so MANY subgroups

The way of the WI is that we always have one big meeting per month and as many or as few other meetings we fancy, for whatever other interests we have. So if you’re a member and like cheese and think some other members might like cheese too, you can set up a Shoreditch Sisters cheese group for example. For a while we just had the Knit and Natter as an extra meeting (it always happens two weeks after the main meeting and is always at Leon in Spitalfields and free for non-members as well as members). Then Anissa and Martha started the Radiant Riders, our most awesome bike club, who go on a ride every month and will help get you ready to cycle to work without fear of London roads. They even got a mention in Psychologies.

And now we have more groups. Yesterday was the inaugural Book Group run by Laura. Contact her via We had a full room at The Crimson Heart in Shoreditch and talked about How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran, with a lively debate and a lot of laughs. Next time the book will be The Bell Jar by Syvia Plath, as member Katie pointed out it is it’s nearly 50 years old.

Coming in 2013 expect another gathering, for campaigning and then maybe a beer club (drinking, learning about brewing, homebrew and visiting London breweries), a zine group and any other group our members can come up with….a choir? a gardening group? drama club? …whatever takes our fancy next.

Bust Craftacular on 16th December 2012

Invite all your friends…The Shoreditch Sisters WI will be there with a craft supplies jumble sale. Come and bag a bargain or drop off that yarn or fabric which is cluttering up the place. Any sister who want to help out for an hour or two between 12 and 6pm, contact

BUST MAGAZINE CHRISTMAS CRAFTACULAR is a shopping event dedicated to the UKs most talented crafters – with DJs, drinks and a host of DIY activities

SHOP at over 75 stalls of the very hottest in handmade – plus Rob Ryan‘s Print Grotto
CRAFT a sequined bauble with the ladies of GranMade at Great Croft; fashion a festive fascinator with Hatastic; stitch up a storm withCraftivist Collective
DANCE to El NinoPamflet, Run-Riot editor Katie Antoniou and Make Escape DJs – and learn to do the hula-hoop with Miss Constance Irkles
MAKE MERRY in Jazz Domino Holly‘s Handmade Hangout and the Bake and Crafthouse café
Goodie bags for the first 100, free BUST raffle with prizes from Tatty Devine… and much more!Admission: £2

12pm-6pm, York Hall, 5-15 Old Ford Road, London E2 9PJ
1 minute from Bethnal Green tube station

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day

I (Jen) am a teeny bit obsessed with Christmas.  From October onwards, my flat is covered in stray scraps of red and white yarn and felt and recipes for cinnamon-y treats.  So, I was lucky enough to be invited to an intimate craft bloggers’ event at the lovely Save the Children Living & Giving shop in Primrose Hill to represent the Shoreditch Sisters.  The event was to raise awareness for the charity’s amazing Christmas Jumper Day.

Magda Rakita/Save the Children

On 14th December, more than 250,000 people will be wearing a festive woolly to school, offices and workplaces all across the UK, with everyone taking part donating £1 to Save the Children.

Money raised from Christmas Jumper Day will help bring life-saving care to some of the world’s most vulnerable children. In the world’s poorest countries almost 7 million children die every year from easily preventable causes like diarrhoea and malnutrition. Simple solutions, like vaccines and mosquito nets, save lives – so our knitted jumpers could make a real difference. 

As well as meeting lots of lovely fellow knitters on my table (Leanne, Karen and Rose and Claire), I got to meet one of my heroines, Debbie Bliss at the event and managed to keep my knitter geek sweats down to a minimum to talk to her… and she had even heard of us!   Each of the bloggers got the chance to try out making exclusive adorable jumper-shaped egg cosies and now I get the opportunity to share the geek love with the Sisters – choose from a wee Santa, Aran or snowflake jumper to make.  Or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can also make your own human-sized jumpers as modelled by Debbie.

Magda Rakita/Save the Children

If you need any help making these, you can always pop along to our Knit n Natter group.  

Just Sew Stories

Sometimes the Shoreditch Sisters are just too busy to care for this blog properly and we are always very sorry for that. By way of recompense, here is the first in an occasional series on what our group get up to when not actively sistering.

