My new website & Shop…

Hello everyone, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been truly active here at rensfibreart… so what have I been up to, you ask? Well, over the past few months, my mojo has been rather sluggish. It happens to us all at sometime & getting it back can be tough. Letting things coast along as they are is easy. However, stepping out of your comfort zone can be daunting & requires a degree of bravery.

First things first: I’ve had this wordpress website for over 10 years & it’s always served me well but the theme has become old, unsupported & not mobile friendly. It definitely needed a change. This had to be my 1st challenge so I took the plunge. There was a bit of a muck around getting photos back in line on all the information pages for better reading & to keep the page attractive. All in all, not too difficult, just time consuming; hopefully I’ve succeeded.

Secondly: My Etsy shop; again, it’s been open since 2009 &, I have to say, Etsy has been good to me. It’s given me lots of exposure & the fabulous opportunity to sell my creations to a worldwide audience. I’ve made some wonderful friendships & loyal customers who have given me the confidence to keep going. However, Etsy has become so big that small handmade sellers like myself are getting lost in the crowd. My sales are still OK but nowhere near what they used to be. Of course there are many of reasons for this: the slow economy, saturated markets, more competition,  perhaps handmade is losing its appeal. Whatever the reason, a rethink was definitely on the cards.

So my next step: was to upgrade my site to business & open my own WooCommerce shop. This was the biggest gamble of all. A huge learning curve that I’m sure will be ongoing for some time. The support team here at wordpress have been fabulous & an enormous help with my bumbling efforts.

The outcome: I now have a mobile friendly website with a ecommerce shop. I will keep my Etsy shop open for the time being selling all my crochet patterns &, as items expire, I’ll transfer them into my rensfibreart shop. The biggest obstacle & my main concern is getting traffic. That’s something I’m going to have to work hard at & learn more about as I go.

The whole experience has certainly taxed my brain, energy &, at times, my patience, but at the same time it’s given me new drive.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, I hope this will be a fresh, new beginning. I’d love to hear your thoughts & comments & welcome any suggestions.

A Beginners’ Crochet Notebook…

A Beginners’ Crochet Notebook… click here for the tutorial

I receive many, many emails from folk needing help with their crochet; not only from frustrated beginners, but also from those who have been crocheting for a while asking, what for some are, fairly basic questions… But there is no such thing as a silly, stupid or ‘I should know this’ type of query, even after many years of crocheting there are always new things to learn.

 

And so, I’ve put together this Beginners’ Crochet Notebook to help those of you who want to start crocheting but don’t know where to begin. And, even though I’ve written this notebook mainly with the novice in mind, that doesn’t mean the more experience crocheter won’t find a few helpful tips as well.

~What hooks to use with which yarn. 

~Which yarns are: animal, plant or synthetic. 

~How to read patterns. 

~What those scary, abbreviations & symbols mean…&  lots more.

 

I’ve done my best to gathered together answers to the most frequent questions I receive, but of course, it’s impossible to have an answer for everything. There is so much more information I could have included in this Notebook; so much more the reader might find useful; but it’s such a fine line between cramming in too much & overwhelming you.

Nevertheless, I trust this tutorial is a comprehensive journey through the crochet basics for the beginner & others, & that it encourages you to venture forth with a little more confidence & understanding of this wonderful craft.

Season’s Greeting from the Land of Down Under…

Hi everyone, as another year nears its end, & I reflect back, I realise the many goals I had set for myself have gone by-the-way… One being updating my blog with new helpful crochet information & another, completing new crochet patterns…All are in the pipeline, just waiting for me to get on with it…

2018 will be remembered by me as the year of technical malfunctions… from personal household stuff to Government introduced NBN… Everything is now purring away as it should & I’m hopeful it will stay that way for a long time to come so I can get back to the things I enjoy: creating, inspiring, learning & not to mention, my over-grown, neglected garden.

Firstly, I’d like to thank all the lovely ladies who have participated in Crochet Classes this year; your support & friendship has been wonderful & most appreciated… I’d also like to send a special mention & Congratulations to the new beginners who have been coming along to class… it’s very gratifying for me to see you gaining confidence as your skills grow… I look forward to another year with you all.

I’d also like to thank everyone who has contacted me throughout the year. I really value your lovely compliments & feedback &, the requests for advise with those tricky stitches that we come across from time to time, I hope I’ve been helpful…

Another gracious, ‘Thank You’ must go to all my Etsy, Ravelry, Craftsy & Zibbet customers, most of which are international &, I really appreciate your trust & taking the time to leave great feedback.

2018 ~ Alice Springs Beanie Festival comp was fun. I received a ‘Special Mention’ for my ‘Blue Planet T-Cosy,’ which the judges mistook as a beanie, Whaaa! Ha! What a hoot! Goes to show how freeform can confuse the best of us.

~ Maleny Knitfest seems to be growing bigger each year, much to the delight of the organisers. Thanks again to Robyn Bailey who looked after my trade stall & helped customers after while I workshopped. Competition entries were very low this year, nevertheless, the standard was high. I won the Best Scarf award & 2nd prize for Best Beanie. 

~ The Landsborough Tea Cosy/Beanie Challenge’ had a large increase in entries & I was lucky to win the Best Tea Cosy…

~ &, for the computer nerds, I’m now on Instagram… bit of self promotion doesn’t hurt… or, so I’m told.

Here’s hoping 2019 brings new inspirations & more interesting crochet challenges. I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas & all the very best for the New Year ahead… cheers, Renate

And the results are…. Maleny Knitfest & Alice Springs Beanie Fest 2018….

What a fabulous weekend it’s been for beanie enthusiasts & fibre tragics across Australia… From all reports Alice Springs Beanie Festival was a gigantic success & had its best sales ever… As always, the competition entries were amazing & huge congratulations to all the winners. You can find the winner’s list & photos here . Caroline Payne won the Acquisition award, a huge honour. Megan Jack also received special mention for her Dark Emu. Congratulations to both of you.

these were my 2 competition entries: both sold so I’m pretty happy about that, yay!!

(1) Cosmic Goddess:

(2) The Blue Planet… received special mention for the Embellishment category:

And so to the Maleny Knitfest. The weather was perfect & people came from far & wide. It’s getting bigger each year which the organisers must be thrilled about. The assortment of trade stalls selling beautiful yarns & fibres were buzzing with customers & workshops were overflowing with happy participants learning new & exciting skills. A big thank you to all the ladies who attended my 2 workshops. I hope I inspired & increased your crochet repertoire… Another huge thank you goes  to Robyn Bailey, my trade stall off-sider, I always say it & I’ll say it again… I couldn’t have done it without you… You are a champion!!!

Knitfest competitions entries were down from last year, nevertheless some awesome pieces were on display… Tea cosy prizes were won by Jivan Leela,  sorry I don’t have photos or a link. Caroline Payne won 1st prize for character beanie & 2nd for shawl… Megan Jack won 1st prize for beanie… These 2 girls ripped it this weekend, I must ask them what’s in their water…

These were my entries: I won 1st prize for shawl & 2nd for both character beanie & beanie… a great result all round

(1) Shawl:

(2) Character Beanie:

(3) Beanie:

And so the fibre madness has come to an end… thank you to everyone who came along to say hello, & for all the lovely compliments you gave me about my work…

… So, that’s a wrap for 2018 (no pun intended)… but, let’s make it a date for 2019…

Cheers Renate…