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  


  1. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, I am left handed and can crochet and a friend who was organising a yarn festival had classes and workshops running throughout the day. She asked if I could run a crochet class for lefties while she would do one for right handed folk. I agreed. On the day, not only did no one sign up for the left handed crochet and only the right, my right handed friend could not host her class and asked if i could.... I had 5 right handed people trying to learn how to crochet, all I could think was ... these good folk have paid money to learn how to crochet and I can't teach them! In the end I was crocheting (very badly) right-handedly to show them how to crochet (equally badly) I could not wait for the lesson to end - it was awful! The feedback was very kind and they left clutching printed hints and tips (for lefties) patterns and a small knotted piece of work .... never again!

    1. Oh my goodness, I just came out in a cold sweat reading this. Poor you, i totally understand how you felt. Thank goodness it's over...

  2. I say a big well done to both of you!

    1. Thank you Gina, I did have a very large tipple when I returned home that night.

  3. Fantastic, love that you got there in the end! CJ xx

    1. I am so glad we did CJ, but it was Helen's determination that got us there.

  4. Phew! That was a prickly lesson! The end result looks wonderful. x

    1. I like what you did there Karen, very clever x

  5. Together you will probably look back on this day in the future and laugh, although I imagine you did not feel like it at the time! A great achievement for both of you. At age 13 I taught myself to crochet left handed so I could teach my 'leftie' friend - the innocence of youth as I certainly could not do it today.

    1. I am already laughing Annie, it took me a while but hence the blog post as I can see the funny side. I did also try to crochet left handed in front of Helen, it just was not worth mentioning because it was hopeless, I could no more crochet left handed then I could teach...

  6. How wonderful!!! You are really a great teacher! Glad you had fun. I love the glass cacti, I wonder if you will be tackling any of those soon....

  7. This is a fun post even if it wasn't on the day :)


  8. Well you both flippin well did it! I'm well impressed.
    (But can I confess this post did make me smile)

  9. Oh my lovely lady what a super day we had. Your face was a total picture when I dropped the left handed bomb!! Thank you so much for coming over and teaching me to crochet, I am thinking you might not of had I told you in advance ;) I totally believe because you chose to teach me to crochet something I absolutely loved it made me bloody minded to get it in the end!! I have tried crochet several times before and just given up but this time stuck and I have no doubts it is down to your patience, perseverance and kindness. It was so lovely to finally meet you in person (even if your kids thought you were mad, thankfully I am not a nutter :0) Its just a shame you don't live down the street I have a feeling we could really get up to some crafty naughtiness. Now what to teach you to make.......... thankfully felting doesn't matter left or right handed, phew!

  10. How completely ironic. I am clearing out emails and read the one from February 3rd where you said that you had posted the same Maya quote I did and also crochet hearts. Just a couple of days ago I made my very first crochet cactus and here you are crocheting cactus, too. And teaching a lefty how to crochet them. I tried to teach my cousin who is left handed how to crochet and boy did we laugh more than anything else. She never did get the hang of it. I manage to get some people to do a chain stitch but they decide at that point it is more than they can handle and they don't want to go any further. It's lovely that you two were finally able to meet. Some of her mom's crochet skills must have rubbed off on her if she was able to pick it up that quickly. :)

  11. What a lesson that must have been! Glad you two are laughing about it. Here in Canada we have books for learning knitting andéor crochet by oneself and most of them now have directions and photos for lefties. One of those would have saved you both some grief . . .
    Iève missed your posts, but canèt say too much after my spending months with nary a word. Still, hope to see you back here soon. Our weather is just improving now, but flooding in so many areas. I hope your weather is more temperate and spring-y. Big hugs to you all.

  12. Like you, , I tried to teach my nine year old neighbor to crochet, and found out at the last minute that she was left handed. We sat in front of the computer screen, and watched it on Youtube. It is SO hard to switch! I felt very uncoordinated. She got the hang of the chain stitch. She practiced at home, and made doll blankets and rugs with it. She told me that she tried to upload a crochet teaching video on Youtube that day, but it didn't work. I thought that was so funny. It sounds like the two of you had a fabulous time.


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