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


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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.

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. 

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.

Future events invites (part one)

May’s meeting was rather packed with information, so I promised to do a quick round up, as well as dedicating some time to a beautifully crafted couple of blog posts about our last three meetings – coming soon! First let’s cover two political issues, with invites to a rally and a march:

We have had a call to arms from the NFWI (our parent national organisation) to speak up in defence of legal aid:

Calling all London WI members!
Do you believe in Justice for All?
The Ministry of Justice have proposed important changes to the legal aid system, which will deny thousands of people access to Justice. The National Federation of Women’s Institutes is particularly concerned about the disproportionate impact these proposals will have on women, particularly women who have experienced violence.  
The NFWI, which is part of the Justice for All Coalition, will be joining a rally outside the Supreme Court on Friday 3 June. The Justice for All coalition has organised the rally to highlight the opposition to these changes. We are encouraging WI members who live and work in the capital to come down and help us stand up for justice, and hear from a range of inspiring speakers.
The Supreme Court, Parliament Square, London, SW1P 3BD
12 – 1pm, Friday 3 June
To show the government that a wide range of people from a diverse range of backgrounds oppose the proposed changes to legal aid
Come and demonstrate your opposition to the changes, and hear from a range of inspiring speakers
To find out more about the proposed changes and the NFWI’s work on legal aid go to http://www.thewi.org.uk/standard.aspx?id=23519 

Next we had an invite from one of our members to join her at Slutwalk London, for a march through London. SlutWalk started in Toronto (more info on their website and it’s been mentioned in the UK national press), as a reaction to the ridiculous attitude that in order to avoid being raped women should avoid dressing like sluts. We’d like to have a gang of Shoreditch Sisters at the march, so will be in touch with our members to arrange a meet up point to rally our troop. Here is the Slutwalk poster:

The march will be peaceful and everyone is invited to bring their friends, families and kids.

We’ve also had a debate about reclaiming the word slut at our Facebook group.

Calling all London WIs for a big Swish

Dear London WI members, Come along to the Fast Fashion Campaign Swish on Saturday 21st May St Brides Foundation, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EQDrop off clothes from 1.30pm, Swish opens from 2.30£5 entry As part of the NFWI’s Fast Fashion campaign, WI members are invited to a Swish event to launch the next stage of the campaign. The event will be a chance to spend a Saturday afternoon swapping clothes, shoes and accessories with WI members and friends from across London, while enjoying tea and cupcakes and finding out more about the Fast Fashion campaign.
The Swish will launch the next campaign actions for the WI’s Fast Fashion campaign, which aims to raise awareness of unfair wages and working conditions for garment workers and the environmental impact of clothing. Sewing tutors from Traid will be on hand to help you adapt and alter your swish finds, as well as stalls to browse and a film screening. Please bring along up to five items to swish – these can include clothing, accessories and shoes. You will then be issued with a voucher for each item that can then be exchanged for your swish finds. Places are available on a first come first served basis, but early registration by emailing e.lindsay@nfwi.org.uk is essential. Do contact me if you would like any more information or have any questions.

International Women’s Day and Million Women Rise

Some people might have already seen our photos from Million Women Rise on Facebook or in this Flickr Set. A group of us gathered bright and early in the unexpected Saturday morning sunshine at the cafe in Hyde Park. There was time before the start for commiserations over hangovers, birthday best wishes to Naomi and Becky and lots of photographs of our placards made by Tara and Daniella. My Mum came along too and brought chocolates to hand around, while we drank tea and prepared ourselves for the march down Oxford Street, Regent Street and all the way to Trafalgar Square. We had a slight farce with serveral ladies needing to run off and find a toilet, but everyone made it back in time to line up near the front with our Shoreditch Sisters banner and placards. Luckily it wasn’t as windy as last year, so this was easier to carry.

We said hello to lots of different people in the march. Some ladies from Brixton WI were helping with the stewarding. My Mum got chatting with women from Bradford Rape Crisis Centre and we were all  awed by those who had come from all over the UK to attend. I have to admit that the marching, whistle blowing and banner waving was exhausting, and Mum and I left our friends for a sit down, before joining the group again for the music and speakers in Trafalgar Square.

million women rise 2011 eventful org uk low 13 (1)

It had already been quite an emotional day and I had been welling up with feelings of pride for all the women willing to come together and make a stand, but then in the square there were tears for different reasons.We heard about the treatment of women in the war zones around the world. Ordinary women from Palestine and Sri Lanka told us about the struggles in their lives. Saria from Forward and Nimko from Daughters of Eve spoke about FGM. The mighty Justice Hotep was on comparing duties, having  impressed us with her freestyling last year, helped keep the crowd positive. She lead the chanting in the square as the march arrived and later ably helped deflect a random man wanting to get hold of the mike while the whole crowd sang along to Redeption Song. As the weather started to turn cold, songs had been sung, speaches made, placards neatly stacked up there were hungs all around as we made our seperate ways home, all feeling a little bit proud of ourselves and all our sisters. 

You might have missed this year’s march, but you can join us next year and bring your friends, sisters and mother.

The national Women’s Institute is campaigning for an integrated strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women as part of End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition. Get involved in the national WI’s campaign to raise awareness of the need for specialist support services for victims of domestic violence (link) Towards the bottom of the page is a what you can do section with a template letter to help you write to your local council and ask what rape crisis services they provide.