Victoria at Harewood


Last Tuesday we had a lovely day at Harewood House, we had a private tour of the Victoria exhibition, so we were looking round for an hour before the house opened to the public.  As Harewood House was used in the filming of the TV programme ‘Victoria’  they now have an exhibition about Victoria, including many of the costumes used in the programme.

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Stained Glass Nativity

On Saturday myself, Theresa and Margaret G had a fabulous day at Alma House on a workshop making a stained glass nativity.


Margaret G’s Stained Glass Panel

We were all very different levels of experience, Margaret G had made a stained glass panel at Denman before, Theresa had done a workshop on stained glass birds at Alma House last year. I’d never done anything like this and really didn’t think I would manage to make a whole nativity in a day…

Our tutor for the day was Rachel Poole, she was great, she had prepared us all a box of equipment which include one piece of glass already cut out, this was either Mary or Joseph. These two shapes made the templates for all the figures, our neighbour had the other one so we could swop templates, basically it was a kneeling person and a standing person.

First lesson was how to cut glass, I didn’t find it easy scoring the glass along a wavy line, and trying to break it ‘like a kitkat’ was somewhat scary!! Luckily the next stage was grinding the edges, this neatened off all the bits I cut badly and allowed me to add curves where I’d missed them off completely!cut_glass_hand1

The soft lead was wrapped around each piece of glass, that was quite satisfying as you could see it starting to come together. We arranged all the pieces on our boards so we knew we had everything the right way round before moving on to the last part, soldering…

I’ve never done any soldering before, it was quite scary to start with! We worked in pairs again, one holding and the other soldering, you certainly had to trust your partner as the heat coming off a 1000’C soldering iron an inch or too from your fingers is pretty intense!  We both kept having to remind each other to add tallow, a beef wax without which the solder won’t stick. It was fascinating watching the solder move, a bit like mercury, I still don’t really understand how it doesn’t break the glass just from the heat.DSC_0003

Once the basic figure was soldered we could add the extras, such as shepherds crooks, crowns for the kings and a halo for Jesus. I added a star to my stable too. DSC_0002 (2)

Solder cools almost instantly, and once the sets of figures were soldered together at the front they could be bent round so the group would stand.DSC_0001

I am well chuffed with my nativity, as well as amazed that we all completed a whole set, three kings, three shepherds and a sheep as well as Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Hopefully Margaret  will bring hers to the meeting too so I can add photos of hers too.


Theresa’s Nativity

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Margaret C’s Nativity

I think this was one of the best workshops I’ve done at Alma House, Rachel was great, she kept it fun whilst making sure we were safe, she was patient and an excellent teacher.

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Federation News & Dates

  1. Denman visit : May 2018 : Unless any individual has heard otherwise everyone who applied has got a place on their chosen course. Final payment is due by 2nd February 2018 and final details will be sent shortly.20170507_071411
  2. Federation Quiz Winners : Burton Leonard WI; we came a very respectable 4th, just 7 points behind the winners!
  3. AGM 2018 Cardiff : 5 – 7 June : It is our turn to send a delegate representing our group of four WI’s. The delegate needs to write a report of the AGM and either present it to each WI or send them a report. It’s a great experience attending a national AGM, so if anyone would like to be delegate please let us know at the November meeting.
  4. Climate Change Day : Friday 17th November : Venue and timings changed, now at Alma House from 10.30am to 3.30pm. £20
  5. Resolution Selection Meeting : session added on Wednesday 29th November, 2pm and 7pm at Alma House.  Find out about proposed resolutions which have been put forward.
  6. Christmas Show Special; Thursday 7th December  10.30 – 3.30 Masham Town Hall. A Christmas themed show, live singing and performance. £15Service of Thanksgiving
  7. Carol Service; Saturday 16th December 11am, Ripon Cathedral. A lovely start to Christmas.
  8. Christmas Floral Workshop Monday 18th December £20.

Looking forward to 2018

  1. International Day; 9th March Burton Leonard. Celebrate the culture of India through food, music & entertainment.
  2. Zarzo baskets; 15th & 17th March
  3. Spring Council Meeting; 24th March, Harrogate Pavillions
  4. Willow Plant Climbers; 6th & 7th April
  5. History Wardrobe; 18th April at Hackforth


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Fold & Stitch Wreath

Last autumn one of the quilting facebook pages I follow was full of beautiful Christmas wreaths made from a pattern by Poor House Quilts, I thought they were gorgeous but I knew I didn’t have time to start making one at that time…roll on a year and a workshop was announced at WI to make one, myself and Marion signed up!

We received a list of requirements which included three different fabrics, some bondaweb and some stuff I’d never heard of before called Bosal, or to give it it’s full title, Bosal 4955 In R-Form Single Sided Fusible Foam…a bit of a mouthful! I managed to order some through Hobbycraft, it’s weird stuff, like a stiff, spongy interfacing. I popped down to Samuel Taylors in Leeds and found some gorgeous Christmas fabric in a rich red, green and cream, all with the same gold pattern on.

Anyway, back to the workshop…Marion and I travelled over to Ripon to  Alma House, laden with sewing machines, cutting boards etc and had a wonderful day stitching and creating.

Our first job was to cut everything out and prepare everything, this seemed to take most of the morning…twelve 7″squares in the red and green fabric, twelve 5″ squares of cream fabric, with Bondaweb already applied,  twelve squares of bosal. 

