The threads of life

Ashford wheel
The original “ornament” happily plying.

Sonya, our roving reporter,  has brought us another back story. This one is about Cathy who has been with Seaford Spinners and Weavers a year this June. Her original wheel is now going , thanks to the people in the group, and she has two others. She knew nothing about spinning when she arrived here but look at her go now!


The evolution of Cathy

At primary school (in England) our entire class learned to knit and do canvas work. The boys made a scarf and the girls made a clever little hat out of a square of stocking stitch knitting. We threaded that square onto an Alice hairband and then we learned to do running stitch in order to gather the square into a hat. After the hat and scarf we had to knit mittens to go with them.

The cold English winter must have been a great motivation for these projects!

My Mum had previously taught me to knit. I made a rather irregular scarf with added on and lost stitches.

Dad’s sister would come down from Scotland, with her Aran knitting. She always brought me red wool, and taught me how to do cables, bobbles, basket stitch and sundry other raised stitches.

 And so the germination of handwork was embedded in our Cathy at an early age.

Our German cousin used to visit and she did fair-isle. She taught me to change colours with my knitting. I would have been 9 or 10 years old. Our grandma taught me to crochet on a big fat tortoiseshell crochet hook at the age of 11.

I was 14 when we moved over to Australia. The woman who lived across the street from us did crocheting and tatting. Such a lovely lady, she got me into serious yarn crafting.

When I became a teacher, my knitting and crochet was a way of decompressing, after a day in the classroom and enduring an amalgamation of two schools and I knitted through numerous meetings, which kept me sane!

Then I had a baby girl. From the age of 3 , she would tell me what she wished me to  knit and what colours she wanted and also what graph design she wanted.

It was at one of my schools that I noticed a spinning wheel high on a shelf in the classroom. I thought I would like to learn how to spin. Every day this spinning wheel would call out to me whilst I was busy teaching French! In 1989 our school amalgamated. All fittings and fixtures were priced and sold, so I bought the wheel which had been beckoning me for some time. I cleaned and dusted and polished it but it remained an ornament until last year.

After Mum died I did quilting from fabrics she had stored away and from my own stash of bits and bobs. Also I got back into doing canvas work, cross stitching and needlepoint embroidery.

When I retired I applied to go on the Onkaparinga Active Ageing consultative committee. One of our roles was to contact all the groups that would or did, offer something for seniors so that we could organise an expo. That’s when I came across the Seaford Spinners and Weavers. I thought, well, I’ve got my spinning wheel, I’ll see if I can join up.

Eventually I got here! Janette helped me with my foot position on the treadle, Christine taught me to spin, Alexis got me going with natural dyeing and Sheila taught me how to felt. As a result of all this, I’ve got back into knitting and crochet. Everyone here has been such an inspiration and I’m loving it all.

 And aren’t we loving you, Cathy with all your handiwork, your delicious baking that you bring and , as for your blogging, well we remain quietly hopeful you will put us on the world stage, making Seaford Spinners rich and famous. Also those minutes of our meetings make us giggle and we wait impatiently for the next week’s funniness. Of course we hope you do too!



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