October 2011 Meeting: Crochet, cheese and fast fashion…

Yet another fabulous meeting has been and gone with so many amazing things to report!
There was enough cheese from the lovely Cheese Society to give everyone a taster.  Thanks to anyone who brought biscuits and chutney, President Becky’s chutney and Hannah’s homemade biscuits provided me with a good meal certainly…if you didn’t get to try one that may be because I scoffled quite a few.  They were great though.
Credit Sophia Spring 
For anyone who, having been introduced to crochet, wants to go on to create amazing crochet based things the lovely Martha has supplied me with some links.  I, for one, am cracking my knuckles, putting the kettle on and gearing up for a session aimed at creating my very own granny blanket to keep me warm of a winter’s evening.
Credit Sophia Spring

Credit Sophia Spring
Lyla from TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) came and gave us a talk on the work that they do, including the inspirational way that they reuse and recycle clothes that are past their best.  We (the western world) now go through more clothing than ever before and much of it is just thrown into landfill when we’ve worn it a few times, fast and disposable fashion.  The impact of this on the planet and people is immense.  Whilst we see new ranges coming into shops every few weeks, for the workers making those clothes it means cutting wages, shortened turn around times and worsening conditions.
Credit Sophia Spring

Credit Sophia Spring
If you want to find out more check out their website for information on where to donate your old clothes and where their shops are so you can keep your wardrobes stocked.  They run workshops on recycling clothes in their Camden and Shepherds Bush shops too of an evening so maybe see some of you there!
If you were moved by the talk into action there are a number of template letters on this blog which you can use to send to retailers to express your views.
We were very excited to be visited by the amazing photographer Sophia Spring, who you may have seen snapping away and who took all the photos here.  To see more photos of Sophia’s photos from the night please check out our facebook page.
Next month will be our AGM.  All very serious, members will be electing our committee, President and VPs, Secretary and Treasurer…plus potentially some other roles we’d like people to take on.  We will be starting early to get the official WI biz out of the way so that we can move onto making Christmas decorations – bring on the glitter!!  

October’s 2011 Meeting – Crochet and Fast Fashion with Traid


RSVP to the Facebook Event

Free to members, £3 to non-members
Special membership offer : Join in October and get 15 months for the price of 12, only £31.50, which is £2.10 per meeting, plus members get the bi-monthly WI Life magazine, a discount booklet of vouchers in January and priority emailing about meetings and workshops, invites to events and discount membership to the new cinema in Hackney.

Last month was a bit of a squeeze into the small but perfect alternate venue, Time for Tea, with not enough elbow room to learn how to crochet, so we are going to try it again. Having seen the crochet granny blanket scarf Henry Holland is flogging this season for a whopping £400+, we’ll be learning how to make the latest thing.

We’ll have a bag of wool and assorted a few spare hooks, but please bring your own hook if you can (and if you have any you could lend to our sisters, mark them with a dab of nail varnish). Also if you can already crochet please come and share your skills or drag along a friend who can to join our crack team of crocheters.
Then we’ll be meeting lovely Lyla from Traid to learn more about what they do. Traid stands for Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development. Traid are currently working in partnership with the WI and War on Want on our national Fast Fashion campaign.

High street clothing is increasingly being called ‘fast fashion’.
Like fast food, it is mass produced and designed for instant gratification, but carries with it hidden environmental and social impacts.

This surge in demand for disposable clothing has a host of negative impacts for people and the planet. The WI believe it is important that the people making the clothes we buy are paid a living wage in decent working conditions. We also care about the environmental impact of fashion. 900,000 million items of clothing end up in landfill every year. Low priced, low quality dispobable clothing is often synthetic and doesn’t decompose.

Even if you can’t make it to the meeting, there are some draft letters on either the environmental impact or the conditions and low pay of garment workers on our campaigns page for you to personalise and send to your favourite brands.

September 2011 meeting at Time for Tea 110 Shoreditch High Street

The Shoreditch Sisters invite you to our next meeting.