One of lovely members was busy last night with the launch of her new book, “Just Sew Stories”. Long time Shoreditch Sister member Katie Allen is a crafter and writer for Mollie Makes magazine among other things (click the link above & learn more from her blog). A small group of Sisters converged on the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen and found a crowd busy drinking, decorating tote bags and listening to the live bands. We bumped into lots of the Unofficial London Craft Mafia, such as a few of  the Craftivist Collective and Barley Massey from Fabrications, both former speakers at SSWI meetings. All night there was an ever changing group of fans around Katie, admiring her home made bloomers (find the pattern in the book) and getting books signed, and surprisingly more men than I have ever seen at a crafty event before.

“Just Sew Stories” has 25 crafty gifts to sew with some really original ideas you won’t have seen in another craft book, such as his and hers hipster dolls who will sit on your mantle piece talking about bands no one has ever heard of. I also love the cushions with pet photos on them, ideal for friends with anti-pet landlords. Add this to your Christmas list or better still buy one for Christmas gift ideas for your friends. And don’t forget to look out for the special Shoreditch Sisters mention in the thank yous…

Craft and Sisterhood Forever!

Gardening in the City – RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

(In which the Shoreditch Sisters yarnbomb Diarmuid Gavin’s Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, get involved with the Chelsea Fringe and meet some of London’s urban gardeners)
Diarmiud Gavin came to talk to us about his plans for the Chelsea Flower Show back in December 2011 when the days were short and the trees were bare. It sounded fantastical, a towering garden, a pyramid of scaffolding dripping with greenery, inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. At the end of May we were rewarded with the vision made real, the Westland Magical Garden, a 24 metre high, 7 terraced garden, a showcase of how it might be possible to garden in small urban spaces by making use of the vertical. The Shoreditch Sisters and friends had been knitting in earnest for weeks in preparation for the yarnbombing of level 6 (at Diarmuid’s request!), and over the course of the weekend before opening day stitched length after length of knitting together to encase the scaffolding and add a flash of colour to all the green (check out the video for some of this in action).
We also got involved with the Chelsea Fringe, a festival in its first year which aims to celebrate London gardens in all their forms, helping with the construction of the Oranges and Lemons Garden at St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch and hosting the start of our May meeting there in the beautiful evening sunshine. Back in Concrete, the second part of our May meeting continued with a book reading by the very lovely Helen Babbs from her book My Garden, The City and Me, even more wonderful when read aloud by her than it was when I read it myself for the first time, if that is possible. We finished with a talk from Richard Reynolds, of Guerilla Gardening fame, both amusing and fascinating in equal measure. I left with signed copies of both Helen and Richard’s books, longing for a bit of outdoor space of my own, but determined to get involved with the London Guerilla Gardening scene in the absence of it.

The WI Tent at the Diamond Jubliee Festival

The Diamond Jubilee Festival in Battersea Park on Sunday 3rd June 2012

The WI Tent needs you!

WI members from across London are needed to help make the WI Tent at The Diamond Jubilee Festival in Battersea Park on Sunday 3
rd June 2012 one of the top attractions for the day.  The tent is in prime position, almost directly behind the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park and there will be deck chairs, a croquet lawn outside and a rose lined red carpeted area with a throne (where you can be knighted throughout the day), plus a crystal cake tier stand is close by with an area for picnic blankets.

There will be craft and NFWI information, archive photography and WI merchandise on display, and space for individual WIs to display items that represent you, and sell some items to raise funds for your WI.  If you would like to use this space, please get in touch with Birdy ASAP (contacts below) to confirm details. We’re hoping that the tent will be a true reflection of all aspects of the immense history of the body of women that is the WI and the unique part that London WI members are playing in its Majesty (no pun intended…!)

WI activities throughout the day
Inside the Tent we will be hosting the Amazing Angel Adoree from The Vintage Patisserie and author of The Vintage Tea Party book, who will be providing some of her exquisite decor splendour as a back drop, as well as running a jubilee rosette making workshop.  Her team of beauties will also be on hand doing vintage hair and make up – roll up roll up for your Victory Curls….

