Keep warm and cosy on!

January’s Knit and Natter will focus on the East London Yarn Triangle (Fabrications, Broadway Market; Wild and Woolly, Lower Clapton Road; Knit with Attitude, Stoke Newington High St  Keep Hackney Warm This Winter initiative. They are looking for cosy scarves which will get passed on to rough sleepers in Hackney.

 The East London Yarn Triangle is four-and-a-bit miles, which is about 466 scarves. Their aim is to get as many knitters as possible involved and collect 466 scarves! The scarves can be knitted from any yarn with whatever stitch pattern you want. They recommend casting on for a width of about 25 cm and knitting a 150cm length.

Every East London Yarn Triangle shop will also be acting as a yarn exchange where knitters with extra yarn can drop it off, and knitters in need of some more can come and pick it up.

Once you’ve knitted your scarf, drop it off at any one of the shops and they will make sure it gets passed on to a rough sleeper. You can also bring any you have knitted along to January’s Knit and Natter and we will arrange a drop off of what we’ve got.

If you’ve never knitted before this is a great way to get started! Scarves are very easy to do and this is for a great cause. We will have experienced knitters on hand who can teach you how to knit. We’ll even have some yarn and needles on hand if you’ve not been able to pick up your own supplies.

 If you’d like to get yourself some supplies, we recommend checking out the shops of the East London Yarn Triangle: Fabrications on Broadway Market; Knit with Attitude on Stoke Newington High Street and Wild and Wooly on Lower Clapton Road.

January’s Knit and Natter will take place on the 24th of January 2017 from 6.30pm at Leon in Spitalfields market. This event is open to non-members too, so feel free to come along!

Penguins, Pom Poms & Partings

Tuesday 24 November was the end of an era, our final Shoreditch Sisters meeting at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and the last meeting before Christmas.

What better way to say adieu to our temporary home than with a Christmas Crafts extravaganza. Pom poms, penguins and printing was the order of the day. Turns out making wool Pom poms is slightly trickier than it looks, also if you forget to tie the cut strands together before removing the circles what you essentially end up with is a very long winded way of cutting wool into very short strands!

 

pompom tastic

The penguin and gingerbread lady station proved popular, with people reluctant to leave without finishing their creations. There was some beautiful decorated paper at the other table too. Excellent work ladies.


There was almost a scuffle at the raffle table for Pride and Preju-knits… Rightly so, who wouldn’t want to knit their own Darcy? A lot of books at this months raffle, with a few Jaffa cakes thrown in at the last minute.

It was a great meeting to get everyone in the Christmas mood… If we don’t see you at the subgroups, we’ll see you in January. In our new home…The Book Club. On a new day… The second Tuesday of every month (don’t worry Knit & Natter will switch to the fourth Tuesday in its place).

Solidarity Quilt to #SetHerFree

Shoreditch Sisters Solidarity QuiltFor those of you who are watching BBC2’s Lucy Worsely present Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers tonight – you may see some familiar faces. What a couple of crazy months it has been in the Shoreditch Sisters’ Solidarity Quilt campaign. Time to take stock and talk about what’s next, to keep this amazing momentum going.

WHERE DID WE START?

Almost two years ago now, we started a knitting project with a group of refugee women from Women for Refugee Women. Here we swapped knitting skills, women from the WI and refugee women alike, culminating in more knitted squares than anyone knew what to do with. During these knitting sessions, many of the refugee women spoke of the time they had spent in detention and the inhumane treatment they had suffered there. They had been imprisoned not because they had committed a crime, but because they had sought safety in the UK. What is more, many of their friends were still locked up in detention.

We decided to turn the squares into our beautiful Solidarity Quilt; a powerful symbol of female solidarity with women inside detention demanding that women seeking asylum in the UK are treated with justice and dignity. Kick starting a full on Solidarity Quilt tour we made a first stop at the Women of the World festival where we sewed the blanket together and the UK public wrote messages of support to the women inside. Next stop was Yarl’s Wood detention centre, where the quilt hung for a month and our Trojan horse echoed support from within detention’s walls. Finally we knitted in bright craftivist protest at the summit to End Sexual Violence with the message that if the UK Government is serious about tackling sexual violence, then decent support needs to be offered to those women who flee it.

