By May 20, 2014 Read More →

Unusual home working jobs – crochet teaching

Crochet teaching - Ali CampbellOnce again Twitter has provided us with an unusual home worker!

Ali Campbell runs crochet classes in her own home.

And calls herself ‘The Head Hooker’!

Read more below about how a hobby became a thriving business.

How did you get hooked on crochet, Ali?
I think I was around 7 or 8. My Nanna taught me. It kept me occupied & away from mischief (I was a bit of a tomboy back then.) It was in the days of fine crochet cotton & lace doilies, the early 70’s.

However, on the whole I am self-taught. It wasn’t until my working years that I picked up my hook again. I have learnt a lot of stitches & techniques from books and more recently from the wonderful internet!

How did crochet teaching become a business for you?
It was after I moved to Dorset in June 2012. We bought a large house as a project to work on over the next few years. Fortunately I was able to use a room as a dedicated Crochet Classroom.

It started slowly with one or two people coming for one-to-one lessons, but then progressed to workshops for up to 6 people at a time. Advertising was more expensive than I imagined to start with, but as things progressed I could afford to advertise a little more & word of mouth along with social media such as Twitter helped too!

Running alongside that, I was also accepted as a bona fide crochet designer by Inside Crochet magazine in May 2013. My first design was a very basic one, but since then I have taken on new and exciting challenges & now do design work for several magazines & books (see photo below).

Last year I also created an online crochet course as I was getting told on Twitter & Facebook, that people couldn’t find any crochet teaching near them. The course is a combination of videos, the written word & detailed photos with “pointers”. You pay a one-off fee & you can visit the course as often as you like, whenever you like, whatever part of the world you are in!

Finally, I wrote a book ‘Crochet for Beginners who want to Improve’ which is available on Amazon in both UK and American terminology. It’s a self-published book which is selling well and has a unique ‘Traffic Light Teaching System’ to help people to read patterns.

Tell us a little bit about crochet teaching in your home
As I mentioned, I am lucky enough to have a dedicated Crochet Classroom at my home. This could be the only one in the UK! I can accommodate up to 8 ‘hookers’ at a time. We all sit around a large table & get hooking!

For beginners I will only teach up to 6 people as the course can be quite intense. For my ‘Improvers’ or ‘Next Step’ course I will teach up to 8 as they know the basics and by this time can follow patterns.

All my classes are very relaxed and informal. My pupils have a laugh & even become friends!

Crochet teaching - design by Ali CampbellWhat’s it like having different people in your home all the time?
As I have a dedicated Classroom, my home remains my home, so my pupils don’t get to see my living area. That’s perfect as my husband works from home & I have a very large puppy dog who is extremely nosey.

I love meeting new people & of all ages too! I have taught from 8 years old to 89 year olds. The 8 year old taught me how to flap my hands like a seagull (I make sure my pupils do hand & wrist / neck & shoulder exercises during class) & the 89 year old taught me how to thread wool onto a wool needle more easily – a failsafe method in fact!!

How does crochet teaching fit in with your family and personal life?
It works well as I can schedule my classes around my family life – I do have to be organised though as my husband can either be working from home or in London for the week, so I just fit in around our schedules.

I am up at 6 ish, walk the dog for a few miles before coming home to check emails & cook breakfast. Then I can get on with a commission or simply chill for an hour before my pupils arrive at 10.30am. I can teach 2 workshops a day, which is quite intense for me, as I do have to concentrate an awful lot, but I love it as I am so passionate about it.

I also have to fit in commissions for magazines + I have my own crochet to work on, so I crochet for about 6 hours a day, even more sometimes!! (It stops me from buying shoes).

What advice would you give to someone else who is thinking of starting to teach a craft? 
1. You have to be passionate about what you teach whatever the subject.

2. You have to know your craft inside out, back to front & through & through.

3. Being good at what you do doesn’t mean that you can teach it to others. You may be the best rag rugger in town, but to teach it is a different matter altogether.

4. Teaching is not only a skill but a vocation too. You have to be prepared to work long hours, unsociable hours & also demanding hours as teaching so intensely can be exhausting!

5. You need some capital to get started with as you need to look professional. You need to advertise, to print leaflets & in my case with crochet teaching I need to print a lot of patterns out for pupils to follow.

6. You have to keep up to date with the latest trends, and do your research.

7. You have to have patience.

work from home secrets

Ali runs her business Get Hooked on Crochet and her classes from home near Blandford Forum in Dorset.

Crocheted top photo credit – Inside Crochet magazine / Tailor Made Publishing

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