Calling all Sisters: it’s time for action! Show your solidarity with refugees!

Shoreditch Sisters Marching Many of us will have been shocked and saddened during the last few months over news of people dying in the Mediterranean, suffering mistreatment in immigrant detention centres, facing police brutality on the border between Greece and Macedonia, suffocating in a van in Austria or living in desperate conditions on our border in Calais – simply because they are seeking a safe place to live.

It’s time for us to turn these events round and take action to make sure that we are confronting all the pieces that have created this refugee crisis in Europe. This week alone there are two important steps you can take:

  • Write your MP and ask them to attend the Parliament debate into Immigration Detention on the 10th of September. An end to detention would not only end the inhumane imprisonment of 1000s of people without them having caused a crime but would also cause a massive shift in the refugee rights debate. You can find who your MP is by going to and use the draft email below.
  • Join the Shoreditch Sisters as we take part in the Solidarity with Refugees demonstration on the 12th of September. This demonstration is to put pressure on Theresa May as she prepares to take part in a meeting of the EU’s 28 member states for emergency talks on Europe’s escalating refugee crisis. It is vital that she takes with her the conviction that the British people that she represents are open to helping refugees and that we can’t continue to allow thousands to die trying to reach the EU and their legal right to claim asylum. We will go as a group so even if you haven’t taken part in a demo before come join us. More info and to attend here.

Campaigns Group at Yarls WoodT H A N K   Y O U!

Subject: Important Parliament debate on 10th of September

Dear [MP NAME],

This week on the 10th of September there is an important debate in Parliament about immigration detention, which I would very much like you to attend and advocate from the point of view that private sector run immigrant detention centres should have no place in our asylum and migration system.

I am a member of the Shoreditch Sisters WI group and we have been campaigning against the use of detention centres, most notably Yarl’s Wood detention centre for women, over the past two years, with great media success. Read about it here:

At the moment, around 2000 women who seek asylum are locked up in Yarl’s Wood detention centre each year. Many of them are survivors of rape and abuse who have already made dangerous journeys to seek safety. Being locked up is traumatic for them, as well as inefficient and expensive for the government.

If you would like more information on the alternatives available for immigrant detention centres, please contact Women for Refugee Women:

Looking forward to hearing your response.

Best wishes,

Upcoming Event!

*THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS*We’re so excited to be welcoming Lucy Holmes and team to our next campaigns meeting to talk to us to their fantastic No More Page 3 campaign.The campaign has been gathering momentum over the past year, gaining the support of organisations such as UK Girl guiding, the National Union of Teachers, UNISON, Women’s Aid, just to mention a few. This is a serious campaign which has huge potential to succeed.

The campaign aims to convince the Sun newspaper that it is inappropriate to picture a topless young woman in their ‘family’ newspaper every day, and to ask them nicely to drop the feature.

The campaign is not asking for a ban, but is hoping to change attitudes. The Page 3 feature started in the seventies when women were much more unequal than they are now, and when sexist attitudes were the norm. Increasingly there is evidence to suggest the depiction of women regularly in the media as nothing more than sex objects is damaging to young women’s self-regard and aspirations. Very young children are introduced to soft porn through its inclusion in a non age-restricted publication, which can be seen on trains and buses and in public spaces such as cafes and even play areas.

For more information about the campaign please visit the NMP3 website:

VENUE: Crimson Heart, 87 Leonard St, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4QS

Facebook Event here.


August 2013 Meeting

Women in Business

Tuesday 27th August

Ever dreamt about creating your own business or being your own great boss?  Perhaps you do already?

HERE TODAY HERE TOMORROW is a collaborative studio shop in Dalston where Anna-Maria, Emma, Katelyn and Julia design, make, mend, showcase, sell and educate all under one roof, accessible and visible to all.

Anna-Maria and Katelyn will be coming to talk to us about how and why they set up their business.  They will talk about what it is like to be women in business and the adventure so far. 

We have tea, coffee, beer, wine and pop available at the bar so bring some extra cash for merriment. Some WI committee-baked cakes will be gratis – bring your own baked goods to share with your sisters.

