Last night I joined the Borough Belles WI for an evening of crafting, cake and chitchat - one of the loveliest evenings I've had in ages. Although I'm generally a very confident person I get a bit nervous before meeting new people, but was assured from their website that you should not worry about turning up on your own, and sure enough they were right. I've never felt so at ease so quickly before, it was like being in a room of friends; always a good place to be.
The theme of the meeting is different each month, next month it's guerilla gardening and last month they did a Zumba class but craft I was told by many members usually has the biggest turn out.
This evenings guest was crafty lass extraordinaire Perri Lewis. Perri amongst other things is a member of a secret guerilla knitting group and writes crafty articles for The Guardian. She started off by telling us some amusing and informative anecdotes about what she's learnt about crafts over the years from the fact it's expensive, through to her tracking of crafty celebrities. Perri's book Material World is out this Autumn and with material in mind, she brought along some fabric so members could have a go at making some fabric jewellery.
|Want one? Make one!|
Perri's sample beaded bib necklace was exquisite and reminded me of the type of accessory tribal warriors would wear, only with more bling. Clearly such finery takes hours to perfect so as a simpler introduction she showed us how to make a felt cuff by layering two rectangles of felt together and stitching ribbon at either end so it could be tied up and worn around your wrist.
Each table was given a mound of sequins, felt and ribbon.
No one on my table wanted to cut the felt up so I was nominated for the task, though I'm not convinced I cut out pieces that were particularly straight!
Of course it wouldn't be a WI meeting without the obligatory tea and cake. There was a tower of choices, I opted for this one, which was pretty good but I thought it would be more suitable for elevensees, rather than an after dinner dessert.
|The perfect purse|
This lady owned the most spectacular purse made of measuring tapes...
and produced the most blingtastic creation...totally my style, I would buy and wear this!
|Yeah! I made it myself!|
This girl who was sitting opposite me, was so chuffed with her creation...reactions like her giant smile are definately one of the reasons I am such a craft advocate: her grin is proof that craft does make a person happy.
Another fab design...
And here are some of the efforts from the lovely ladies who were sitting on my table.
My She-Ra inspired cuff, which I managed to complete despite spending over half the night chatting away. It goes to show, craft does not need to take a long time, put in as much or as little in as you like.
|Amelia's amazing bee top|
Finally I couldn't stop by and not speak with this lovely girl who was sporting the most incredible sweater...it looks good in the photo but in real life, the bees were even more beautiful. Unbelievably she purchased it from Monsoon AND it came with a free packet of seeds so that you can plant them to attract more bees. Now if that's not ethical shopping, I don't know what is...infact it's a good excuse to go out and buy this very jumper!
Nights like this make me feel really lucky - to have the chance to go out, not have to spend much money, but come back brimming with ideas and stories from new people, in an environment that's so much more welcoming than a bar blaring with loud music. If you've ever had any desires no matter how small to find out what a WI meeting is like then all I can say is go to one! You don't need to be a member. Most, if not all, will let you in as a guest and you certainly don't need to be crafty minded. I met so many women who said they can't craft and yet there they were, having a go. Inspirational!
I look forward to returning again soon : )
The Borough Belles meet monthly on a Wednesday night at the Welsh Borough Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX, a short walk from London Bridge & Southwark tube stations. If you're not a member you can still attend meetings for just £3. Or visit the WI website to find your local branch.
Thank you to everyone who starred in my photos, sorry they are all a bit yellow looking!