warm!! Good for you for following through on making it yourself. It’s perfect.

    As a handspinner I’m always amazed that bulky yarn comes in such teensy balls. On my big bobbins that would only be about 8 or 9 skeins max. That’s a lot less ends to join! However spinning takes so much more time to make a sweater that you can’t really put a price on it in the end. Fun though!

  2. That is a beautiful poncho! You are right, quality yarn, especially a chunky wool, is NOT cheap! I also adore Santa Fe Dry Goods. 🙂

  3. What a story! At first I thought you bought it and said to myself, “She could have knit that!” Then, realized you DID! So beautiful and you look so happy, which is the most beautiful part.

  4. I saw you in the original….this is better!….and knit in the dark…amazing.
    Love the twirling action!

  5. Your poncho is wonderful! And, yes, here is no way a knitter could really make any real money selling her projects if she values her time at a decent hourly rate.

  6. yOU CAn play in the snow, stay in the Ice Hotel or? how much does poncho weigh? Loks yumy on Backspacer isn’t working so i’m gone Love, Mom

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