Whitley WI Craft Group (WI members only)

Our Craft Group usually meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 1.30 pm in Whitley Village Hall – please look on the calendar to check details.

Annette Minor leads the group and is always full of ideas and enthusiasm. People are welcome to come along to see what we are doing. There is always something for everyone, even if it is just a sociable hour or so.

2024 Meetings

In early January 2024 the theme for the Cheshire Show exhibits came through and it was ‘The Olympics’. We decided that the Craft Group would enter the ‘Combined Co-operative’ class ‘Teams’ – we had to depict one country that was participating. The display had to include 1 item of cookery, one item of craft and 2 further items of cookery, craft or Art. A total of 4 items to be judged, with additional marks for interpretation and staging.

Great Britain was unanimously decided upon. Rules were read and the process started. A table with skirt hung with red, white and blue ribbon was made. A covered tabletop of 36cms was acquired and covered in the union flag made up of exact size ribbon.

All four countries would be represented by their traditional products/trades. After much deliberation we decided on

  • Scotland – Marmalade laced with whisky with the jar suitably dressed with tamo’shanter and kilt. We also had a small putting green with golf ball and tee peg.
  • Ireland – A needle punched shamrock. We also had a piece of basalt and a bottle of Irish Whiskey.
  • England – a knitted guardsman with sentry box and also a London Bus.
  • Wales – a Bara Brith loaf with frill of beautiful calligraphy wording of the first place in GB to have a Womens Institute – Llanfairpg . . . . , also a piece of slate topped by a dragon.
  • The centre piece of the table was a spectacular torch with flames.

Sadly no prize but the comments from the judges were fair and will be considered if we enter again.

In a process that takes 5 months to complete so many people have been involved. The table maker, the stitchers of the shamrock and guardsman, the marmalade maker, the Bara Brith Baker, the calligraphy writer, the torch makers, and the stitching on of weights to hold down the ribbons. Also essential were the ladies at meetings that kept us supplied with tea and cake, the artists that gave us ideas on colours and the ladies that took in instructions for the staging and taking down the exhibit. A real team effort, thanks to everybody

We did have another team entry involving craft. Ann O’B and Susan L entered the ‘Going for Gold’ category, their exbibit included an embroidery picture, an almond cake and some apricot jam

Well done to Team Whitley!

May Meeting

Liz Leech from Dutton WI told us about her ‘Life through quilts’ , Details of this are currently on the ‘front page’ of our website

April Meeting

Our April Meeting was about making a ‘Corsage’, with really helpful materials and instructions from Julie McGuire, a friend of Annette’s. Details of this are currently on the ‘front page’ of our website

March Meeting

Our March meeting was a Glass Workshop, which was planned following our January Main meeting speaker from Moulton Glass – details of this are currently on the ‘front page’ of our website

February Meeting

The group met to start planing for the Cheshire Show. We decided to enter the Combined Crafts class with a theme of ‘Teams’. After some discussion we unanimously decided to create a display of ‘Team GB’, with items representing the 4 countries – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Whilst chatting about our entry our members were busy knitting squares for Project Linus.

January Meeting

10 Craft group members met in January to make Christmas Boxes from their old Christmas Cards. Melanie demonstrated how to make one – no glue or sellotape required, just a square card, scissors, ruler and pencil.

Melanie gave us really clear, step-by-step instructions, then helped us out individually as needed. Mostly our first attempt wasn’t quite as square and tidy as we planned, but we were very pleased with our second box. They looked really good, and make a great little gift box, or useful decorative container for storing those bits and bobs that we all have to find a home for!

Annette gave Melanie a thank you gift of a hyacinth bulb pot about to come into flower. Annette reminded members of our plans for future months, including a potential trip to the Creative Crafts show in Birmingham.

A really enjoyable, sociable and productive afternoon.

2023 Meetings

November Meeting

At our November meeting most of us spend some time making the decorative baubles that members were able to make at our October meeting. There were some kits left over, which gave us the opportunity to have another go.

Over the winter months the group will continue to support Project Linus and everyone is invited to knit some 6 inch squares to be made up into blankets. Annette’s instructions are

Use double knitting wool and size 8 needles. Cast on 38 stitches and knit 58 rows. Don’t worry if the squares don’t measure up to 6in – they will be stitched up ‘stitch for stitch’ and ‘row for row’ and then they pull into the square.

The main aim of the meeting was discuss our programme for 2024, and bring along our ideas for crafts we would like to try.

October Meeting

As well as finishing off the poppy display (below) we finished off the ‘Make a Bauble’ packs for members to use at our November meeting

Recent Meetings

‘Remembrance Day’ poppy display

During Sept/Oct we have been working on a replacement for our knitted poppy display which we have placed at our tree on the Whitley Nature Reserve in recent years.

Annette came up with another great design and we have collected 100 plastic ‘bottle ends in recent months.

