Welcome to the Scottish Women’s Institutes. Scotland’s leading member based organisation created by women in 1917, designed to bring women together, with a vision to welcome every woman in Scotland to join us.

We are here to educate, to share, to campaign, to learn, to socialise, to build a community and of course, to have fun.

From life skills and arts and crafts to raising awareness of current affairs affecting women and helping inform government issues, the SWI is proud of its heritage and our future vision.

Be part of the SWI. Join us to learn how to make that perfect scone… and a bit more too!

Find Your Local Institute

We would love to welcome new members to any of our institutes so you can come along, enjoy the atmosphere, discover more about what we do, then select the institute that suits you best. You can join an institute for a small fee (approx £20-£35) per year and enjoy all the benefits of being a member.



Cast on this November to support Scottish Big Issue vendors

What is The Big Knitathon?
The Big Knitathon is an annual nationwide campaign led by The Big Issue Foundation to keep their vendors warm in the colder months. For the first time, The Scottish Women’s Institutes will be supporting the campaign and we urge all members to take part by knitting an item of clothing or even knitting a square to make a blanket. Anyone can get involved and whether you’re a novice knitter or seasoned professional, you can help us provide a warmer winter for people in need. All proceeds raised by members will go to Scottish vendors.

How can I get involved?
Register online at www.bigissue.org.uk/bigknitathon

How can I support the cause?  

Knit garments for the vendors to wear, have an event such as a knit and natter, or hold a knitting-themed raffle in support of the Foundation. To keep warm, vendors are hoping for knitted scarves, hats, fingerless gloves or blankets.

Where do I send my knitted garments or donations?
The easiest way is to set up a page (you’ll receive a link when you register) or you can send a cheque to The Big Issue Foundation, 1-5 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, SW8 2LN. You can also submit all knitted items and donations to your nearest Hobbycraft store or come along to The Queen of Purls (Saltmarket, Glasgow) on Saturday 28th November for the Big Knitathon event.


Share your knitted creations and fundraising stories 
Facebook     @ScottishWomensInstitutes
Instagram    @ScottishWomensInstitutes
Twitter         @SWInstitutes

Knitting_BigIssue   BigKnit2 

You can also read the full Press Release here >

Big Knitter - Anne Muirhead

Learning to knit before she had even started school provided Anne Muirhead (73) with a lifelong hobby that she’s never tired of.

As well has hand knitting, Anne is an expert in machine knitting and has created an incredible number of garments and other items over the years – kitting out family and friends in her cosy creations, as well as rising to the challenge of SWI competitions, and becoming a knitting judge for Scotland’s largest women’s organisation.

The retired GPO telephonist is a member of Gargunnock SWI near Stirling and finds knitting such a natural pastime that she does it while she’s sitting watching television – in fact she’s so proficient at knitting she could almost do it with her eyes closed!

Anne admits to having developed a judge’s eye and being something of a perfectionist, as she likes to see the finished item look as good as possible. But, she says, that doesn’t mean the knitting has to be complicated and she’s at her happiest knitting socks and Arrans.

Says Anne: “My mother says if you are going to do a job, do it right and that’s true of knitting - if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

“The Big Knitathon is a great way to get people knitting for a really important cause and I do hope that people get behind this in whatever way they can – knitting at home, knitting with friends or selling their work.”

Her most important advice to any Big Knitathon knitters is to enjoy taking part  - do it to suit your lifestyle, at home, with friends, hold an event or attend one organised by someone else.

But most importantly, produce items that you find quick and easy to make in order to maximise support during the limited time of the campaign, which comes to an end in December.

Joining in with the Big Knitathon is easy. Knitters can submit knitted goods or raised funds to their nearest Hobbycraft store throughout November. Simply register for free online and you will be sent a fundraisers pack. www.bigissue.org.uk/event/big-knitathon-2015. 

Big Knitter - Jane Muirhead

Forget pilates or yoga, for a relaxing pastime pick up a ball of wool and needles and get knitting, advises Jane Muirhead (47).
You can knit at almost any time or in any place – you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to pursue this hobby.