WHAT HAPPENED THEN?

With news that the home secretary Theresa May was conducting a review into detention centres, we grabbed hold of the momentum and made even more noise: Dressing up as Theresa May at our second Women of the World festival to urge Mrs May to be ambitious in her review. In the run up to the election, our Solidarity Quilt was displayed in the Victoria & Albert’s ‘All of this belongs to you’ exhibition. We marched along with the ‘Say No to Racism’ march holding our ‘migration is beautiful’ placards. And joined 100s of people in demonstrations outside of Harmondsworth and Yarl’s Wood detention centres where the detainees inside joined in with our chants of ‘Freedom!’

Teresa May at WOW Fest

CELEBRATE!

The solidarity movement with people in detention is growing through great efforts by passionate individuals, sisters and organisations as the Movement for Justice and Women for Refugee Women. Not only are there now 100s of people speaking up against detention, the High Court of Justice ruled that detaining fast track asylum seekers is unlawful. Asylum-seekers would therefore no longer be detained throughout the asylum process simply for claiming asylum. A massive win, showing that ending detention is possible.

WHAT IS NEXT?

For all of you in Shoreditch Sisters’ Campaigning, the next big moment is on Saturday 8 August when we will be joining a massive protest with women outside and inside Yarl’s Wood.

But there is more to come! If you’re interested in joining Shoreditch Sisters Campaigns, let us know by emailing us or join our Facebook group to keep up to date with our meetings.

Shoreditch Sisters Marching

Blog post by Rachel Wandelaar for Shoreditch Sisters WI

Knot Just Natter

We had a lovely chat over our crafts this month – on such multitudinous subjects as working in Kabul, the beauty that is Chloe’s heritage quilt, our latest claim to fame (being in the Radio Times!), the Sewing Bee’s Summer Tea Party and what Caroline Brooks would do if she were President for the day…

Caroline knitting!
President for the Day: Caroline Brooks.

Hey! What craft is happening up in here?!

I’m making a 1960’s shirt shaped sweater so it has a little collar. The yarn is from the Knitting and Stitching Show where they have a stall where they just put bags with ten balls of wool in and they make a haystack of them and women just wade in looking for what they want.

So you’ve just become President of our upstanding branch of the WI! You’ve organised a killer main meeting for this month. It’s going to be in amazing new venue: where is it?

I’d probably take it back to the 1920’s. To the Ritz Art Deco Bar.

Wow, great venue! And we’ve got ourselves a new bar person: who is it?

I feel like it should be someone you want to punish by making them work behind the bar and they have to listen to us. So maybe Nigel Farage, he wouldn’t be allowed to drink and he has to serve us and be pleasant. 

Phew, well Old Nige has got to snap to it and get us some drinks. You’re buying a round: what are we quaffing? 

I don’t drink but I do like a nice Shirley Temple which is ginger beer and grenadine. It was invented for Shirley Temple because she wasn’t old enough to drink. It’s really pink and sugary and refreshing. And the people who are drinking alcohol can have a little shot of something in it. Maybe vodka?

Haha, Shirley Temple’s for everyone! Wooaahh and this party is catered! What are we chowing down on?

Afternoon tea provided by Claridge’s! Cheese and pickle sandwiches, salmon too, roasted vegetable and hummus. Two types of scones: raisins and plain with jam and clotted cream. And a cake assortment. 

Haha, so we are in the Ritz and we’ve had them bring in the afternoon tea from Claridge’s! Excellent. Well we have an amazing speaker: who is it and what are they chatting about?

I’d go for Agatha Christie because I love her. She would be the 1920’s version of her not the old lady version – she used to be slim and fashionable in the twenties but by the seventies she was drinking pints of cream with her dinner so had got a little plump and hated her picture being taken. She would be talking about her books and maybe tell us about the true crimes that she’s got solutions for. And she would tell us about her surfing: she was one of the first Western women to surf!

Tea at Leon's
Full of Sun!

Sounds like a great talk but it’s time for the dessert trolley! What’s on it?

We are going to be absolutely stuffed. We’re going to be throwing up after the afternoon tea and then this but we are going to have some hedgerow fruit crumbles with custard. 

Well I am 110% stuffed now. Now, for the second half of the meeting we are learning a new skill: what is it?

