Reminiscing today

With the Houston Quilt Event fast approaching I become reflective. This Event has shared so many wonderful things with me and I consider it the pinnacle of my year in this industry of Textile Art.

It’s an Interesting life. You just never know what the future holds.

I think we all have times in our lives when we meet someone who has had an effect on us.

They may not be famous, they may not be written up on magazines or be in the media, let’s say it’s just a gut feeling. I feel that way about many of my friends… some I met as a Mother, some as a Tutor.

I met my dear friend Joan on a bus in Scotland, and friend Lisa as a quilter in Cyber Space, Di and Della were in Houston during my win as Best of Show.
Kaye England who encouraged me to go further with my quilting.

My son Matthew and I went to hear the Dalai Lama when he came to Adelaide many years ago, I’ve never forgotten the words he said.

I also traveled to Sydney to meet Mother Theresa. How could this small quietly spoken woman command such a presence.

When I was 15, I went to a lecture by the “Little Woman” Gladys Aylwood.
Standing just 4 ft 8 tall, this small woman talked for several hours about her life in china, she told us the story of how in the 1930’s she went to China to help a Missionary Mrs Larson, but only 8 months after she arrived, Mrs. Larson became sick and died. Now Gladys had no way of getting any income. A few weeks later, the Mandarin of Yangchen came and asked Gladys to become the official foot inspector. This job was to go around and tell people that binding girl’s feet was illegal and then to unbind them. The Mandarin needed someone with big unbound feet. Gladys accepted.
So she went visiting houses and revisiting houses again to check on the girls and people started to get to know her. Two years after she went to China the Mandarin asked Gladys to stop a riot in the prison. Depending only on God, Gladys walked into the prison. The men were killing each other and it was a bloody mess. Gladys commanded them to stop and tell her what was wrong. They were tired of being cooped up and needed food and work. From then on Gladys was known as “Ai-weh-deh” which means “Virtuous one.”

Once she saw a beggar on the road with a very sick child beside her. She bought this child for nine pence, for which she was later called. She fed her and adopted her. Her family grew. One day Ninepence brought in a boy saying that she would eat less in order to keep this boy, later naming him Less. She ended up with some 100 children in her orphanage, and then her life story became even more interesting.

Why on earth am I telling you this, well I reviewed the book, “The Inn of the 6th Happiness” the story of her life, I found it in a book shop and just sat down to read it oblivious to all around me.

Gladys had a profound effect on me at 15.

I figured that in adult hood I would do something similar.

Well I didn’t become a missionary, that’s a little out of my league, I didn’t run an orphanage or quell a riot in a prison or even spy against the Japanese like Gladys did, but Keith and I do have a great family and with the encouragement of my friends in quilting, I’ve undertaken an interesting career.

We’ve been blessed.

9 Comments Add yours


    Yes your are blessed. The workshop I had with you was a blessing. I feel blessed. Thank You for what you do. Nancy

  2. Ruth Chow says:

    I loved the Gladys Aylwood story! So exciting that you got to see her in person.

  3. Dear Pam, we don’t know each other yet we share the same love of textiles, quilting and art. You are an amazing and very encouraging to those who follow you. I have yet to make any of your seminars at various quilting shows, we just seem to be at the opposite ends of earth or different countries at the time. None the less, I read and attempt to expand my horizon within the quilting and art field. Thank you for all you give into the art world.
    Diane Scott

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Diane, thank you, yes we seem to be on a similar path but the internet is wonderful for bring like minded people together.,

  4. flossypatchedbritches says:

    Oh thanks, Pam 💕
    I needed that today.

  5. I salute you

  6. Barbara Morgan says:

    What a lovely article. You never know how you will make a difference or the people you will meet. Thank you for making a difference in the quilting world!

  7. Dear Pam, as a young child my grandmother gave me many books on China to read written by English women who went to China I became fascinated with China then I saw the movie The Inn of the 6th Happiness. I was so fascinated by the strength this women portrayed. I have often made choices by saying shall I take the high road or the low road???? When I had my hair-salon I employed a hair-dress my age and we became close friends, she was the niece of Glayds and said when her Aunt came home on leave they were all scared of her as she had such a strong personality and thought them all terribly spoilt, which in her eyes they were I guess compared to what her children in China had. She only came home to raise money for her children as she called them, she was devoted to them.
    Its a small world, but she still had and has a strong effect on the way I see many thing. Thank you for all you share with us including these memories of Glayds. , Ive learnt so much from you over the last 8 or more years through your family, your art, and your travels. Thank You Glenda

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Glenda, how wonderful, thank you for sharing.

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