Oct 032014

Dear Reader,

This week I’ve been on listening to music spree. That is why I’ve been dragging the subject about crocheting for so long. But today, this post will be more to the point.

Last time I said I was invited to go to Ireland for the summer, in 2012. While staying there, I couldn’t find a job, because, well, I was basically just a tourist and couldn’t get all the legal documentation (address, bank account, bills, and the like). So, I had to find something else to do.  Seeing that my You Tube channel was growing a bit, I thought of doing different kinds of videos. I am gonna complain about something right now, and I hope I won’t upset anyone, because I have the highest respect for the famous You Tube crocheters (like Crochet Geek, Mike Sellick, BobWillson123). A lot of the crocheting that I know now I’ve learned from them. However, a lot of their tutorials missed a step, or an explanation, or something else that made things harder for me to understand at times. That is when the idea of making crochet tutorials came to my mind… Long and very explanatory tutorials, which would show viewers step by step, stitch by stitch instructions to help them. The kind of tutorials I wanted other people before me to have made when I first started crocheting.

Dear Reader, you will probably think that I am the most arrogant crocheter, saying things like the above. But I am not, really. I never thought of myself as a teacher, and I will probably never do so. When I started making my tutorials, I was just a beginner myself, who was trying to share her love for crocheting to the world. My first tutorials were sloppy, I talked too much, I got overexcited, I did not have the skills nor the equipment to edit the videos (that is why a lot of my tutorials are split in 3-7 parts). I didn’t like how my voice sounded, and so on. But I was finally putting myself out there, and more and more people became interested in my work. A month or so after, when I reached my first 10,000 views, You Tube invited me to join their partnership program. If you don’t know what that means you can find more information here. In short, it means You Tube will place ads on your videos and you get paid every time some one clicks on the ads. This is how a lot of people around the world make a living.

I won’t talk about my staying in Ireland. It is another whole story in itself. All I can say is that the dream was over in September 2012, when I had to come back home to Romania. My lifestyle was as bad as before. I continued with the lies and the loneliness and the bad habits, but never stopped hoping that one day it was going to get better. Meanwhile, my You Tube channel reached 1,000 subscribers and its first 100,000 views. As I mentioned before, Romania was not yet included in the You Tube partnership. However, sometime in April 2013, I logged on You Tube and saw the banner that said “Monetize your video, join the You Tube Program now”. At first, I thought it was a fluke, some sort of an error, but the message wasn’t going away. So, I applied and got accepted a few hours later. I had to have an AdSense account as well to get paid and this is something I did not dare to apply for. I didn’t know ,then, that Romania got accepted into the program, during that month. In the meantime, I bought a very cool domain name (coolorful.com) and joined Facebook with a page for the website.

I was invited to go back to Ireland. It was a huge risk going back, for so many reasons. But the person I was looking at in the mirror was hideous to me and every cell in my body was craving for a change. A took a plunge, and decided to go back to Ireland and start taking over the world with my crocheting art. During my stay in my home town I didn’t make any tutorials. Many viewers wrote to me and asked me when I was going to upload new videos. Some of you, guys, wrote me some incredible messages that, honestly, made me cry at times. What a great feeling it was to know that people all over the world took your work seriously, when people around you, including your family, didn’t.

While back in Ireland, I faced the same legal issues as a year before. But I was dead set to make it through my art. I got myself a new camera, I started creating patterns and learning new ones, I started making new tutorials, I learned how to edit them, I took thousands of photos and made photo tutorials as well, and I began to put this part of my life together. I went to bed early, and woke up when the alarm rang in the morning, and never allowed myself to waste another minute in bed (my sleeping is that bad). I spent up to 12 hours a day on my crochet business. It was exhausting at times, frustrating, very meticulous and loved every second of it. Sometimes I would even forget to eat, just to have a project done. I never got bored with it. There was always something new and exciting to find and do and my imagination was stirred all the time. The expected results did not fail to show. My videos views grew higher and higher each month and more and more of you, Dear Readers and Viewers, subscribed to my channel. Attached below are a photo of how my You Tube channel looked like and one showing how it looks now.

