Monday, 30 April 2012

WI Resolutions

It's that time of year when we need to talk about Resolutions and vote on them. As a new WI this is still pretty new to us and so we thought it would be a good idea to give you a brief overview of what a resolution actually is.

The WI has a long history of campaigning and getting things done, in order to do this it has a democratic process whereby issues are raised at the grass-roots of the organisation and fed through to become the subject of our national campaigns.

The National WI website ( has lots of information about resolutions and mandates but here is a summary;
Each year every WI is invited to submit a resolution, this must be with regard to a nationwide issue that people really care about, it needs to be as relevant in a years time as it is when it is raised and it needs to be in line with the constitution of the WI

The National Federation provide the Committee of your WI with Resolution Submission Forms and together, members along with the support of the committee (and our WI Advisors) will pull together a submission and submit it to our Avon Federation who will check it against the constitution and against previous submissions to identify any duplication with previous resolutions.

These submissions will be collated into a 'long-list' upon receipt by the National Federation, they will review them again to identify if there has been any duplication in that years submissions and, once content that they are all unique, will create a short list to be reviewed by the Solicitor (to ensure that the resolution is legally viable).

When approved by the Solicitor the short list will be distributed to members via WI Life Magazine which gives all members the opportunity to vote for the resolution that they feel is most important. The National Federation will then collate the results of this vote and the resolution(s) with the overall majority will be carried forward for consideration at the AGM.

Your involvement doesn't end there. Before the AGM we will need to discuss this resolution at our meeting (ours is to be discussed at the meeting in May) and vote on whether we agree with the resolution. As a group, we will feed this back to our Delegate (who is this year from Congresbury WI) and she will take our views into consideration and will take them forward to the AGM where a vote will be cast on our behalf and, if accepted the resolution will become 'mandate' and the subject of WI campaigning in the years ahead.

The lovely ladies at Malago WI have created a potted history on campaigning; and this gives you a proper timeline and an idea of what is involved.

This Years Resolution
This years resolution is all about the recruitment of more midwives and again you can read all about the 2012 AGM Resolution on the National Website; The resolution has also been the subject of articles in WI Life and members of the committee attended a briefing meeting to understand more about the resolution and why it should be supported.

The Conservatives promised 3000 more midwives before the election (even though the Royal College of Midwives recommended that an additional 4700 were needed) and to date only 620 new midwives have been employed since the election.

There are various statistics that support the need for more midwives but in simple terms - more babies are being born (from 530,339 in 2000/1 to 668,195 in 2012/11) and jobs for midwives are actually being subject to cutbacks whilst fewer midwives are being replaced as they retire or leave the profession. Additionally there are new pressures on the time of midwives such as;
  • An increase in the number women having babies who are older, diabetic or disabled means that a labour can be less straightforward and there is a need for greater monitoring and involvement by midwives. This is also the case for teenage pregnancies and where a mother is drug dependent.
  • More diverse society means that sometimes translators are required as part of the delivery process and this adds to the time it takes to support a women through labour
  • Changing society means that there is less opportunity to rely on family for support and often new mums without any close family (or family close-by) will need additional, post natal support.

The benefits of more midwives would be a reduction in readmission, reduction in the rate of cesarean sections, shortened labour, reduced rate of forceps rate and happier mothers and families (which brings huge rewards long term)

So the case for more midwives is pretty straightforward. There is a counter argument about the amount of the money available and the work of the WI (if the resolution becomes a mandate) is to lobby the Government for greater investment in this area and a commitment to their pre-election pledge. (if you're feeling particularly keen on being heard you can also sign the Royal College of Midwives e-petition too; )

We'll be discussing this resolution in more detail at our May meeting but this should give you a flavour of what's to come.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

WOW WI Meeting Report April 2012

The WI Olympic Torch handover will take place at the beach on 24th May.  We are co-operating with Bleadon, Uphill and Worle, using various forms of transport to pass the torch along.  Details are being finalised with the other groups and we will let you know exactly what will be happening at the next meeting.

The Avon Federation Olympics is on Wednesday 18th July at Timsbury.  Members can participate in the various sporting events or just take a picnic and sit and watch – hopefully in the sunshine!

