Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Women's Institute

For a while now, I have been wondering whether I might have become worthy of membership of The Women's Institute. I do after all spend my summer evenings making jam from fruit that I have grown, I knit (badly), make clothes for my children, have more crafty projects on the go than I can count and have a weekly menu planner. I grow my own food, often from seed gathered the previous year, have an ever growing collection of vintage kitchenalia and appreciate and covert products that are made in England. I have adopted a "make do and mend" attitude and have thrifty habits that my grandmother would have been proud of but despite having looked into membership on a few occasions, I was still unsure whether there would be space for someone like me.

Then a friend told me of a new WI group that was starting in Canterbury and lots of the mums from school were getting involved. She was in fact on the way to post her membership form at that very moment. She told me of the Facebook group and the knitting and sewing circle. It all sounded too good to be true but last night I went to my first ever WI meeting and it was amazing. There was a "show and tell" where uber talented women showed off their knitting and stitching. I am quite ashamed to say that I took a rather messy bag of wool and some unfinished starburst crochet squares for the blanket that I have been making since last summer which remains unfinished. I forgot to take the blanket, but all these lovely women kindly showed great interest in my tatty looking squares and politely asked questions. I also took the sock that I started knitted but have got completely stuck with how to turn the heal in the hope that there might be a talented knitter to show me how to do it, but it looks like I am going to have to work it out myself. I do actually see it as a bit of a challenge... watch this space.

And so in honor of finally taking that plunge and applying for membership of the Women's Institute, I am raising a glass of my homemade and homegrown rhubarb champagne. Here's to all the members of the Women's Institute from its origins in 1915 up to its Facebook groups of today and a special "chin chin" to all the wonderful ladies I met last night.

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