Teaching ha!

March 23rd 

After trying to get together with the talented Helen from The Colour House for over a year we finally managed to pinpoint a date and despite potential illnesses afoot we did get it together.  Was the wait worth it, well yes and no!

We had decided to share our passions and talents, first up would be me, teaching Helen to crochet and later on, we hope that she will help me to continue my journey with felt.  In prepping for our meeting I stalked her Instagram ~  Helen on IG and decided that as she had informed me she was not interested in making blankets and cushions, that amigurumi would be the way forward. Seeing how cacti featured numerous times on her IG account, I decided that would be what she would learn to make first.  Ambitious, no of course not, she says in hindsight through gritted teeth and after several glasses of vodka to calm the nerves so to speak.  Are you beginning to realise where this post is going...

The below photos are pinched from Helen's IG to give you an idea why I chose cacti...

Helen is a whizz on the sewing machine, here she is
making a lampshade cover with applique cacti

Both glass and felted cacti made by Helen

They multiplied on her craft room window

Her goodies from a craft swap from the crochet guru Flo and Dot

So I set to not having much experience myself with amigurumi and came up with these little cacti and hot-footed it over to the local indie garden centre to purchase some mini terracotta pots...

A simple rectangle made into a cactus
and the obligatory single large flower

True amigurumi crochet works in the round

A trio of cacti

This saw me driving on a beautiful spring morning the hour and a half drive towards Helen and me in search of her purple door.  A great indication of the explosion of colour and treats on which to feast my eyes on within her home.

Having never met or even spoken on the phone before we had so much to chat about that crochet was put to one side for the first hour.  I do believe we could have chatted all day.  And my goodness I could have strolled around her house for much longer.  She has so much colour and beauty in her home, she knows how to put things together, but I should not have been surprised she is one of my favourites to follow on IG.

Not being able to put it off any longer and after several hot beverages it was time for me to teach Helen to crochet, something she has wanted to do for many years, her mother spins, weaves, knits and crochets.  Hang on, why did her mother not then teach her...

"Oh, did I not say, I am left handed.."

"Ah, no, you did not," I replied sweetly,  thinking frantically,  'oh my gosh how is this going to work out, I have absolutely no idea about teaching a leftie.'  As my helpful husband mentioned late that same night, "Rookie mistake Selma, you should always check..."  Yes thank you, John, I realise that, but I hadn't.  And there I was standing in Helen's kitchen thinking, 'how hard can this be?'  Turns out, pretty dam hard actually.

Taking a deep breath and not trying to think that I was ambitious already in the make I had chosen to undertake with Helen, I was teaching her the magic circle for goodness sake on her first foray into the world of crochet, so I tried hard not to worry that she was, as she called it, cack-handed and with trembling hands I began to show her and to explain.  It was totally hopeless, Helen now tells me my face was a picture and she read it as 'Selma wants to be anywhere but here right now,'  she wasn't far wrong I have to say.

We tried everything, mirroring each other, sitting opposite, sitting side by side, taking it slowly, me repeating it many times, it was just not that simple.  But somehow through Helen's sheer determination and a lot of sweat glow dripping down my back and under my arms, Helen grasped the magic circle and the beginning of some stitches.  It took a long time, due in most part to my inability to work out how a left handed person works, the next time I will really research it because believe me, it is not straightforward mirroring or exactly the opposite of how a right handed person works. If I could have backed out of Helen's kitchen without being missed I would have run for the hills.  I would have given up and said it was hopeless, but Helen was determined and she cracked it.

Not only did Helen crack it but she has been watching online videos finding more cacti patterns and reading patterns all on her own after only limited amount of teaching from me.   She really is one clever crafty cookie and someone I am delighted to now call a friend.  Here's to a long and fun filled crafty relationship, Helen.

Helen's first crochet cactus

A great first crochet project, well done Helen

In case you fancy crocheting some cacti, here are a few patterns I found online whilst researching...

Magic circle right handed

Magic circle left handed

Cacti page there is a translate button on the page!

I was totally out of my comfort zone 
and learnt a lot teaching Helen