We will be increasing the fee for a non-WI member to attend our meetings to £4.00 as of next month.
We have been told that the team behind the Great British Bake Off are looking for volunteers to take part in a similar competition – but for sewing.  To find out more you can contact them on 0207 067 4822 or by email to  Alternatively you can download an application form.

We still seem to be getting a few emails returned to us as the addresses are wrong.  If you are not receiving emails from WOW-WI, please contact a member of the committee and we can correct the records.
For those members who do not use email or do not have access to the internet, we are planning a “buddy” system, where we will pair you up with another member who does use the internet and can pass on information.  Using email is much easier and cheaper for us than having to put updates in the post – particularly with the forthcoming increase in the price of stamps!

If anyone would like to contribute a raffle price, please let Sue know – the raffle is a great way of raising money to pay towards the costs of running WOW-WI, paying for great speakers etc.

Thanks to Leanne, Annie, Moira Cullington and Lucy Adams for providing wonderful array of delicious cakes, and thanks to Janice, Lara and Margaret, our refreshments volunteers this month for their sterling work.

Trips and Events
There are 5 seats left on the coach for Calendar Girls, please let Sue know if you would like one.  We will be meeting in the bar upstairs at the Hippodrome before the performance.

Sue is in the process of organising a Hanging Basket workshop at Hillside Nurseries with Grace, our fantastic speaker from last month.  Details to follow.
Marianne has organised a trip to Hestercombe Gardens on 4th August 2012.

We are proposing to organise a day at Bath Races on Saturday 1st September, more details to follow.

The West Mendip Group of WIs (of which WOW-WI is part) is putting on three trips this year.  We circulated sign-up sheets for the trip to Cardiff and the Brecon Railway  on 15th May.  Details of the other group trips to follow.

The book club is going really well and the next meeting is on 22nd May at Loves CafĂ©.  This month’s book is Dickens’ Olde Curiosity Shoppe which is receiving mixed reports from the readers!  June’s book is the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

The next Craft Club is on 1st May – Adam has promised us faithfully on bended knee that the museum will actually be open this time!  Craft Club members should be hearing from Karen Mills about the arrangements shortly.

Members of the walking club will be participating in the Bluebell Walk  on 29th April and Helen Gosling is arranging a power walk along Weston Beach on 4th May at 6:30.

Next month’s meeting is our Jubilee Street Party.  Members were allocated food to bring and an email will follow for those who weren’t there.  We will be having a talk from John Crockford- Hawley who is a local councillor and historian about Weston-super-Mare and royal events.  Helen brought along some bunting she had made and promised to post instructions for making bunting to the blog, so if anyone fancies making some with a Jubilee theme they can bring it on 15th.

Our speaker for the evening was Lisa Stevens, a very talented ceramicist who shared with us some of her techniques for making beautiful small ceramic items, such as decorative bowls and jewellery.  You can see Lisa’s work at

After the talk, we were all offered the opportunity to make some small items ourselves which Lisa has taken away to fire in her kiln and add a glaze. These will be returned to their sculptors at the meeting in May.   I’m sure Lisa was terribly worried by the beautiful masterpieces produced by our members (!) but we had a lot of fun playing with the clay.

Craft Club

The last craft club meeting was a bit of fiasco!! Twenty plus ladies turned up at the museum on a very cold evening, to find the museum closed. It was an oversight on the part of the museum and they have apologised, offering our next craft meeting free of charge, so some good has come out of it. All was not lost on the evening as all us crafty ladies piled into my flat, it was a little cramped but we managed.

This month we will be back in the museum. I believe we going to have a crochet theme so come armed with hooks and wool, hopefully the crochet experts among us can share their talent. Helen has made fantastic bunting which is displayed on this blog, perhaps she could talk about the making of this to those among you that didn't attend the last meeting of WOW-WI.

Look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday May 1st.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bunting Instructions

How to make bunting

 As promised at Tuesday's meeting, here are my instructions for making bunting. 

 See you soon - Helen

Fabric – you can use pretty much any fabric.  It’s a bit easier to use dress-making fabric as it’s thinner, this probably makes it more fluttery as well if you are using your bunting outside.  I managed to make about 3 metres of bunting (15 medium sized flags) from half a metre of fabric.  Fabric shops sell “fat quarters” for patchwork, which are useful if you want to use lots of different colours or patterns for your bunting.

