Main Meeting – June 2024 – An Embroiderer’s Tale

In June we held our traditional joint meeting with Dutton WI, it was great to welcome back old friends Our President, Melanie, opened the meeting with pictures of her visit to the NFWI Annual Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall as representative of a few WIs in our area. It was her first National meeting and she really appreciated the opportunity to attend – click on the following link to read the report on her experience.

Our speaker for the evening was Tina Saunders with ‘An Embroiderer’s Tale’. She studied at The Royal School of Needlework and she showed us many of the amazing pieces of coursework that she produced. It was fascinating to see the tiny stitches, incredible detail and use of shading to produce some fantastic results – her rhinocerus was particularly admired.

She then took on a number of different jobs including working for the famous shoemaker Jimmy Choo for a number of years where her work included the shoes that Camilla wore when she married Charles. Her most memorable time was the 6 years she spent as a dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II. She shared pictures of some of her favourite outfits from this period. She has now moved North and is kept busily self-employed with a wide range of projects, dressmaking and courses.

A very enjoyable talk, with the message to enjoy life, follow your dreams, and do a job you love.

Tina then judged our competition which this month was for a thimble. This picture shows Janet (our competition organiser) and Tina discussing the entries. It was very appropriate that Ann C, our winner, is a joint member of Dutton and Whitley!

Bowls – Adelaide Hough Sheild

Twelve of our members competed for the Adelaide Hough Shield on Monday 10th June. Adelaide was a leading member of our bowls team for some years until ill-health prevented her from continuing. She donated this Sheild in 1991, and this was the 34th year the competition has been held – last year we had to abandon it because of torrential rain.

This year, despite a very bad forecast, we were lucky with the weather with only one short spell of fairly light rain. It was particularly good to welcome Ann C and Eileen – who haven’t played bowls before – but proved to be very good at it!

The winner was Ann T, Janet P came 2nd and Pat G 3rd. Well done Ann, you retained the shield after winning in 2022. As always we are indebted to Joan P, a former member, who organised the ‘Round Robin’ tournament for us. It is lovely that she still helps us out, always with a smile!

May subgroup meetings

The Book Club discussed The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. A fairly complex fictional story about Agatha Christie’s actual disappearance for 11 days in 1926. Mixed views, but an interesting discussion.

Walking group had an amble around Marbury. Craft group listened to a fascinating talk by Liz Leech about the history of quilting in her family, and showed us lots of beautiful finished and unfinished quilts. Baking Beauties made an assortment of savoury delicacies.

Craft Group – Liz Leech from Dutton WI told us about her ‘Life through quilts’. She started off with a beautiful hexagonal pieced quilt made by her grandmother, now worn thin through wear, then progressed through various designs including some made from tea towels bought on family holidays! Liz classified many of her projects as unfinished – haven’t we all got some of these hiding away in a cupboard!

She is always trying new designs and explained the techniques of English Paper Piecing (stabilising fabric with paper before hand sewing the pieces together) and Foundation Paper Piecing (done on a sewing machine and ideal for getting the perfect point). The small hexagonal design shown here is based on a quilt in the V & A museum and is still a work in progress!

Baking Beauties explored savoury finger food this month. Cheese featured heavily in
some of these savoury treats. From palmiers to pate, crostini to samosas they were all very tasty!

Mersey Gateway visit

On April 24th Annette and Sue R joined a Cheshire Federation (CFWI) trip to explore the Mersey Gateway. We were welcomed to the Catalyst Museum in Widnes by our ex President Sue Bentley, now Chairman of the CWFI Public Affairs Committee.

The day began with a fascinating talk from an excellent speaker who was one of the 3 members of staff of the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust. The Trust was set up to monitor the wildlife on, in and around the River Mersey from the new bridge up to Warrington – before, after and while the new bridge was being built.

The purpose was to assess the environmental impact of the bridge building project. The results have shown that the Mersey is such a powerful river, with so much tidal flow, that the building of the bridge has made little difference to the wildlife.

We explored the Catalyst Museum, full of extraordinary history and characters of the local Chemical industry before watching water samples being collected from the river. The samples revealed an abundance of very active small creatures which we were able to observe through powerful microscopes. Certainly a healthy river. We then saw lots of bird and plant life during a guided walk round the Spike Island park. A very interesting and varied day.

Main Meeting May 2024 – Growing Herbs for Health and Wellbeing

Our speaker was William Woods talking about ‘Growing Herbs for Health and Wellbeing’. He runs Blackbrook Herb Gardens near Stockport and his love of herbs was evident from the start. He told us about how herbs have been and still are very useful for medicinal purposes (and which can be dangerous too). He also explained the culinary uses for them.

He had brought along a wide range of herbs, many of them unusual but all looking very healthy and strong. He picked them up in turn and told us the name, some cultivation advice and what they can be used for. A fascinating talk, much enjoyed by everyone. The competition was ‘A Posy of Herbs’