When I grow up

It is amazing how the fine skills and sense of colour which are applied in our spinning group are actually springing from the heartfelt wishes to be somebody very skilled and helpful when we grow up. It isn’t surprising we have artists in our group who want to make the world see in  detail the beauty in everything. Unsurprising, too , that we find out there are people who care so much about animals and the health and welfare of other humans. Modesty prevails, though. Like with Maria. She can create that fine work she speaks of and some of it is related to nature…but each week we have to ask her to show us what she has done because she doesn’t like to make a fuss. Likewise with these lovely stories we are discovering thanks to our roving reporter, Sonya. If you don’t ask, you will never know.


I’ve been thinking about this topic. You mightn’t believe this, but I would like to be a mortician! My speciality would be for women who have passed away. I’d want them to be beautifully dressed, and with makeup and lovely nails and hair done up nicely, looking their very best for their final journey. This I think would be my statement of affirmation for women, even in death.

Dear Wendy I see that you affirm the living in such a gentle and beautiful way.  You are a kindly and   loving presence in Seaford Spinners and Weavers.


I wanted to be a painter – an artist. My grandfather was an artist so I suppose its in my genes.  But then the war came….Yes I would paint all sorts of things, landscapes, flowers, animals. I can’t really think I’d enjoy the large bold brushstroke type of painting. I like fine detail. I’d have a studio with lots of space, with room for my knitting, crocheting and embroidery.

Oh Maria, you are truly an artist!   And yes you do specialise in intricate, detailed , fine and exquisite handiwork.   


I’m actually quite happy being me! I’m happy in my own skin. As a teenager I wanted to be an artist. But I was told ‘you can’t make any money out of being an artist’ I actually wanted to branch out and do a variety of artistic things, which now I do and that brings me much pleasure.

How good to have you in our midst dear Pam, your happiness is infectious!


I wanted to be a vet but my father wouldn’t let me. So now I would be that vet because I love animals. Cats and dogs would be my speciality. I wouldn’t be so keen on native animals. I don’t think I’d like operating on snakes for instance!

 Lucky for us that you weren’t allowed to be a vet, Anne! You may have been too occupied to be part of our Seaford group and that would have been a tragedy.

When I grow up

Sonya, our roving reporter, has brought us four more stories from our group. They fly us to the moon, keep us fit and healthy and play us beautiful music .


Well you might laugh at me about this. I would like to be an astronaut! As a young child I was interested in the stars and planets. That was because of my grandmother’s lasting knowledge, wonderment and interest in our solar system.  Good for you Granny! Then when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969, my dreams of travelling around in space became a reality.  I was so excited about this possibility. I was fortunate to see the magnificent night sky in the observatory at the Cape Town Observatory in South Africa and the Greenwich Observatory in the UK.  They were breathtaking experiences. And that has all led to my wanting to be an astronaut when I grow up.



I ended up doing just what I wanted to be- a music teacher. I’ve had a career in teaching music and I would absolutely do it again when I grow up. Anyway, I’m not one to indulge in regrets. No dear Alexis, you just keep on doing what you do with such excellence, spinning, dyeing, felting and teaching us   the finer points of your wonderful work with wool.



I’d like to be a doctor when I grow up. I always wanted to be one but   my father didn’t believe in girls getting a higher education. Janette, you surely have a doctorate in spinning and knitting up a breathtaking list of beautiful jumpers and cardigans. We are lucky to have your advice and wisdom in such matters.      



I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up in wartime Germany. I had no idea. But today I know what I would like to be when I grow up. I’d like to have a degree in Science Fitness. I’ve always been very athletic and done a fair amount of sports coaching. You could be our weaving coach Peter. You do such lovely work on your loom.


When I grow up

Sonya, our roving reporter, is bringing a new series to our blog. The question we have been asked is: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” At our age? Yes, indeed. It is a good question. Life is about change. Constant change and those changes force you to adult and grow up. Why not get ahead of the game and work out what you want to be next? Pre-empt the change with thoughts, dreams and challenges of your own. If you don’t dream, how will life know what to bring you? Here are the answers from our first four members:


I’d like to look after animals, and especially native animals that have lost their habitat because of farming, forestry or fires etc. Such animals are here for us to look after. They belong to us and to our country. We have a responsibility to protect them and their habitat.


I think you need to be happy in whatever circumstances you have. I might try advertising. I’m good at art and I like to know how things work. At high school I loved science, but as there was only one science teacher at Nailsworth high school, I had to go into the commercial course. In spite of that, life has been pretty good.


I’d like to be a wizardess with perhaps more gravitas than that. Someone who is wise and provides inspiration, who has the powers to be a role model and to guide young children. I’d wear all those long robes like Gandalf and wander around the planet, giving wisdom, advice and stability.

Sounds like you might be a darn good teacher, Cathy . (Oops! You were a darn good teacher.)  Or perhaps  a deity!


I think I’d do what I did before – that’s join the military. I’d get higher qualifications and  be a pilot. I could fly anywhere in the world, stopping wherever I like and doing whatever I like, such as scuba diving. I’d take somebody to carry my bags, (my husband perhaps?) And I wouldn’t buy a house. I’d have a yurt so I could pack up  and move to wherever I want.

The art of alpacas

ron doley wheel alpaca fleeceWhen you meet Jan 2 you learn quickly she is very easy to talk to and very enthusiastic about alpaca fleece. She loves her alpacas and is a very keen alpaca farmer who has done due diligence and made a point of knowing as much about them and their fleece as she can. She never stops learning and her passion for them is infectious. She loves each and every one of her crias (baby alpacas) and always ensures they are put into caring homes. She is full of joy when a new one is born. Her genuine love of her farm and animals is why she makes friends easily. She talks warmly about what she does and you cannot help but get caught up in it. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you her story this week.

Jan Mark 2

Mum taught me to knit when I was five! And my father used to crochet finely worked doilies! Mum always liked knitting and later on did quilting. I didn’t start spinning until we bought alpacas. At that time, my husband brought me home a spinning wheel from a second hand shop. It had one bobbin, no lazy kate or anything else. I bought an Ashford book and from that, I taught myself how to spin. I was advised to start on sheep’s wool but after a week I went on to alpaca fleeces. Once I mastered that I made hats and scarves. We’ve won over a hundred prizes for our champion alpacas. Rearing them then training and grooming them for showing, is an art in itself!

I sell my work at the Meadows market. I was invited to the Victor Harbour Spinners to talk about suri alpaca. They were such a nice group that I ended up joining! Then sometime later I was invited to to talk about alpacas to the men’s group at Aldinga. I took two alpacas along with me. When the rain eventually stopped I took them out and showed them to the men. Because alpaca fleece and yarn are used in craft work, the men did an unprecedented thing. They had invited their womenfolk! I learned about the women’s spinning group and sure enough, I joined up with them. So now I alternate with the Victor Harbour Spinners and Seaford Spinners on a Monday and I still go to the Aldinga group which meets every fortnight on a Tuesday.

We are overjoyed to have Jan the second join our group. She has much to teach us and we are eager learners. Thank you in anticipation Jan.