I had the pleasure of meeting with the ladies of the Algarve Crochet and Knitting Cabin recently and was impressed by their enthusiasm for what might seem to some as a dying art.

The project has attracted an international group of attendees from many corners of the world – England, Ukraine, Sweden, Norway, USA, Ireland, Belgium, and of course, Portugal, who bring their talents and skills to share with other like-minded crafters.

Where they meet

They are under the leadership of Sheena Rawcliffe and are a passionate and enthusiastic group of crafters who meet every Tuesday in Armação de Pêra to make incredible items from various yarns and all sorts of threads - and socialise, this being a fun and relaxed get-together of like-minded ladies who enjoy the restful and relaxing art of ‘fibre crafts’ (though any interested men would be welcomed to join!).

They get together weekly at the Water Dog in Armação from 10:30 on Tuesday mornings for a couple of hours and share all things crafting, contributing ideas and projects in a friendly and sociable atmosphere.

This group started back in March 2022 when Sheena thought it would be a good idea to bring together those interested in crafting, specifically knitting and crochet, to meet once a week. Members might be working on their own projects while there, but share patterns, needles, hooks and yarn equally, most being donated or collected privately to share with each other. If you have a need for something unique as a gift - for a birthday for instance, or just want to treat yourself, they would be happy to help with creating something special.

Crafty ladies

Most of the ladies are self-taught or bring their skills with them, and are more than happy to teach each other if needed. Some have been enthusiastic crafters in their native countries, and photos of past projects were eagerly shown to me, an amazing array of colourful blankets, shawls, hats and toys, etc. One of the ladies had brought in a curious circular crafting device I had never seen before for making hats, where a skilled user can make a hat in as little as half an hour. There was chat about different wools and yarns, how quality varies and where to buy the best.

Credits: Unsplash; Author: @mrafonso1976;

Donations for Charity

The group's passion is to craft items for charity and the group quietly and without publicity sometimes tasked to make items for a particular charity – for example, they made and donated woolly hats for a charity for assisting homeless men, which were hugely popular and welcomed. According to a national survey conducted in 2020, there were over 8,000 homeless people in Portugal living on the streets or in shelters, and those living rough experience cold during the winter months. In a similar vein, Sheena has suggested to the group that part of their next project will be to make fingerless gloves to donate to both elderly ladies and men, whose hands might be continually cold due to age or illness.

The ladies themselves donate €5 each at each meeting, which goes towards a refreshment of choice while they are crafting, and the balance is collected and generally used to buy supplies. Currently, there are a total of 20 or so in their membership, but it is rare that they all arrive on the same day due to holidays, etc, if you have an interest in knitting or crochet, the group would happily welcome you into their fold.

If you would like to pass on any left-over wool, patterns - or even half-completed items that can be completed or unpicked to be used again – just drop it off at the Water Dog on a Tuesday morning.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan