Our crafty Pam

amigurumi chicken
Pam’s amigurumi chicken for the Chicken Challenge

Pam is one of the key people in our group for progressing ideas. She will never allow you to sit there being frustrated or stuck. The reason she can talk you through any block is because she has a wealth of carefully curated ideas about technique, skills and textile art. She knows a lot and will simply share that with you and get you going again because she knows her resources and can look them up on her phone ! Sonya, our roving reporter, has brought us Pam’s story this week:



I’ve always done craft, since I was a little child. My Mum knitted, sewed and embroidered, so my sisters and I grew up doing these things. It was the normal thing to do. In those times we wore handmade pinafores with a hand knitted jumper underneath, to school.

Skeins of wool were sold in shanks and we kids all had to take turns holding out the skein of wool, as Mum wound it into a ball.

I’ve done every imaginable craft: basket making, tatting, crochet, knitting, weaving, felting, embroidery and painting. However my absolute passion is bobbin lace-making.

Sheila and I were and still are in the bobbin lace group and it was there that I first met Sheila. On one occasion we were both rostered on to do a demonstration at the Immigration Museum in Adelaide. This was for History Month, held every year in May. It was there that we discovered we lived just around the corner from each other! Sheila with her powers of persuasion encouraged me to come along to Seaford Spinners, which I did.  Sometimes I do spinning but I prefer to knit or crochet when I’m there. I enjoy chatting with people. And it’s always nice to meet folks and to pick up new ideas.

 It’s more a case of others picking up new ideas and crafts from you, dear Pam! You are fairly bubbling over with beautiful ideas and exquisite samples of your craft work.

Note: The Migration Museum is one of the important places in Adelaide which holds our history. It is well run and kept and is always  a fascinating place to visit. A lot of South Australians have their first visit there when they are at school. It is held in high esteem.

Lacemaking isn’t something you automatically think of with Adelaide but we have some very good and well established lace making groups. It has quietly become part of our heritage. There is the SA Branch of the Australian Lace Guild  and then there are a number of strong local groups for lace making. There is a lot of naturally occurring Maths in lace making and it was interesting to hear how Sheila and Pam have involved children in lace making through the use of numbers and mathematical principals rather than “crafting”.

Sailing through life

plarn bag
Sheila’s colour co ordinated plarn bag

Sheila is living proof that you can’t sail in calm waters. You have to keep the ideas flowing, the people involved and the approach clear. She works in a very precise, unhurried way and gives a lot to us and to the wider community. Sonya , our roving reporter brings you her back story this week. 

Sheila’ story

Born in London, I made my first garment on a treadle sewing machine left over from the Boer War. I was eight years old.

Shortly after that we moved to Somerset where I attended the village school. We had to sew our blouses for school and our cooking aprons. This gave me an interest in fabrics and textiles. I just loved the feel of materials. Of course my mother made most of our clothes.

When I was 14 we moved back to London. I didn’t like the dramatic change from village school to a London high school. In fact I refused to go to school. At that stage I was making all my own dresses.

I turned 17 on the ship that brought us to Australia. After arriving in Adelaide and at 18 years of age, I joined the navy (WRANS) and bought my own sewing machine. I did nursing there, for 4 years and met my husband who was in submarines. I sewed my own wedding dress!

We settled in Port Noarlunga and have been here ever since, raising our family of 3 girls and 1 boy.

A friend who lived nearby used to spin and got me going.  About 1980 I started spinning. I’ve still got that old Ashford wheel but if I go too fast with my treadling it sort of flies to pieces. I went back nursing and got into Scouts and Guides. I’ve been in Scouts for 30 years and am currently a Scout leader. I now do crochet, hardangar embroidery, bobbin lace-making, quilting, felting and spinning. Anything to do with yarn and textiles. We caravan a lot and I always take my sewing machine and spinning wheel with me.

I started porcelain doll-making and that led me to meeting Rosemary and coming to Seaford Spinners. I’ve been coming here for about 13 or 14 years. I’m always chasing my tail, with projects, Scouts and 8 ½ grandchildren. I make felted slippers for them and simply adore sewing dress ups for them for Book Week.

With all that going on Sheila, I don’t know when you get time to do the dusting! No need for you to take Dynamic Lifter pellets…