Everyone is welcome. Non-members are asked to pay £4. 
Members come in for free.
 Membership opens again in September.
*Please note that we will be in the upstairs room at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club this month.*

Share this event and RSVP on the Facebook event page.

July Round Up and events comin up between now and the end of August


Knit and NatterTuesday 9th July, 6.30pm at Leon, Spitalfields
Calling all new and seasoned knitters and crocheters for a fun and chilled evening of yarn-based delights.

Campaigns Group – Tuesday 16th July, 7pm at Crimson Heart 
We will be discussing the Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops campaign from War On Want, in collaboration with the Craftivist Collective. To be added to the mailing list email Caroline at

Book Club – Wednesday 17th July, RSVP for time and venue
This month’s book is Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which is about her early years in New York with fellow artist Robert Maplethorpe.  RSVP to Laura at for details.

Radiant RidersSaturday 20th July, 11am, Trafalgar Square
Our rad bike gang, Radiant Riders, will be teaming up with Daughters of Eve and VSO to go on an anti-FGM ride.  See above for more details, check out the Facebook event or email Annisa at


Sewing Bee – Thursday 25th July, 7pm at a ***secret venue***
We have a new members-only sewing club.  SSWI members please contact to find out the venue and to complete the questionnaire (if you have not already done so).
Shoreditch Sisters Beer Club
It’s been brewing for a while *groan* but our women’s beer club has officially opened for business!  Join the Facebook group to find out more info.  For those who aren’t on Facebook please email us for details. 
The Make EscapeTuesday 30th July, 7.30 – 11pm, Hackney Attic
Crafty SSWI members will be heading along the Make Escape’s July event, featuring cross stitching, fimo modelling and a chance to play retro games.  Anyone for Sonic and Donkey Kong?

More Midwives Campaign 2013

Last year the  WI across the country voted to campaign about midwives, as suggested by Horwich WI, Lancashire Federation:

“There are chronic shortages of midwives. The NFWI calls on the government to increase investment in the training, employment and retention of midwives in England and Wales to ensure services are adequately resourced and are able to deliver a high standard of care.”

Almost one-third of midwifery heads were been asked to cut staff in 2011.

Recruitment freezes leave vacancies unfilled.

Existing midwives are stretched and can’t deliver the care they were trained to give, due to the shortages.

80% of women in labour in England didn’t receive one-to-one midwife care in 2010.

More to follow, on May 3rd when a WI commissioned report is published on this topic. If any of our members are free on May 3rd, we would like you to lobby your local MP and give him or her a copy of the report.

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.  

We came, we saw, we pom-pommed

This Monday just gone a few of us went along to Shoreditch House for Company Magazine’s High Street Fashion Awards.  After deciding what to wear, what to make and getting past security (who had us down as performers…cue quizzical looks) we found we’d been given a lovely little area in one of the rooms.  The Shoreditch Sisters who got there early had done a brilliant job decorating it with our bunting, banners and bundles of yarn, all ready for us to show those fashionistas a few things about pom-pom making.

It was a great opportunity for us to display the campaigns work we’ve been doing on our Embroideries campaign to end FGM (female genital mutilation), show the sort of activities we get up to on a monthly basis and get some lovely ladies involved with our craft-y activities.

It was, to be honest, dead glamorous, there were lovely cocktails and small bowls of amazing food doing the rounds, everyone in their best outfits and a small smattering of celebs – we spotted Pixie Lott there to collect an award for her dresses at Lipsy, Jameela Jamil looking statuesque and with a perfect fringe of glossy hair (grrr) and this month’s cover girl Caroline Flack.

More important than all of that though was that when we briefly abandoned our stations to have some (no doubt highly embarrassing) official type photos taken, we came back to find we’d been totally usurped by curious and crafting fashionistas, carefully overseen by our own Ms Maddison.  We are literally conquering the world, one pom-pom at a time.

The photos here were taken by President Becky but if you want to see some of the official ones, follow this link and check out pictures 35 and 50…  Not my best side BTW.  And the beautiful headbands a few of us are sporting were kindly lent to us by Elnaz Niknani.