Tuesday 27th September 7-9pm

Free for members, £3 for non-members

We will be continuing with our usual collision of craft and feminism this month.
Our guest speaker is the living legend Efua Dorkenoo, founder of FORWARD UK, author of “Cutting the Rose” and currently the Advocacy Director of the FGM Program at Equality Now. Eufa was part of the 1970’s women’s movement and was the first person to put FGM on the UK agenda 30 years ago, she is a true hero and inspiration. She will share with us the amazing work she is doing and has done campaigning against FGM. The Shoreditch Sisters have been working to bring the issue of FGM into the public consciousness, through our Embroideries Quilt and appearances in newspapers and on the radio. Eufa is the godmother of all FGM campaigning and we are really  excited to welcome her.
After the inspirational talk, we’ll be learning how to crochet with a group of friends and members of the Shoreditch Sisters, the East End WI and the Borough Belles. If you have a crochet hook and wool please bring them, but as usual we will have some spare hooks to lend out and a wool stash. If you have a spare hook you are willing to lend out for the evening, mark it with a dab of nail varnish, so we can get it back to you at the end of the night. 

August 2011 Newsletter

July Meeting Round Up
Women’s Environmental Network came along and gave a talk, if you are interested in finding out more, or getting involved, their website is here.
This was followed by tote bag making out of recycled t-shirts with Barley Massey from Fabrications. She has blogged about it here.

Future dates for your diary

17th August – Knit & Natter (fb event here) at Leon in Spitalfields. As well as the usual crafting, Birdy and Tara will be there with some fabric scraps donated by Zandra Rhodes for some last minute Embroideries patches. Come along and collect some scraps even if you can’t stay for the evening. You can also drop off finished patches if you aren’t able to make the meeting on 23rd August.
23rd August – August meet at Concrete on Shoreditch High St. Be there! (fb event here)
24th August – piecing together of the Embroideries Quilt at Tara’s studio near London Fields station. Volunteers to lend a hand appreciated.
1st September – Embroideries Campaign launch night – space will be very limited so don’t forget to bring along your patch to the August meeting to ensure you are involved. More information on the time and location coming soon.
7th September – Launch night for Queen of Crafts written by our founding member Jazz Domino Holly, with craft stall run by the Shoreditch Sisters. This will be in Bethnal Green. 

Interviews with Kirsty and Anna and a bit of Germaine Greer and Prick Your Finger

 Vicky with mikes from Kirsty on the left and Anna on the right

For anyone wondering who those ladies with mikes are from the last few meetings, the first was Kirsty, whose piece can be listened to above. As well as speaking to our lovely Birdy and mentioning our craftivism (see this post and embroideriescampaign.org.uk) she has interviewed Germaine Greer about the WI, who seems to approve. Germaine would like to see us think in terms of being an effective lobby group, and she “likes the WI best when they are angry.”  It is good to know that unlike some disapproving feminists she, like us, looks beyond the stereotypes of the WI and sees the value of women coming together to campaign.  
Though campaigning and feminism isn’t all we do. At our Yoga and Relaxation meeting, while Kirsty recording, she missed some insightful discussion of “Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism” by Natasha Walter (blog with a collective review coming soon) and arrived over at our group learning hand massage just as the topic had changed to The Only Way is Essex. Thankfully the whole incredulous “what is vajazzling?” part of the conversation and our collective laughter didn’t make it to the final piece.
As well as Kirsty, we’ve had two visits from Anna McNamee , reporter for Women’s Hour. Her piece is most likely to air at the end of June. She was at our last meeting in May, chatting to the members after the inspiring talk by super eco crafts women Annie Sherburne, and joined us again this week at our knitting session at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green, where we had some serious discussions of cake, baking, feminism and of course knitting. Our treasurer Jen made a fabulous Lemon Drizzle cake and new member Samantha brought amazing Peanut Brittle. The cakes we knitted will be gracing our marquee at the Big Feastival (July 1st-3rd), so get your tickets now. If you want to knit your own cakes, the patterns are in “Knitorama” by Rachael Matthews, available from Prick Your Finger’s wonderful wool emporium. 

Big thank yous to Kirsty and Anna for showing an interest in our group, to Annie Sherburne for being a wonderful speaker and to Louise and Rachael at PYF for the tea and yarn and inspiration.

Knit & Natter group met up at Prick Your Finger

Wednesday 8th June at 7pm

Some of you may already have seen the event via Facebook (RSVP to the event on Facebook) or heard Caroline talking about it at the last meeting. To make our tent at Big Feastival really unique we’d like to decorate it with an array of woolie wonders, a full knitted high tea with cakes and sandwiches.