I’d really like to do wallpapering. Not a lot of people know it and you need someone to show you.

So we’ll just be wallpapering the Ritz I guess? Excellent, bet they’ll be chuffed. We have the raffle and OMFG you win it. What did you win?!

I’m going to have to go with the theme and have a trip on the Orient Express from London to Istanbul. Preferably in the 1920’s.

Wow, great prize. So it’s the end of the meeting and you’ve got one piece of advice to pass on to your sisters: what is it?

I might give relationship advice: don’t let your partner’s hobbies overtake yours. Be your own person.

Excellent advice! Thanks so much for sharing your meeting with us.

The next Knit and Natter will be held at Leon in Spitalfields Market on Tuesday 11 August at 6.30pm. Pop along and perhaps you’ll be President for the day!

Knot Just Knitting

A beautiful, small and perfectly formed Knit and Natter was had by all this month. We discussed the Sewing Bee’s insanely beautiful Liberty Quilt, roller skating, murder mystery parties and what Lottie Gough’s WI would look like if she took the helm…

The lovely Lottie and her beauteous Alpaca jumper
The lovely Lottie and her beauteous Alpaca jumper

Hey! So what crafting is this?

I am making a jumper. I am only part way through said jumper and there is an issue with it’s potential length. But it will be beautiful because it is made from alpaca.

So you’ve just taken over Shoreditch Sisters: you are now President! You’ve organised an absolutely amazing main meeting for this month. It’s going to be in amazing new venue: where is it?

I would have it in what was the Summer Palace in China before bits of it got destroyed in the cultural revolution. Boom.

Well that going to be amazing. And we’ve got ourselves a new bar person: who is it?

It’s Ryan Gosling. It’s Drive Ryan Gosling. I just want him.

Don’t we all, well I think I need a drink and it’s your round: what are we having?!

I’d buy everyone a Tequila and lemonade because it is the most underrated drink but once you’ve tried it you’ll say “why have I never tried this before?!”

And under the new regime the parties are always catered. What are we having for food?

One massive New Orleans barbecue: pulled pork, ribs, wings, chips of course, coleslaw, everything.

I’m going to be stuffed. We have an amazing speaker: who is it and what are they chatting about?

Frank Warren who does Postsecret, I’ve watched the TED talk about twenty times and I cry every time.

What an incredible talk… No, I’m not crying I’ve just got something in both my eyes… but anyway it’s time for the dessert trolley! What’s on it?

There’s sooo much: desert is the most important meal of the day. We are having lots of tiramisu, anything with cream. A smorgasbord of deserts, like when you go to Red Hot Buffet and you’re like “Wow”.

Chloe's beauts quilt!
Chloe’s beauts quilt!

For the second half of the meeting we are learning a new skill: what is it?

I have just finished a Rob Ryanesque paper cutting course and I’d like to get better. It’s a skill I think loads of people should try because it’s really easy but also really good!

And now onwards to the raffle. Raffle Raffle. And you only go and ruddy win! What did you win?!

That’s my round the world ticket to fly away.

Wow, great prize. At the end of the meeting you’ve got one piece of advice to pass on: what is it?

Delete Tinder from your phone and never look back!

Haha, I think I might do it!

The next Knit and Natter will be held at Leon in Spitalfields Market on Tuesday 14th July at 6:30. Pop along and maybe you’ll be the next President for the Day!

Knot Just Knitting

This month our very own Minister for Crafts Louise joined us for a chat about what she would do if she was in charge.

Louise working on her Liberty Quilt contribution

Hey! So what are you doing there with the things and the needles and the craft?!

Hey! I’m sewing things! I’m doing some embroidery for the Liberty quilt we are working on.

Literally just this minute you have ousted our benevolent leader Jodie from the top spot and become President of our fine and upstanding branch of the Women’s Institute! Bloody go you. So I know you have organized an absolutely killer main meeting for us this month. I hear it’s being held in an amazing new venue. Where is it?

Um, this isn’t that exciting but I think Drink, Shop, Do would be quite cool.

You walk in and we’ve got ourselves a new bar person! Who is it?

Errrm, I don’t know, maybe I’ll just make the cocktails I feel like that’s better…!

In your wild exuberance at finally becoming President you order a round of drinks for everyone. What are we getting?!

Gin Cocktails. Oh and also the cocktails are in teapots!

Oh wait, shut the front door – looks like this party is catered and what a beautiful spread it has! What are we chowing down on?

Like, an afternoon tea style… with, you know little sandwiches – but AMAZING ones erm scones, hunners* of cakes.

NB *this delightful Scottish colloquialism translates as hundreds.

You have managed to wangle an absolutely amazing speaker for us. Who is it and what are they chatting about?

Mary Berry. Have we already had Mary Berry? If anyone else has already said that though I’ll have Rachel Khoo – that Parisian cook. She’s quite cool – OOooo maybe she’ll make the cocktails and Mary Berry will do the talking!

We have a little break and the dessert trolley is being brought round (yeah we have a dessert trolley now) what’s on it?

Caramel apple cake, pavlova, just ooooff chocolate éclairs, macaroons, just…you know, ALL THE CAKES.

Time for the second half of the meeting and we are learning a new skill! What’s it going to be?

I thought we could do something a bit practical, like, probably screen printing with Zeena Shah from Heart of Zeena.

Good call! Now it’s time for the raffle! OMFG… you only go and WIN! What is it?!

A pony.

A Shetland pony.

Its ginger and it’s got a wooly jumper on, you know? Like in that advert where they are dancing? One of them.

OOOOO What’s it called?!

It’s called Ginger.

Ginger the Ginger pony…*laughs*…so imaginative.

So it’s coming to the close of a stellar meeting and you’ve got one piece of advice to pass onto the ladies gathered there before you let them go back into the world. What is it?

Just keep sewing, just keep sewing!

Thank you so much for sharing your meeting with us. It’s been totes emosh and amazeballs.

The next Knit & Natter will be held at Leon in Spitalfields Market on Tuesday 9 June. We look forward to seeing you there! Maybe leave the pony at home though eh?

Blog by Katie Pepper for Shoreditch Sisters WI

Knot Just Knitting

The sun was shining and we had a delightful little Knit & Natter meeting this month. All of the important issues were discussed: the Conservative’s extension to right to buy, knitted dogs, the eternal love we have for First Dates and what Chloe Fox’s WI would look like…

Chloe at Knit & Natter
Chloe at Knit & Natter

Hey! So what crafting are you doing?

It’s a copy of someone else’s drawing of a bird for the Liberty quilt the Sewing Bee are involved in – I’m really behind schedule!

Literally just this minute you have ousted our benevolent leader Jodie from the top spot and become President of our fine and upstanding branch of the Women’s Institute! Bloody go you. So I know you have organized an absolutely killer main meeting for this month. It’s going to be in amazing new venue: where is it?

A beach in Bali

And we’ve got ourselves a new bar person: who is it?

Jamie Dornan. A naked Jamie Dornan… Yeah a naked Jamie Dornan.

Phew, well I think I need a drink and it’s your round: what are we having?!

Pina Colada! It’s the ultimate beachy drink especially when it’s delivered by Jamie Dornan

Wooaahh and this party is catered! What are we chowing down on?

I don’t do the veggie stuff so definitely having meat. Maybe a barbecue with loads of types of meat, maybe some prawns. And… erm… peppers for the veggies?

We have an amazing speaker: who is it and what are they chatting about?

Joanna Lumley on how she has become so successful without compromising herself!

Sounds like a great talk but it’s time for the dessert trolley! What’s on it?

Gooey chocolate torte, cheesecake, marshmallows, Victoria sponge, profiteroles, the whole shebang, lots of cream… served by Jamie Dornan.

For the second half of the meeting we are learning a new skill: what is it?

I’m really into Masterchef at the moment so those twits that present it will come and give us the challenge to cook for the Gurkhas!

After feeding all those gurkhas we have the raffle and OMFG you win it. What did you win?!

World peace. Is that a sh*t answer? No, I’m sticking to it.

Wow, great prize. At the end of the meeting you’ve got one piece of advice to pass on: what is it?

Be nice and life is too short to not drink alcohol.

Excellent advice! Thanks so much for sharing your meeting with us. It’s been totes emosh!

The next Knit & Natter will be held at Leon in Spitalfields Market on Tuesday 12 May at 6:30pm. Pop along!

Blog by Jodie Major for Shoreditch Sisters WI