Jane was taught to knit by grandmother and her mum Anne, and followed in her mother’s footsteps by becoming a member of Gargunnock Institute, near Stirling.

Knitting comes in complete contrast to her day jobs – she divides her time between working in a dental lab as a “tooth fairy for adults” and looking after deer-stalking guests on a country estate.

No stranger for knitting for good causes, Jane knits poppy lapel badges for family and friends in the lead up to Remembrance Day and donates the proceeds to Poppy Scotland.

Baking is her first love and while Jane likes knitting, she’s not keen on knitting items that require stitching at the end. So her advice to Big Knitathon knitters is to keep it simple and follow her lead – by knitting scarves.

She says:  “With a big ball of wool, 15 stitches and knitting garter stitch all the way till you cast off, at  the other end you’ll have a scarf.

“The Big Knitathon is a great way to use a skill to help others and there really is nothing like a knitted garment for comfort and warmth.

“The effort that has gone into the knitted item will be appreciated by the recipient and it will serve a practical purpose by keeping someone warm during our cold Scottish winters.”

Joining in with the Big Knitathon is easy. Knitters can submit knitted goods or raised funds to their nearest Hobbycraft store throughout November. Simply register for free online and you will be sent a fundraisers pack. www.bigissue.org.uk/event/big-knitathon-2015. 


Why Join? Well, why not?

  • Be part of a nationwide group of women all with the same vision and passion for sharing and learning skills
  • Learn a new craft or skill in a sociable and welcoming environment local to you
  • Meet women with similar interests on a regular basis
  • Take part in social events and arts and craft competitions
  • Campaign on issues that matter to you and your community 



Only £30 one off initial fee for all new members who join online. And you will receive a free copy of our magazine each month*


Every week, every month and every year, we have a wide range of exciting events and activites that take place throughout Scotland.
These can be arranged at National level, Federation level or locally at Institute level.

View our Events Diary for a list of our forthcoming events >

Also keep up-to-date on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter !

A time of change

Welcome to the Scottish Women's Institute; an organisation dedicated to friendship, learning, skill-sharing and, of course, having fun.



Women Together is your monthly magazine, full of exciting news from around the country.

Learn about events, competitions, interesting features, Federation and Institute updates, Headquarter news plus browse our images showcasing monthly activities.

We welcome all members to contribute with their own images, articles and news. Simply email Liz our editor at magazine@theswi.org.uk.

Our magazine was launched in October, with a new A4 format, which is full of useful articles, interesting stories and latest news.

Like to receive a copy? Simply email us to find out more and to be added to our mailing list. Click here to subscribe >

Women Together Wants Your Features!

We welcome contributions from external writers.

We’re looking for features on a wide range of subjects including crafts, food and drink, women’s issues, travel, health, lifestyle and general interest. If you can supply high resolution, good quality photographs as well that would be a bonus! Length should be between 500 and 1000 words – and currently we’re particularly looking for longer articles. Fee negotiable.

Please send all copy to The Editor, magazine@theswi.org.uk, or SWI, 42 Heriot Row, Edinburgh EH3 6ES. Copy deadlines are the 26th of each month, eg 26 January for the March issue (out end of February).


Material submitted should be original. Although great care is taken with everything submitted, Women Together is not responsible for any loss or damage which may occur.

Scottish Natural Heritage Would Like Your Help...

We have attracted the attention of Scottish Natural Heritage, to help them with some research!

Elli Carlisle, Local Landscapes Officer for Scottish Natural Heritage, is collating a record of projects which have been undertaken (no matter how large or small) relating to the landscape of Scotland. Specifically, relating to how nature, history and culture have shaped it and how we continue to shape it and use it. The projects could be research based or more practical in nature and very localised, even down to a single park, or relevant to a much larger area.

Elli welcomes any information from institutes and members who have been involved in any previous projects, as the aim is to gather information about any past, current or future projects so the Scottish Natural Heritage and our partners in this work can  enable more to happen.

Please send your infomation to Ellie Carlisle, Local Landscapes Officer, Scottish Natural Heritage by email.