You Tube Views and Subscribers September 2013

You Tube Views and Subscribers September 2013

You Tube Views and Subscribers October 2014

You Tube Views and Subscribers October 2014

The most surprising was the growth of my site. From an unknown site that was in June, 2013, it turned into getting a little over 100 hits a day, three months later. And all genuine, organic traffic from Google, Facebook, You Tube, Pinterest and other sources. I never bought ad placement from anywhere, but I was very interested in SEO and internet marketing (I’ll talk a little more about this a bit later). In a way, college did help me, after all. It taught me how to promote myself and my business freely. Yes, the bounce rate was a little high, and the average time spent on a page wasn’t very high, but it still was a good start for a website like mine, when the competition is so high, even in the crochet circle. I don’t know if anybody knows what a joy it was to work on coolorful.com. I even created a community on my website and many of you joined the forum and started talking about crocheting an other hobbies. Attached below is a screenshot of how my baby used to look and another one with Google Analytics statistics for my website last year. Maybe, one of the things I am most proud of is when searching for the key word crochet in Google, the engine placed me 3rd in the search results, with a post on Google + (screenshot is attached below).

Google Search for Crochet

Google Search for Crochet

Lots of my Romanian fellows suggested that I make tutorials in Romanian. I took the suggestion into account and started a You Tube channel called Arta Manuala and a website artamanuala.com (it means handmade art). They were supposed to be the Romanian versions of my English crochet site and You Tube channel. They were growing nicely as well and gaining rapid popularity.

It is important not to forget to mention that I did start to monetize my work, both on my You Tube channel and my site. However, the AdSense account was not on my name, which was another stupid mistake I made. In time I set my goals even higher. The plan was to start a yarn shop on coolorful.com and get my sister involved in a crazy and fun project to travel around Romania and meet people who make a living through art. All sorts of arts. Crocheting… Knitting… Yarn coloring… Yarn making… Painting… Sculpturing… Drawing… Traditional arts… Everything artistic that involved working with your hands… We have some amazing local artisans. I dreamed of meeting these special people, taking their interviews, making short documentaries about their work, and even have them teach us how to do different things.

Do you believe my dreams stopped there? No, no, no. I never told Ana this, but my dream was to do the same all around the world and come into contact with all sorts of customs, see how people do things in different places, see what level of creativity a person’s mind can reach…I’m using a lot of the word “see”, something I’m unable to do at the moment. I believe a lot of my frustration comes from the fact that I was very close to reach the first level of that goal and make a nice living through crocheting. If done properly, the dream was going to become real around this time. Oh…there is something else that I’m forgetting…I also wanted to write a book for crochet beginners with lots of photo tutorials and patterns. I became interested in knitting and sewing on a more advanced scale.

Coolorful.com was going to become a “place” for arts and crafts, home and garden, interior design, cooking, decorating, DIY and lots more… A place where every woman, and man with these interests, could take part in.

I lost the website in December, 2013, while in the hospital and all the written instructions, and the hundreds of hours that I put into this site are now gone. At the moment, the domain is in idle mode, just like my thousands of crochet photos, just like my crochet hooks, just like my You Tube channel was about to, and just like my life is now…idle

Collection of Free Crochet Patterns and Stitches

Collection of Free Crochet Patterns and Stitches

I am unable to make video tutorials, but I still remember a lot of the crochet stitches that I made photo tutorials for. So, when time allows, my sister and I will try and put them together. It should tickle my imagination, I hope.

There is a lot more I want to say about crocheting, but the conclusion will be put aside for another time.

Thank you,

Catalina Stan.

  One Response to “My Soft Spot for Crocheting – The Sequel”

  1. I totally love that you had such ambitions to bring attention to all the artisans doing needle and fiber arts around Romania. I could totally imagine you still being able to do this with your sister — you’d be amazed at all the things our fellow Blind people have done, and with your sister as a guide and assistant, I would not at all be surprised if one day you could realize that dream. <3 (heart)

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