Tape or bias binding – tape is easier to use as it only adds one layer to sew through, but bias binding does look very pretty

Pencil or disappearing pen
A hoover (or Dyson!)
Iron and ironing board
Sewing thread
A sewing machine

Step One: Hoover. 

I’m serious!  Unless you are lucky enough to have a massive dedicated craft-room, you will probably be laying out and cutting your bunting on your living room floor.  I always try to skip this step and I always regret it because whatever I am sewing ends up covered in cat hair and other assorted bits and pieces which end up on the floor.  Go on, off you go, come back when you’ve done it.

Step Two: Make a cardboard template 

Have you hoovered? Honestly….?  Ok then you are ready for step two. You’ll need a cardboard template so all your bunting flags are the same size and shape.  

As you can see I made mine out of Shreddies packets but it doesn’t have to be Shreddies, you can use any cereal box or other thin card.  If you’re using dress-making fabric, you can make quite small flags but if you’re using curtain material as I am in this tutorial, you’ll need something larger.  You’ll also need to take into consideration the size of any pattern on your fabric.   Subject to that, you can make them any size you want to.  The yellow and green bunting on the fireplace was made with dress-making fabric and the  flags are 19cm tall and 18cm wide and the turquoise bunting was made with curtain fabric and the flags are  21cm tall and 20cm wide.

 Step Three:  Draw around the templates

Lay your fabric out on the floor (or cutting table if you are the lucky craft room-owning lady referred to above!).  Draw around your cardboard templates using a pencil or one of those magic pens where the ink disappears over time.  At first you might want to start with just a few triangles to make sure you are happy with the size and shape after they’ve been sewn.

Step Four:  Cut out your triangles

Bet you didn’t see that one coming.  

Step Five: Pin the triangles together  in pairs, right sides together

Step Six:  Sew

Sew the two slanty sides of the triangle using a running stitch.  When you get to about half a centimetre from the end of one side, leave the sewing machine needle in, lift up the foot and use the needle to pivot the work ready to go up the other side.

Step Seven: Turn the flags the right way round

Cut off the point of the triangle...

.... then turn the flag inside out (which is actually the right way round!).  You’ll probably need to use a pair of scissors (carefully) to push out the point, particularly if you are using a thick fabric.  If you are a bit silly like me you will collect the tiny triangles this makes because one day you might need them to make mini-bunting for a fabric picture….

Step Eight: Press 

I know, I know, hoovering AND ironing!  There is a lot of stuff which seems like housework in this tutorial but it will all be worth it in the end.  The added bonus is that if you leave the hoover and the iron out people will think you have been dutifully cleaning the house and will never guess that you have spent all day crafting! 
 I find the easiest way to do this is to fold them so that the seam is in the middle and press the seam out, then put them the right way and press again. 

Trim the tops of the triangles to remove any excess fabric so you have a straight edge.

Step Nine: Pin the triangles to the tape.  

Leave a length of tape free at each end so that you can tie the finished bunting onto things.  Line each flag up so that the top of the triangle is half-way up the tape, then fold the tape over and pin.  Essentially you are folding the tape in half over the top of the triangles.  Leave a gap between each flag – I use my middle three fingers to judge the distance between them.  You can check that the tape is folded in half at these gaps. 

Step Ten: Sew the triangles to the tape
 I have used zig-zag stitch but it would be easier and use less cotton to use a normal running stitch, it’s just that I love using the fancy stitches on my machine and I like the way the zig-zags look a bit like bunting.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Book Group

WOW WI Book Group met Tuesday 10th April in the relaxed surroundings of Loves Cafe and discussed 'Me Before You' by JoJoMoyes. This book was enjoyed by all as a light easy read but one that had us weeping by the end and raised various issues, including living wih disability and euthansasia. We all empathised with the main characters and will probably seek out other books by JoJo Moyes.

The next two meetings are

Tuesday May 22 nd 7.30 pm Loves Cafe West Street Weston super Mare and Tuesday June 12th  7.30 pm.

Mays book is 'The Old Curiosity Shop 'by Charles  Dickens and June choice 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce.