Crafty October

October saw us making sewn felted Halloween and Christmas ornaments with Jinny from our local craft shop, Word Of Mouth.

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penguin

monster

Hard at work but time for some chatting too!

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As part of our ongoing mission to improve or learn new skills, some of our members attended a series of free sewing sessions with Jilly and they brought along their creations for the rest of us to admire.

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Thanks for sharing your crafty expertise with us, Jinny, we had a lot of fun.

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Ladybird Nostalgia

September’s meeting was one that many of us had been looking forward to – the history of ladybird books with Biff Raven-Hill from The Wartime Housewife.

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Biff was a very entertaining speaker and allowed us plenty of time to ‘ahhh’ appreciatively and exclaim ‘I had that one’ as our childhood favourites appeared on the screen. She talked us through the history of the company, how the books had evolved, why they’d proved so popular, explained the numbering system and then whizzed through the various series.

Biff had also laid out a table with Ladybird books and related merchandise that we could handle as long as we wore the gloves provided in order to protect the older and more valuable items. We were extra careful not to get cake on the precious books!

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ladybirds

To tie in with the talk, our Social Secretary, Karen Cunningham had arranged a Blind Date With A Book swap, an idea we shamelessly stole from Cottonopolis WI after seeing it on their Twitter!

blind-date

You bring a book wrapped in paper with a brief description on the front but no title or author mentioned. The idea is that you choose a book with fewer preconceptions because you’re not influenced by the cover art or who the author is.

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Blind Date With A Book chimes nicely with our existing book group, which meets on the 4th Monday of the month. Instead of all reading the same book, we bring along books we’ve been reading, then review and swap them. We find it encourages us to read outside our comfort zones and try authors and genres that we might not pick up in a bookstore or library. It also feels less like ‘homework’ than a conventional book group. If your WI doesn’t already have a book group, perhaps this model would work for you too.

Kimono Capers

For our July meeting, Katie from Japan Crafts came to talk to us about the art and history of kimono wearing.  Katie has the envious task of travelling to Japan several times a year to pick up textiles and craft supplies for her business.  She also collects vintage kimonos and kimono accessories and she brought a selection of these with her along with some craft kits and Japanese fabric which were very popular with our members.

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Fabulous fabrics from Japan

Katie has a kimono teacher in Japan so she really knows her stuff: she’s very knowledgeable about the history of kimono wearing as well as all the different styles of kimono and accessories that go with it. She began the kimono demonstration by dressing a mannequin in cotton underwear that looked like a dressing gown.

She explained that in the past kimonos used to be everyday wear but now they are kept for ceremonial and formal occasions, often to do with matchmaking, and are extremely expensive. Part of the reason for this is that the fabric is often handwoven and handprinted and can take a long time to produce. Katie told us that it can cost £2,000 to buy a handprinted silk kimono but could cost ten times more than that. Many kimonos are made of silk and they need to be kept away from the body because they can’t be washed.  We were surprised at how much padding goes underneath a kimono to get the body to the ‘right’ shape which is basically a rectangle.  The bust has to be flattened and the waist padded out and there are a number of ties that need tying around the various undergarments along with accessories to attach like collar stiffeners, so a kimono wearer may need up to 3 dressers to help her into her outfit!

There are different styles of kimono to suit the season and the summer one Katie dressed her mannequin in was deep red with multicoloured flowers.  She finished off the outfit with an obi which is a wide silk belt.  There are many shapes the obi can be tied into at the back of the kimono, and Katie showed us one called  ‘plump little sparrow’ which required a great deal of skill.

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Plump little sparrow

To finish off the outfit, the fashionable Japanese woman would wear white ‘tabi’ or split toed socks with wooden sandals.  The complete kimono ensemble looked amazing but for the wearer, maybe not so comfortable and not so easy to visit the loo in a hurry!the finished kimono

by Polly Williams

Eggs-ellent time at the Egg Factory – July 2015

All change this month as we swapped our usual meeting venue of the Town Hall for the fabulous Egg Factory on Valley Road, Hebden Bridge. The Egg Factory is a creative co-working and screen printing space, and our marvellous member, Sue Mellis is one of the collaborative super brains behind it.

After a short introduction to the factory and an explanation of the co-working project we all rolled up our sleeves, shook off our inhibitions and got down and dirty! Who knew printing could be so much fun?

The group made some rather gorgeous greetings cards, and prints.

EF Amber

And after that, it was time for some hard earned tea and cake, of course!

EF tea and cake

Yearly co-working memberships are available at the factory, offering artists the chance to work in a shared space, with all the opportunities for collaborating, economising and friendship that that brings. In addition, there is a programme of fabulous making and doing workshops throughout the year, including a comprehensive four week ‘Learn to screen print’ course.

You can find out more information about the Egg Factory right here.

May’s AGM

May is our annual AGM, so naturally there was plenty of business to plough through. Kirsty Hall stood unopposed as President for a second year and was duly voted in, while Karen Cunningham and Fliss Johnson-Standley were elected to the committee.

We also change our Charity Of The Year at the AGM. Although it’s always sad to say goodbye to a charity that we’ve spent a year supporting, we are happy to announce that Hebden Bridge WI raised £1000 for SmartMove, which will help fund their excellent work with homeless people in Calderdale. We wish them all the best in their future fundraising.

And we’re delighted to announce that this year’s Charity Of The Year is the WomenCentre in Halifax, who are recognised as national leaders for their innovative, women-centred approach to dealing with complex problems like domestic violence, homelessness and addiction. It’s their 30th anniversary this year, so they’re trying to raise £30,000 in unallocated funds and we’re all fired up to help.

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Invite: Printmaking at The Egg Factory

Hello my lovelies,

this will be brief because I am in the middle of packing to go to Tea & Tents, the unofficial WI camping trip, which is happening this weekend. 530 WI women in a field in Nottinghamshire with lots of booze and cake – what could possibly go wrong!

This month’s meeting is on Monday 20th July. The doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and visitors are welcome for our usual charge of £3.

The most important thing to remember is that Monday’s meeting is NOT in our usual venue.  Instead, we will be visiting The Egg Factory at Windsor Works Adjacent Unit, Victoria Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8JX.

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Invite: Buzzing with bees

Hi everyone,

It’s June and the weather is finally picking up, so it’s the perfect time for us to support the WI’s SOS For Honeybees campaign with a talk from our resident beekeeper, Jen Kaines.

At this month’s meeting on Monday 15th June, Jen will be introducing us to her interesting hobby and explaining how we can all help bees and other pollinators by planting nectar rich flowers and providing habitats. I know gardens are a rarity in Hebden but even a few pots or a window box can make a surprisingly big difference to insects.

And because we’re all about the eating at Hebden Bridge WI, there will also be a honey tasting to explore how different plants affect the taste of the honey. Did you know there are over 300 distinct flavours of honey in the world? Sadly we won’t be trying them all but we will have a few for you to try.

The doors open at 7-ish for a 7.30pm start on Monday 15th June. Members are free and guests are welcome to come along for £3.

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