The lovely Lydia Leith will be livening things up with her Temporary Tattoo Parlour – corgi tattoo anyone? And will also have emergency Diamond Jubilee sick bags if everything gets a bit too much…more details can be found here:
The Tent itself will be decorated with a full host of WI memorabilia but craft offerings from WI members across the UK will also be on display throughout the Festival including the knitted crafts and the flag contributions (see previous notifications).Call for cakes
As part of the celebrations we are asking you to help create the most imaginative and tasty jubilee themed cakes possible and contribute these to the day.  A giant diamond encrusted cake stand is being specifically designed and built as a centre piece to the event – it will take pride of place within the Tent – to display and showcase the cakes of the WI.

WI members will then be running the cake stand throughout the afternoon and selling the cakes to the hungry general public, offering whole cakes for picnic groups, and individual slices.

The money raised will go to those who bring receipts on the day and wish to be reimbursed, and any excess profit will be divided equally between those WIs that volunteer on the day.
Cake details
The cakes should be no bigger than 8 inches diameter and must not contain any fresh cream as a filling.  Please provide a full list of ingredients along with your name and contact details with your cake.  For further information on making cakes for public consumption, please visit

Please let Birdy know in advance if you are planning to make a cake so we can gauge if we will have enough on the day to keep the hungry public happy.

The Great Cake Gathering
Birdy will be on site at Battersea Park from 11am till 6pm on Saturday 2 June and there will be vehicle access to drop your cakes off.  Unfortunately there is NO vehicle access and some closing of roads on Sunday 3 June – the day of the event – so it may be easier for you to drop off your cakes the day before.  If you are volunteering on the day please bring any cakes with you then – after you have informed Birdy.

There may be a third option for getting your yummy offerings onto the site by contacting Birdy directly to arrange pick ups from around London on Friday 1 June as we may have access to a car/van to do some pick ups.

For all options please contact me on or 0777 4243 206

Volunteering on the day
If you would like to come down and volunteer on the Sunday to represent your WI, please let Birdy know if you wish to attend.  The idea for the day is to have enough WI members volunteering so that we can split up the jobs of the day, including:

  • Discussing WI membership and what you get out of being a WI member with the general public
  • Running the craft activities within our tent (mosaic making –
  • Serving the cakes from the cake tier.

Four members will also be needed to make medals with the public on the day.  If you have experience of using knitting machines before, please get in touch with Birdy and let her know.
Tasks can be swapped throughout the day and there will be plenty of free time to explore the rest of the Festival – the line up for the day looks amazing.  We would like to involve as many WI members as possible so we all get to enjoy the day and watch the magnificent spectacle of the 1000 boat Royal flotilla.

The event will only run as planned with everyone’s help, so please get in contact with Birdy if you wish to attend so she can sort passes for the day for you.  All Volunteers will be given a lovely WI Sash (provided by NFWI) to wear on the day to identify us to each other and the public.

The event is running from 12pm until 7pm with the park being open from 10am till 9pm. The plan is to organise a rota with three-hour shifts – this will be organised once everyone has been in touch.

We will also need some help before and after the event with set up (Saturday 2 June) and pack down – please let Birdy know separately if you can help with these out of hour times.

Many thanks in advance – please see general details and travel information for the event below.

Birdy, London WI Diamond Jubilee Event 0777 4243 206


Tickets are £5 for Adults (booking fee included).
Tickets for Children aged 12 and under are free; children must be accompanied by an Adult.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and can be purchased here:


The festival programme commences from 12.00 and concludes at 19.00. Please note that the gates to the park will open from 10.00 and will close at 21.00.


Nearest Stations: Clapham Junction, Fulham Broadway and Victoria


General Parking is not available at Battersea Park. Travel on Public Transport is strongly recommended.
There will not be designated parking for coaches or other methods of private transport.


There will be multiple road and bridge closures in place on 3rd June for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Road closures will commence at 7am, with some bridges from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge being closed to road traffic from that time until early evening. Details of the precise locations and timings of these traffic disruptions, as well as all other important information will be available from 16th May and communicated via


In Battersea Park there is a designated viewing area for the Pageant for those requiring disabled access. Please note this area will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please contact