If you’ve ever wondered if you could turn your love of crochet into a thriving business, Ali Campbell is proof positive that it can be done. Read her guest post to find out how she did it.
Hello, my name is Ali Campbell and I live in the UK. I started to crochet at a very young age when crochet was fine-lace-looking items made with an extremely thin hook that was hard to grip! Things have progressed a lot since then and, with the wonder of the internet, crocheters from all around the world can be united.
I was lucky enough to be able to give up full time work about eight years ago and, although my passion for crochet had never faltered, I now had time to re-ignite that passion fully. During my working years, I kept my hook to hand and learnt new skills as they emerged, progressing from lace doilies and granny squares to ripples blankets and Bavarian or “Wool Eater crochet.”
A desire to Share the Love of Crochet
I then thought that I could pass on my skill. So from a little spare room in my old house and after advertising locally, I started to teach. The uptake was slow at first, but then I began to get more and more interest, plus returning pupils, so I was getting busier each week.
Life circumstances changed and a house move of epic proportions was in the cards. We moved from one county to another over 150 miles away. It was sad to tell my pupils that I could no longer teach them; however “every cloud has a silver lining” as they say, and this move meant more square footage in our new home, aptly named “The Old School House.”
Get Hooked on Crochet Is Born
Once settled, I commandeered the dining room and changed it into a crochet classroom – possibly the only one of its kind in the UK. My crochet school, Get Hooked on Crochet, was born, and ladies came to learn their new skill.
This time, it didn’t go off to a slow start; it snow balled! I had only planned on holding one two-hour class a week, for a four-week period, but I had to extend to another day! Once these four-week workshops had come to an end, I was asked by my pupils to extend them to another four weeks, as they were really enjoying their lessons!
On top of this, I had new “beginners” starting the following month, with “The Next Steppers” and some one-to-one classes running at the same time. Alongside these daytime workshops, I was asked to run evening workshops, too, for the ladies that had to work during the day PLUS, I teach at two local venues on odd days to get more crochet beginners going.
From Crochet Teacher to Designer and Blogger
I also started to design pieces that were accepted by UK magazines for publication, so my crochet designer career was born. Now, I experiment with lots of yarns and ideas to come up with something unique each time.
I always blog about my crochet and my crochet workshops on “Hooked: A Crochet Addict’s Blog.” It was from here that I discovered Twitter. I soon had a large Twitter following of over 3,000 and was often being told “I wish you could teach me,” or “I wished I lived closer to you so that I can attend your workshops as they sound GREAT.”
So I had an idea. I created an online crochet course!
There are three courses:
- The Basics (also available in US and for left handers),
- The Next Step, and
- The Finishing Touches.
Each one can be visited as often as one likes, at any time of the day which means you can learn crochet 24/7/365. On top of all that, you can post photos and / or comments and get me as your virtual teacher. The course includes the written word, detailed photos, and videos, too. I have students in the UK, the US, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.
As if that wasn’t already enough, I spotted a gap in the market and realised that beginners were being left to fend for themselves. So I wrote a book for all the crochet beginners out there, especially the self-taught ones who are often without any guidance on how to read patterns or symbols charts. What did the abbreviations mean? DC? Yes, to most of us yarn people that’s a double crochet, but to a beginner that could mean anything, e.g. don’t cut!
Crochet for Beginners Who Want to Improve
My book, Crochet for Beginners Who Want to Improve, is available in a US Version via Amazon.com. I dedicate it to crochet beginners who want to improve, with 10 easy-to-follow projects, using my unique “Traffic Light Teaching System©.”
The book illustrates normally written pattern text in GREEN in long hand. All abbreviations are explained in AMBER and warnings are in RED. This method builds a beginner’s confidence to read and execute patterns available in abundance in magazines, books, and on the internet.
Here’s a little example:
Round 2 *3ch chain join with sl st slip stitch to the next st stitch – repeat from * 11 times. You will be making 3 chains “bumps” around the outside of the circle of 12 trebles you made in round 1 – think of it as making little petals all around. Do Not Fasten Off. *When you see a star, ignore it at first, until you get to the 2nd *. This is the point where it will tell you what to do e.g. repeat from *
I have plans for a second book, as I have had great reviews on my first; however, Book 2? It’s all in my head at the moment!
Photos used with permission.
Ali Campbell is passionate about crochet. She teaches, designs, has created an online crochet course, and has written a US and UK version of her crochet book. In her spare time, Ali loves walking her dog in the rural countryside where she lives and attending craft fairs, where she sells her crochet items. She also loves to crochet for herself when she has the time.