Jam Jars & Tent Pegs

Last year I had a fantastic time at a WI camping weekend called Tea and Tents. It was awesome, 560 ladies from all over the country,lots of crafting and lots of fun, it was a bit like Girl Guide camp with alcohol! It was the 3rd Tea & Tents and it’s almost been a victim of it’s own success, last years tickets sold out in 13 minutes!! More importantly it became pretty stressful for the volunteers who organised it. They decided to take a year off, and from this several other smaller camps have sprung up this year. My friend Donna (from Cookridge Crumpets) and I decided to go to Jam Jars & Tent Pegs…

…it was amazing! It was held in Lytham St Annes though I have to admit I didn’t see anything of Lytham! Our home for the weekend was the Scout campsite. It has great facilities with a big hall and kitchen, activity barn and hot showers (very important!!) Even better, Donna bought a caravan a month before, she very bravely towed it to camp so we could sleep in comfort! There were just over 100 ladies there which was a nice number, you had a chance of getting to know people! Some had come over 200 miles from near the south coast!

20170623_173030On Friday I had booked a workshop on willow basket-making, it started at 1pm and I naively thought we’d be finished by about 4pm, so I was quite surprised when Cassandra, our tutor, said it was booked until 7pm! Luckily we cracked on and most finished around 5 or 6pm.

Cassandra is a great tutor, very patient, she lives in an eco village in Wales where she grows her own organic willow, which she then weaves into beautiful baskets and sculptures, as well as running workshops.She had an amazing range of willows, lots of different colours to add a bit of variety to our baskets. I didn’t realise there were so many shades of willow!


She taught us how to hold the basket handle between our knees whilst we worked on the base and how to (hopefully!) weave it without getting kinks! It was amazing how different all the baskets came out. I was really pleased with mine, it’s my first attempt and it’s a useable basket! I’m thinking of using it to collect eggs from my chickens as it’s just the right size.

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Cassandra has written a post on her blog, Green Living Muse, about the weekend, it’s a lovely description of how she saw it as a non-WI member.


DSC_0003On Saturday morning I joined a decoupage workshop, the glue and tissue paper version, we could make a bottle and a goblet, I didn’t fancy the goblet so I decoupaged a paper fan which we’d been given in our welcome pack, I used a paper napkin with birds on, I stuck them all down and then applied a light coat of clear varnish. It looks really pretty, almost chinese style. I managed to fold it up again once it was fully dry without the varnish cracking. I’m not sure when I’ll use it but it looks pretty! The idea with the bottle is that you pop a short length of Christmas lights inside.


Sunday morning found me teaching silk painting. It’s the second time I’ve run a silk painting workshop and it seemed to go really well. There isn’t time for students to use gutta so I buy gutta printed card insets so everyone can concentrate on the painting instead, mixing and blending the colours and using salt on the wet paint. They did some beautiful cards and a few said they were going to try it at home.


So what did I do the rest of the time (apart from the beach party on the Friday night and the talent show on the Saturday night!) I decided against the clay pigeon shooting, or the wakeboarding, zumba or yoga…

We made a quilt! It was the amazing idea of a lady called Kay, she planned and organised it superbly! Her idea was that we would have a quilt retreat, anyone could pop in and make just one, or several blocks. These would then be stitched together and the quilt raffled. Kay is going to sandwich and quilt the top at home and post it to the lucky winner.

Kay had cut the fabrics before hand, a gorgeous batik square and strips to go around it in lots of different colours. About four or five of us took sewing machines. It was wonderful as ladies who had never quilted before popped in to sew a block, a few were immediately hooked and stayed longer, many just popped by to see how we were doing.By Saturday afternoon 80 blocks were made, we spent ages trying to arrange them so the colours and the density were evenly spread…and even longer trimming them all to the same size! Finally  we started to sew it together.


Kay had an ingenious way of stitching them together, it’s hard to describe but basically we stitched pairs together in a strip of 10, leaving the connecting thread in between. We could then stitch the next row on, again without breaking the threads, and so on until all 80 blocks were stitched together downwards, but also connected across. It was then fairly easy to stitch the strips together, knowing it was all laid out correctly.

By mid-morning on Sunday, the quilt was complete. Doesn’t it look amazing! It was a wonderful project to be apart of.


We had a fantastic weekend, made new friends, caught up with old ones and we’re already looking forward to Jam Jars and Tent Pegs 2019!


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Flowers from your Garden

Sue writes;

Our June meeting was delayed for a week as the village hall was an election polling station on our usual meeting night. However it was worth the wait because this month we welcomed Jo Banks from Harrogate Garden and Flower School. Jo’s love of gardening persuaded her to switch careers from nursing to gardening and she qualified at RHS Harlow Carr. After time away she eventually returned to Harrogate and set up her own garden and flower school where she specialises in using local grown, seasonal, and scented flowers in all her classes and workshops, and in her flower styling business.


She arrived with two buckets of flowers freshly cut from her garden, mostly sown and raised by Jo, and told us that she’s a member of the British flower growing network, Flowers from the Farm, who’s profile is growing as many people are thinking again about where the flowers they buy come from and how many air or road miles are involved in getting them into this country. She believes that with the popularity of the slow food movement our attention is now turning to slow flowers too, locally grown, sustainable, and often wonderfully scented with a good vase life.

