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 brookscaroline79@gmail.com

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.

Knit, Natter and Crochet

I will go ahead and quote our treasurer, Jen Luk, here when talking about our most recent and highly successful knit and natter sesh, “My world = turned upside down”.

What had caused this inversion I hear you ask?  Well, I crocheted a granny square.  Yes, woollen crafts have finally got their hooks (no pun intended!) into me.  After months of just nattering, I am now a bona fide crafter too.  Admittedly I find it impairs my ability to speak as my tongue is hanging out the side of my mouth, but surely that’ll improve!
If you would like to come along to knit and natter please do, you don’t have to be a member, it’s just an opportunity to get together, craft (any craft welcome) or just natter.  It’s always two weeks after our main meeting, check out the calendar here Drop in from 6.30pm to  Leon in Old Spitalfields Market.  They give us a table, we order their food, symbiotic, like.
It’s a great opportunity to learn something new, perfect something you did as a kid but can’t quite remember anymore, get some help with a tricky pattern or advice on where something went wrong.  It’s an unintimidating mix of professional knitters and crocheters and total beginners who must be given more elbow room so as not to poke people’s eyes out.  We also have a ravelry group where you can share tips, get help and generally indulge your knitty activities.

Hope fully see you at the next one, remember, Christmas is coming and everyone loves a hand-crafted gift.  Unless you’re my brother, in which case it’ll be the usual CD…

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.