At our autumn meetings we have painted them red (rather messy!), inserted black buttons as ‘heads’ to convert them to poppies, and most recently, mounted 100 poppies onto a board to form our Remembrance tribute to those lost in the wars. This display will be in place by our Jubilee tree in the Whitley Nature reserve at the beginning of November, and will remain there for a few weeks for passers by to enjoy and reflect.

Cheshire Craft Day – Oct 2023 – Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Two of our members, Annette and Jean, attended this event, organised by CFWI at Crowton Village Hall. The tutor demonstrated how to do this type of embroidery – originating in America and usually worked on a gingham material, with stitches the same colour as the material. The event was well attended and we learnt 3 stitches before lunch, and 3 after lunch.

All materials were provided – it was a good job Annette remembered her scissors as Jean had a fair amount of unpicking to do along the way

The tutor shared with us some of her own work which had won competitions – we probably would need a lot more practice to reach this level, but we did enjoy a productive and sociable day.

May/June 2023

Our group was busy working on our group entry for the Cheshire Show – Dick Whittington. It was well worth our efforts as we won 2nd prize in the Group entry. Melanie had done some beautiful quilting, showing the path to London Town, paved in gold towards the end. Annette knitted a beautiful black/white cat and Jackie did some felted animals and flowers. Susan and Jean added other craft items, not included in the judging but adding to the overall effect. Congratulations to everybody for their work on this.

March 2023 – Decoupage

Pat G led this session which proved very popular with 14 members attending. Decoupage is an old craft that Pat learnt about some years ago.When she initially started shapes had all to be cut out with a craft knife , here is some of her work.

Today kits are available with push out shapes which are much easier (and safer!) to work with. Pat had put together a kit for each of our members which contained 2 sheets of shapes which matched the design and these had to be ‘pushed out’ and arranged on top of the base picture with little sticky pads to make the picture have depth. A little fiddly to get going and a pair of small tweezers proved invaluable

By the end of the afternoon we had got the idea and all went home with a finished card and another design to finish at our leisure.

February 2023 – Preparation for the Cheshire Show

Our group are determined to have some entries in the Cheshire Show this year, and we already have ideas for the Cooperative Craft class with a Pantomime theme. Annette outlined her ideas for our exhibit which will include Knitting, Needle Felting and Quilting. No give-away here about our plans, but those present at the meeting were really impressed with the design. We will submit an entry form, and work will continue over the next couple of months.

January 2023 – Introduction to Crochet

The craft group had a great meeting in January learning about crochet work. Our old friend Joan Pattinson came along to share the many items that she had made over the last 40 years, including one of her very first projects. She had a wonderful display of different items – mats, toys, flowers and her latest project, a beautiful colourful bobble hat. She also had lots of books and magazines with some amazing pieces of work that we could aspire to!

Joan had printed off some instructions for us all to follow and, ably assisted by Annette, she demonstrated how to hold the hook, wrap the wool around our fingers and get started. We all managed to make a chain, though some of us struggled to turn around to get a more substantial piece of work! Several did manage to produce a very respectable ‘square’ of crochet, and the terms ‘double’ and ‘treble’ crochet started to make sense.

It was a real fun afternoon, as ever the mistakes all added to the entertainment. Lovely home made cookies were a bonus!
Thanks very much to Joan for her expertise, Annette for keeping us all on track and to Joan B for handling the refreshments!

Lots of our members have been busy knitting squares to make a blanket for ProjectLinus, to provide comfort for children who are sick or disadvantaged. Annette has stitched over 60 squares together to make 4 beautiful blankets.

Topics that we covered in 2022

Jan – completing the ‘Button Tree’ for our retiring President, Chris Jones
Feb – Needle Felting with Jackie Graty – making a lamb
Mar – exploring ideas for the Platinum Jubilee event
April – Assembling boxes, with rosettes, for Jubilee
May – A Jubilee dress rehearsal
June – no meeting
July – Punch Needlecraft
September – a wonderful showcase of members craft at our September Show
October – Weaving with weeds
November – We decorated the WI tree for Remembrance day with our poppy display

In March – a small group visited the Creative Crafts exhibition in Birmingham. Lots of interesting exhibits and we all bought various kits/materials to keep us busy.

Previous years

Since our first gathering in May 2018 we have learnt quite a lot from each other. We have all done knitting and stitching, made silk table arrangements and used our garden lavender to make lovely little lavender bags.   We have also made craft items for fun and enjoy seeing ideas that ladies would like to experiment with.

The Cheshire Federation  do run their own courses on lots of  craft subjects.  Several members have found them great fun and very friendly and amazed at what can be achieved in just a day. Why not come along, we are a happy bunch of ladies all enjoying a cup of tea and a natter whilst learning

A picture from our early days, when we were making knitted bunnies

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