As she talked she proceeded to put together a hand-tied arrangement containing peonies, alchemilla, anemones, scabious, achillea, astrantias, and salvias. She showed us how to arrange the flowers at different heights and how the colour of one flower accented another. Before long she’d produced the most stunning arrangement which we all applauded and she generously gave it to us as a raffle prize. It was a wonderful demonstration for a Summer’s night and we had lots of questions for her afterwards.


In early July almost thirty of us are off to Wentworth Woodhouse in South Yorkshire, which has been much in the news recently, and our trip’s eagerly anticipated. We’re even allowing husbands along too !


Also in July a number of us are volunteering in the WI Pavilion at the Great Yorkshire Show providing food and refreshments for hundreds of hungry visitors. WI members from all across the North Yorkshire West area volunteer for this event so it’s also a chance to catch up with old friends.

coverOn the 3rd of August, between 2 and 4pm in the Village Hall, we’re having ‘Tea With The Girls’ when we’ll be serving tea and home-made cakes and raising funds for Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research), and we’re absolutely delighted to announce that a number of the ‘Calendar Girls’ will be joining us. The event’s open to everyone whether you’re a WI member or not.


Our speakers on the 13th of July are from the Harrogate branch of Rigby and Peller, the well-known lingerie and swimwear experts.

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Askwith Open Gardens


Saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th June 2-6pm


Teas in Askwith Village Hall and in Denton.

Tickets & Maps from Askwith Village Hall or any Open Garden.

Approx 20 Gardens open for £5 per head, children free.

There will be Harrogate Garden & Flower School Plant Stall at Pear Tree Cottage, Askwith.


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May Meeting

Well we had another super speaker at this month’s meeting. Charlotte Leeming, long-time presenter of BBC Look North, came along and gave us a wonderful talk about her career in broadcasting with lots of funny stories along the way.  She’d originally intended to go into journalism but whilst she was at University got a chance to do some work experience at a local radio station, which she loved, and from that, via numerous other radio stations, she heard about an opportunity to work in regional television at the BBC in Leeds and jumped at the chance.


She told us lots of stories about the mishaps and nailbiting moments she’s experienced whilst working on live TV and what for her were the most poignant moments too. Most notably covering the tragic death of Jo Cox, the labour MP for Batley and Spen, and the recent child abuse trials in Yorkshire, which were extremely harrowing. But she had lots of funny anecdotes too and of course she’s interviewed many famous people, perhaps most notably for her, Gary Barlow when he came to Leeds to promote the ‘Calendar Girls’ musical.  Apparently he was a dream to interview !

Charlotte loves the WI and all it stands for and was thrilled to come along and talk to us. She’s utterly charming and down to earth and questions continued virtually until the end of the meeting. We all left with smiles on our faces.

Our visit to Harewood House in April was very enjoyable. We had a guided tour of the Victoria exhibition, which is based on the ITV series ‘Victoria’, some of which was filmed at the house, and, apart from displaying costumes from the series, the curators of the exhibition have delved into the Harewood archives and found many artefacts relating to the house and family in Victorian times. The exhibition runs throughout the summer and it’s well worth a visit.


Our walking club is meeting on Monday 22nd May at 1pm at Bolton Abbey, walking to the Strid.

Next month our meeting will be a week later than usual as Askwith Village Hall will be in use on the 2nd Thursday as there’s a General Election apparently ! So, we’re meeting on Thursday 15th June at 7.30pm and we’re welcoming Jo Banks from Harrogate Garden and Flower School which should be another entertaining evening.



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Denman College

20170507_071411Last weekend I was at Denman College, learning lots, eating lots and generally having a wonderful time.

I traveled down by train on Friday morning, I had a couple of hours to mooch round Oxford before the complementary taxi picked me up to take me to Denman.

The college was pretty full as there was a federation visit on at the same time, it was West Yorkshire!!! I thought it might make it a little cliquey, but not at all, it was as friendly as always.

I stayed in the Moonraker room, which is Wiltshire Feds room, it was very comfortable.

20170507_120409My course was Silk Ribbon Embroidery by Marilyn Pipe, I booked it at last years federation visit as she taught us then and I loved it so much I booked to return there and then. She’s a wonderful lady, she creates a really happy and encouraging atmosphere in her classes, helped along by jelly babies!

The class this time was silk ribbon hollyhocks. We started off painting the background with watercolour paints. These have the advantage that if you don’t like the effect you can dab it off the silk noil with kitchen roll and start again! Having a little bit of colour in the background just helps give a bit of depth to the picture. Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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Making Chickens!

ca990c37fdbb0029527e42eeb6967f8cThe craft Club had a lovely afternoon this week making chicken pattern weights. Some of you may have noticed on the Great British Sewing Bee that several of  the contestants were using pattern weights rather than pins when cutting out, particularly where the fabric marked easily.

These cute chickens are designed to be pincushions, they are made from two squares of fabric and some scraps of felt. The pattern called for 2.5″ squares, however that did make a very cute, but pretty small chicken (the blue one in the middle of the photo!). We decided to cut 3″ squares.

The chickens were pretty quick to make, everyone made two during the afternoon. To make them heavy we filled them with poultry grit, which is very cheap (no pun intended!) and easily obtained from a pet shop. The fiddliest bit was trying to get the grit into the chicken, not helped by only having a huge funnel available!


The instructions we used were from a blog called Loganberry Handmade, so if you fancy making some just follow the link. The instructions are very easy to follow.

We had a  lovely afternoon sewing and chatting, especially as Sherry was visiting from America, it was great to see her again and we’re all hoping it won’t be too long before she’s back in Yorkshire 🙂



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