Jolene of Knothing But Crafty tells us her story: crochet and fiber art, how she came to open her ArtFire store, and the future of her handmade business:
My name is Jolene and I’m an avid fiber artist. I love to work with yarn, whether that be crochet, loom knitting or one day hopefully knitting. I’m still currently teaching myself to knit — it’s a long process, but one day I hope to be great at it.
I was born and raised in California. I lived there most of my life, and have recently moved to North Carolina for a job my boyfriend accepted. I will always love California, but North Carolina is very nice: the people here are very sweet and the surrounding area is beyond beautiful, full of trees and greenery that remind me so much of the northern part of my home state.
My shop Knothing But Crafty is full of fiber, anything and everything yarn. I’m newer to the selling community, so I’m still working on building up my selection, but one day I know it’ll be even better than it already is now. I sell all sorts of things ranging from amigurumi dolls to hats, slippers, hacky sacks, and everything in between. I work on custom orders as well, which I love doing because it gives me a bit of a challenge as well as an idea of what people are looking for in the handmade community.
My process first starts by figuring out what to make, which can come from any source of inspiration. I sometimes search through patterns I have on hand in books or magazines and tweak them to make them my own, or I start from scratch and make something up 100% on my own, whichever method works best for the given project.
Once I’ve figured out how to make it, I then work on colors and textures, which usually means a trip to the ever-beloved yarn shop! I stand amidst the wonderful vastness of beautiful yarn colors, textures and material choices — acrylic, bamboo, cashmere, hand-dyed — and I begin selecting them one by one until I’ve picked what’s best for the project.
When I come home, that’s when the real creative fun begins. Each project has a different labor time attached to it: they can usually go from a full day’s work to complete one thing or sometimes weeks, but I’m okay with that because I love what I do. On my blog I write about all things related to my shop, including my journey to learn to knit!
I’ve always been a creative person, starting from a very young age; I would draw, color, paint and make random things as a child like Barbie furniture. I first learned to work with yarn from my grandmother about 7 years ago. I was home, bored, on summer break from school and thought to myself, “I need something to do”, so I wandered down the street to grandma’s house to have her show me something new. She showed me a ball of yarn and a crochet hook.
As a child I’ve always been super creative, making all sorts of odd ball things, and my grandmother is the same way. I would often go to her for new creative ideas, and she would teach me something new to do. Crocheting is one of the many things she’s taught me that has stuck. I now work with yarn on a daily basis and I love it!
Now when she and I talk, we often speak of crocheting, yarn and all things fiber arts. I love having that bond with her! She is someone I happily call my crochet role model, because even though she is a role model on all levels, when it comes to crochet, her opinions alone mean the world to me.
Anything and everything inspires me. If I see a trend happening with fiber arts, I’ll try and make it my own, put my own spin on it. If someone suggests something to me, tells me “you should make this,” then I’ll put my spin on those things: different colors, textures, patterns.
I’ve always been like this, even as a young child; I can look at something odd and miniscule and pull some inspiration out of it, make something beautiful and useful.
Last Christmas I was browsing for something cool and handmade that I couldn’t make myself to buy as a gift for my boyfriend. About a month after I made my purchase from the seller, I received a mass email from her saying she was moving to ArtFire because of some issues she was having with her current selling venue.
I had been wondering myself if I should take a chance and start up a shop to sell my handmade items, but was held back because I couldn’t figure out the taxes involved with selling online as well as a few other things. So, instead of wondering about it, I took a chance and emailed that seller, telling her I wanted to try and set up shop and asked her what ArtFire was, as well as many many other questions.
She told me loads of information and was very helpful and willing to help me out with whatever she could; by the end of our month-long conversation I now understood how to report state sales tax, and how cool the ArtFire community was. So I set up shop! If it wasn’t for this woman I would probably still just be wondering where and how to start this process and still not know about the ArtFire community, so I’m very thankful to her for helping me out with the entire process!
In five years, hopefully, I will still be selling online — because you never know what will happen. Hopefully by then, I’ll have more of a “following” with my customers, as I’m still pretty new to this. I’ve been selling now for almost a year, and it takes time to build that up.
I also hope that within five years, I can help others the way I was helped in setting up my shop, or help other sellers whom are already set up with whatever help they need and I can provide. I hope to just be successful in all my efforts running my online shop, and hope I can help others along the way!
This may sound cliché, but never give up. If you don’t know where to start, ask someone, you never know, they may help you out! You never know until you try, and if you don’t try all you’ll be left with is: “I wonder what would’ve happened if…”
Go for what you want and make it happen, success doesn’t happen overnight and it’s rarely handed to someone, but if you work hard at it every day, one day you’ll get there and that makes it all worth it!