Saturday, May 7, 2011

W.I. do I put myself through it?

As regular readers will know I am a member of my local WI. We are a WI Lite, a contemporary twist on the traditional WI aimed at younger women. Think more Mojitos and Mamma Mia than Jam and Jerusalem.  I love it even though it has ruffled a few feathers among traditional WIs.  The WI has become a hot ticket with groups of young, sexy women getting together to learn the traditional crafts that, in previous generations, were learned at their mother's knee. Those were the days when Mother stayed at home and make do and mend was king.  If nothing else it has given me an opportunity to discover so many traditional crafts that I am totally crap at.

Take knitting for example. We have a good number of very accomplished knitters among us. People who can actually wear their creations.To launch our knitting group 'Finish the Row' (that's row to rhyme with toe, not row to rhyme with how)  they spent an evening teaching the duffers among us how to cast on and knit. Those that were slightly more capable knitted chicken vests for follicly challenged ex-battery hens. The pattern read like advanced Chinese.  I opted to make a mouse blanket, otherwise known as a square. It did come out vaguely square-like and, flushed with success I headed to a charity shop and bought some knitting needles and wool to knit a scarf. I chose some lovely thick dove grey wool and what turned out to be relatively small needles. One ball of wool made about 4 inches of scarf and with the prospect of several years of intensive knitting just to make it long enough to loop around my neck I soon lost interest.

Then there was jewellery making. Probably the less said about that the better. It seemed a simple enough task. Take a piece of silver wire, fashion it into a heart shape, attach a ring from which to suspend said heart and voila!  A piece of individually designed, origainl jewellery that no-one else will have - or in my case ever want to wear.  Suffice to say while my fellow designers were wearing their creations I was pounding mine with a rubber hammer muttering expletives under my breath.

'Not going well then?' commented one of my fellow designers, sporting her beautifully shaped heart pendant.. Too bloody right.  As the chairs were being stacked and the lights being turned off I was still trying to make my heart look like something that wasn't in the early stages of cardiac ischaemia. In the end I hastily made a pair of earrings for the Girl which required zero ability and the heart went in the bin.

Then came Christmas wreaths and, as proof that occasionally miracles do happen, I turned out to be quite handy at these. Typical, my only skill is one that you can use once a year!

So we moved on to hand tied bouquets. Easy peasy. Select your flowers. Take one central one then add your next one to the front. Turn your bouquet through one quarter turn and add another flower. Once again, as the lights were going out I was fighting with the end result of a nuclear explosion in a florist's shop.

This week we were making felt brooches. Terribly simple. Two sides in the shape of a bird. Stitch on a button Bob est votre oncle. I sat on the duffer's table where what we lacked in talent we made up for in laughs at each other's sorry attempts. This time I was the second to last to finish having decided to sew my birdie brooch together with some sort of bastardised blanket stitch.  As a final flourish I persuaded our Secretary, and all round capable person, to chain stitch some feathers on it's little wing. That was probably the best part of it.

I showed it to The Girl. "Oh look Mum, you've made a mutant pink chicken". I showed it to The Husband.  "Do you like it?" I asked.  "Err.....". I even know someone, who shall remain nameless but you know who you are, who was planning to pass hers off as the handiwork of her 7 year old daughter.

Next month we start work on an art installation for the village. We've won a grant from our local council to work with a proper sculptor to create a 'thing of beauty'. Apparently when the Parish Council were asked if we could create something to be displayed in a little corner of land known as Pound Piece they, rather unkindly, laughed!

Perhaps I'll just stick to making the teas and coffees. I'm quite good at that......


I am, I really am!

14 comments:

Steve said...

Making a good cup of tea is worthy of an honourary angelhood in my book.

Perpetua said...

Why? Because it's fun, Wylie Girl. :-) Even if we're hopeless at it, being hopeless tohgether gives a lot of laughs and just occasionally, as you've found, something WORKS!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello:
We are sure that you are being extremely modest [and if not, then very amusing] about your achievements with handicrafts. However, this is a road we have never ventured down, not being at all sure what we should do with the results, that is if there were ever to be any.

Have a very happy, non-making weekend!

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, does that mean I can be your very own honorary angel?

Perpetua, you're spot on. It's great fun. I've had some of my biggest laughs at our WI. But it would be nice if it worked a little more often!

Wylye Girl said...

Jane and Lance, I wish I was being modest, but no, I really am rubbish at these things. The trouble is I am too much of a perfectionist. I visualise in my head exactly what it should look like and anything that falls short of that is just a disappointment. Still I have fun disappointing myself!

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

A girl after my own heart - I have no talent for creative stuff. Chortling at chicken vests and mouse blankets!

Curry Queen said...

Reminds me of the time at school when we were instructed to make nightgowns for our mothers. I misread the instructions as to the amount of material and the resulting monstrosity was known as The Barrage Balloon in our house for years afterwards. (sigh)

Steve said...

Absolutely. Anytime. Two sugars please.

Elaine said...

Your post made me smile... I'm the teas and coffees girl too - I know my place, and over the years have had loads of practice!

Wylye Girl said...

Trish, someone has to be crap at this stuff after all

CQ, I could blog for a year on my creative disasters!

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, noted!

Wylye Girl said...

Hi Elaine and welcome. Hope you got your taps sorted. We've had our own plumbing disaster today which I shall be blogging about so watch this space!

Elaine said...

Oh dear, plumbing disaster doesn't sound good. At least ours was just annoying rather than a disaster!

Sarah said...

I'm crap at creative stuff too, except making 3' Christmas kings out of tissue paper - as useful as the wreath - no less, you can make funeral wreaths too...

Love the idea of chicken vests.

I couldn't have learned much from my mother as she started knitting a tank top for me that by the time she'd finished was 2 sizes too small she taken so long. My granny was an ace knitter and WIer. My mum makes great jam and marmalade though so we don't mind about the knitting...

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