So we are having a group knitting project to whip up some woolie cakes and sandwiches from patterns by Rachael Matthews book Knitorama. Rachael is very kindly going to host an evening for us at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green.

There are parts of the patterns suitable for complete beginners, and parts that are crochet, so all levels of knit ability are catered to. If you want to make some of your own creations, anything suitable for an afternoon tea would be great too.

View Knitting venue in a larger map

lease bring real cakes if you can to thank Rachael and Louise for the hospitality and the not knitted cups of real tea  and size 3.5mm or 4mm knitting needles (size 9 or 8 in old UK non-mm sizes) if you have them.

Also bread or swiss roll coloured wool or small balls of red for cherries would be useful. I have some supplies of pink, yellow, white and cream for battenburg cakes, cheese and ham slices and the icing on the bakewell tarts.

As well as woolie cake making, you can drool over the lovely yarns at the shop and giggle at the rude knitting patterns, have a natter and talk to Rachael and Louise who run the knit-emporium. Here is their website: http://www.prickyourfinger.com/ and see more about Rachael below, from the Craft Council website:

Rachael MatthewsWalking down Globe Street in London’s East End, you will come across a unique yarn shop and gallery called ‘Prick Your Finger’, the creation of designers Rachael Matthews and Louise Harries.  Prick Your Finger grew from their desire to make textiles with UK based and ethical yarns. Half the stock is spun in house, and the rest is from farmer producers who are spinning yarn themselves too.Rachael Matthews, the knitter from the Lake District, has achieved quite a lot in her time! From early beginnings at Central St. Martins College of Art & Design, she is now the writer of various books on knitting such as ‘Knitorama’, full of outlandish illustrations and original patterns designed to be shared between friends and portable enough to be taken to your knitting venue of choice.  You won’t find your average pattern for gloves amongst her repertoire! Rachael is definitely the champion for doing things in a new and different way.Rachael started out by running a knitting club for boys and girls called ‘Cast Off’ with Amy Plant, and she encouraged events that would promote knitting and other crafts as a more constructive way of spending our time. Cast Off met in nightclubs, pubs, and other non-typical places.  As part of an exhibition called ‘Ceremony’, Rachael organized an entire knitted wedding at the Pump House Gallery in London’s Battersea Park in 2009.  It was a huge success that opened the public’s eyes to see how much can be achieved with yarn and a pair of needles!  Knitting groups were invited to attend and make things for the wedding. Everything was knit from the wedding dress to the cucumber sandwiches, and even the cake.  Cast Off’s ventures promoted the revival of KIP (Knitting in Public) in London, demonstrating how knitting is the ideal craft to take with you wherever you go- Rachael has knit on the London Underground’s circle line, folk clubs in the East End, in Paris, and even at a specially organized evening called ‘Craft Rocks’ at the V&A Museum

Future events invites & how you can help (part two)

Next up from the announcements at the meeting:

Our Embroideries Campaign is gearing up for a big launch on 1st September at Coco De Mer. Anyone who hasn’t done, can still contribute by sewing, embroidering or knitting or other wise crafting a 7×7 inch patch for our Embroideries Project, they can be posted to :

5a Gransden Avenue
E8 3QA
United Kingdom
We are also very excited to be co-hosting a WI area at the Big Feastival

“Join us on Clapham Common, London, July 1, 2 and 3 2011, for the Big Feastival, the first boutique festival of first-class food and top-notch live music where the standard ticket price includes up to 5 dishes of delicious food!* We’ve got a heart, though, and all our profits go to The Prince’s Trust and The Jamie Oliver Foundation to help disadvantaged young people. Like a giant village fete, with music stages and pop-up kitchens from the UK’s most talked-about bars and restaurants, it’s a good-time gourmet experience for the whole family.” Sounds good to me!

Members – How about getting in free and helping us in the WI tent? Even if you are busy on the weekend of July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, you can contribute by making jams and chutneys for sale or if cooking isn’t your thing, join our knitting group in crafting a high tea, complete with knitted and crochet cake and sandwiches. To volunteer drop us an email to Shoreditch Sisters WI. The next date for cake knitting together is June 8th and we’ll be having a Feastival planning meet soon too.

Non – members – You can get tickets now and enter a cake in our best cake competition. Lots of exciting people will be popping up in our area, and the Shoreditch Sisters will be there peddling our wares and inviting you to experience some of the kinds of things we get up to at our meetings.