The bosal was bonded to the green squares, they could then be stitched to the red squares with the stitching line right next to the bosal. They were then turned through a cross cut in the centre of the red fabric, this turned out easier than I thought it might. After a good press the cream squares were then centred over the red (covering the hole) and ironed on.

Satin stitching round the twelve cream squares did seem to take forever…and took an awful lot of thread! Eventually I had twelve neat squares all ready to stitch together.

The squares are stitched together at a certain angle, the template comes with the pattern. My sewing machine wasn’t too keen on the thickness of the two squares, I broke one needle whilst I got the hang of it! The squares were stitched into pairs first, then fours and eventually altogether in a circle.

All that was left to do was to hand-stitch the corners together to make the cone shape. I decided to stitch a bead on at the same time. I just managed to stitch the last bead on with about two minutes to spare before the end of the workshop. It was a pretty intensive workshop, the tutor was great at circling round everyone to make sure we were all doing OK, it was a very big group for her to manage. 

That evening at home I decided to add a few more beads on all the joins and the points, they are a nice gentle gold bead which adds just a little twinkle, they also neaten up any uneven seams or not so sharp points!

These wreaths were not half as complicated as I thought to make, just in case you’re still trying to get your head round the design, the green is the bottom square which curls up to the front. The red is the top square, this is then almost covered by the cream applique square. The stitching round the cream square helps give it structure.

I’m really pleased with my wreath, it will look great with a candle in the middle over Christmas. They also look nice just hung on the wall. Marion’s is beautiful too, hopefully she will bring it to the next meeting so I can add some photos of hers too.

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Walk around Harewood


Our walking group were blessed with fine weather last week when Tina led us around the Harewood estate on a route I’ve personally never taken before.

It was a perfect Autumn walk with all the delicious spicy, damp smells of the season, birdsong, a glimpse or two of Red Kites, the sound of hundreds of geese preparing to migrate, and flocks of red deer gathering together for the rutting season, plus wonderful glimpses of Harewood House itself.DSC_0277

In all we walked around five miles with one or two steep hills which, as everyone knows, I don’t like ! But it didn’t matter because the whole walk was so enjoyable. We rounded it off with delicious coffee, tea and cake in the (new to me) cafe at the back of the village hall. That was a real surprise and highly recommended if you plan to walk around Harewood.

Hazel (2)

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Federation Quiz Team

Our quiz team were celebrating again having won comfortably at the first round. There were seven teams from the area at Bolton Abbey village Hall and the questions were pretty tough, try these out;

Name five of the seven wonders of the world…and you only got one point for all five!!

Give the first six words of the 1863 Gettysburg address.

Which part of the flower becomes the fruit?

Which English County with a sea border has the shortest coastline?

On which island is Fingals Cave?

We had a lovely supper provided by Bolton Abbey WI, and Hazel was very organised with pre-supper snacks and a bottle of wine to help the team along.



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Ilkley Playhouse

Roger and Barbara Davey from Ilkley Playhouse were the speakers at our September meeting. Roger began by giving us a brief history of the drama group, known from the beginning as the Ilkley Players, who produced their first play in 1929.  After using various venues around the town they finally settled in part of the Liberal Club in Weston Road and in 1960 were able to purchase the freehold of the entire building and could then begin to convert it all. Roger went on to explain how they select which plays they’ll perform each year starting with sixty titles and eventually whittling these down to eight. He also told us a little about how the sets are built, the sound and lighting, the auditioning process, and the intensive rehearsals which take place before each production finally opens.

Then Roger introduced Barbara who gave a very interesting account of their production of ‘The Jungle Book’ which they performed in Ilkley this year and which the cast and crew then took to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall during the summer. She gave us a brief history about how this wonderful and unique open air theatre was created, perched in the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.<> on August 2, 2013 in Penzance, England.

She’d brought along some of the inventive costumes and masks which were made for the production. Barbara had agreed to take on the job of making the masks which involved a great deal of research and a lot of trial and error working out the best materials to use and how the actors could keep them in place whilst performing. It was truly fascinating to learn how she did it and the masks were quite amazing. Then we had a Powerpoint tour of the costume department at the Playhouse and shots of the final production in the spectacular surroundings of the Minack Theatre. Once again a fascinating evening.

Our visit to Menwith Hill in August was an eye-opener, especially for those of us who went all the way up to the dish inside one of the golfballs ! Never imagined we’d do that. image

We enjoyed the Celebrating Yorkshire Day with Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess, and just last week a team from our WI took part in the preliminary heat of our Federation quiz when over 60 teams from North Yorkshire West compete. Although we won at our venue we won’t know for a while if we scored enough points to go forward to the final, so watch this space.

As usual we have our craft and walking groups, and a monthly lunch get together and in October our speakers are Jill Turton and Amanda Wragg, restaurant critics for the Yorkshire Post and restaurant inspectors for a number of national food guides. They’re passionate about good food and claim to have eaten at every halfway decent restaurant in the whole of Yorkshire…… well someone has to do it !

Sue A





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Rigby and Pellar Visit

Following our July meeting where two ladies from Rigby and Pellar came to tell us the history of the company and all about corsetry, several ladies took them up on their offer of an evenings appointment at their Harrogate shop.

Judging by the smiles they had a very enjoyable and uplifting time at the store!


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