Are there any wandering guilds out there?

We're holding our monthly meetings at the city library, which is very nice, but  we have our guild library in storage, and we haven't got anywhere to teach or hold a workshop. We keep looking for a spot, but nothing suitable has turned up.

Has anyone been through this, and what have you done to find a home? Any ideas for affiliations with other groups, sharing space in an unusual setting?


dteaj (not verified)

Our local spinning guild meets at an environmental sanctuary. We have a small library there in a storage room,  which is available to members at most meetings. We use members homes and rental spaces in arts coops for workshops.

One of our local weavers guilds is large and well established. It meets in a church and has space for classes and a large library. Workshops are held in rental spaces.

The other local weavers guild is smaller. It meets at the local yarn store, although it has rented space in a church in the past. It has no established place for the library. The librarian brings in a selection of books, including any that have been requested by individual members. This is clearly a major hassle for the librarian, but it does function as a service for guild members. It has workshops at a local historical museum, which the guild also demonstrates at.

Our local spinning guild is having its own issues. We are currently without a programs and a workshops coordinator. Any ideas as to how to recruit activity on guild boards?


jeanne (not verified)

Thanks for sharing that! It's always interesting to see what kind of arrangements can be made to make activities available to weavers.

We do a similar thing with our library, although anyone can go to the facility to get a book at any time, too. I really wish we had a yarn store here that would cater to weavers also. I learned to weave in that kind of setup, where the classes were run by a shop owner.

It's interesting the kinds of liaisons that can be made- the historical societies, churches, art co-ops. We'll need to try to come up with some new "partnerships."



wries (not verified)

Our guild has very few weavers but mostly spinners.  Our guild also has disintegrated from a formal organization to a somewhat loose group.  The problem of a home is major.  We have many books and lots o equipment and it is all in 1 member's home and not accessible.  I have been trying to get us to form a  consortium with other fiber groups in the town so that we could go together to find a nice sized home, maybe write some arts grants and so forth.  To no avail.

In fact, this all seems too much work for the guild and no one willing to take on the project.  In the past, with programs, etc. all of the work is done by one person with little help.

Not sure where this leaves us.

lindaspins (not verified)

We meet at  a park facility--the deal is that we get meeting space in exchange for providing spinning/fiber demos for 2 of their annual events. We do not have storage space there--our library is housed with the librarian, and we don't have any guild owned equipment to speak of. Prior to our current home, I'm told meetings were held at a church hall.

The last 2 workshops were held at the same facility, for which we made a donation. We have also used library meeting rooms (also for a donation). Other regional guilds often seem to hold workshops at various church halls.



I just found you all. I'm Vice President/ Programs Chair  of  the Weavers and Spinner Society  of Austin, in Austin, TX. We're a relatively small but maybe actually growing guild. Maybe about 50 members?  We meet in a room a Rec Center, and have 2 locked bookcases there for our library. But guild equipment is stored at various members house, as is fiber and the rest of our library. We'd love to find a home where we can have it all  in one place, but that's hard to come by without paying a lot of rent too.  Interested to see what ideas I can get from this group.

juvondajones (not verified)

 I am a long time weaver, new spinner and we're going to start raising alpacas this summer, we have purchased 7 who are going to live with us............


I am not in any guild, and do not know how to get one started in my area.  What do you do?  How often do you meet, would like to hear about different guilds.  I'm in south central Indiana.

jeanne (not verified)

Welcome juvandajones!

First, I'd suggest that you try to find a guild in your area. There are several guilds listed right here on Weavolution. You can also go to the Handweavers Guild of America website; they have a listing of guilds by location there.

Also consider regional guilds, or groups online.

If there are no guilds close to you, you might consider starting a group on your own. First you'll need to find others in your area who would like to be part of a group. You'll attract more people if your range of interest is broad--say, a "fibers" group- as opposed to a just spinning or just weaving group. But it isn't really necessary to be formal- just a gathering of friends with similar interests. And you may not need to go further than that! You may want to meet informally, simply to show and share, and to have a social network.

But things can grow, and if they do, you may want to start a formal organization. Usually there is a monthly meeting. There may be a presentation, lecture or hands-on activity at the meeting. Study groups may form. You'll need to start  thinking about making up a mission statement and bylaws, electing officers, and possibly about incorporating. Then you'll get to the fun stuff like finding a meeting space, starting a library, holding workshops, teaching classes, etc.

But begin at the beginning! And I hope you'll find lots of local people who share your interest and enthusiasm. And let us know how you progress!



jeanne (not verified)

Hi Ingamarie!

I hope you'll get lots of ideas from this group. It is usually quiet here, but some really great ideas have been posted so far. Your guild sounds like it's on a good track with a growing membership. I hope you'll check in with us about your progress. I think that solutions to problems like finding a space are as unique as the communities we are part of. And we need to be creative and flexible to make our guilds work for the members, and also for our communities.

Good luck!


Gloria Smiley (not verified)


I moved from WI to SO IL a couple of years ago and had a hard time finding a guild.  Kept getting the "I know there's one here but don't know anything else or where they are" response.  Finally, I made the connection.  It's a very small 6 - 8 people and no set programs, but at least we're like-minded. 

We meet in homes and have an occassional workshop in something taught by one of us.  I really miss my big guild in WI because of the teaching, but you take what you get.  The closest large group is a 2 hour drive for me.

I still haven't found a spinning guild, but I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

I guess my point is to keep asking about groups.  It took me a year to find the weaving guild, but it was worth the search.

lkautio (not verified)

There is a group of 27 Indiana Weavers on Weavolution.  Would be a good place to find out what's already around.  Ruthe Stowe's wonderful website of weaving links has a guild area:

Also, look at the Midwest Weavers Association:

Laurie Autio

jemwork (not verified)

a few years ago my guild (Chautauqua Weaver's Guild) was faced with a meeting place challenge. The YWCA in Westfield, NY obviously wanted us out. We were a legacy, paying $40 a meeting month. It was a great space - large, with moveable tables and acess to a kitchen. They wanted someone else & were scheduling other groups at the same time & forgetting us. So we needed to move to a place that would take us & the library.

Those librarys are such a treasure & such a problem! One member was also a participant at a local church & found space for our meetings & library. Didn't want money at first, but we insisted - who knows how they'll feel in the future. Not as great a space in terms of lighting & we can't plan workshops longer than one day there, but its a good space.

Churches are often very community minded, especially if one of your members is an active member in the church.

How small are you rating small guilds? CCWG runs about 42 members, with 20-25 active. I get to be president for awhile, much better than treasurer.


Here's a photo of two members moving the library in 2008.

jeanne (not verified)

Hi Jemwork!

Thanks for your post and picture. Looks like you were having a good time of it in spite of the snow! As a former New Englander living in Florida, I'd almost forgotten about that stuff!  Moving the library is something we've done twice in the last two years. First move was similar-- the organization whose space we were using no longer had an interest in our activities. We then found a nice space in a museum with a great staff and an older, but usable basement facility. Then came the floods! We made a hasty relocation of the library to a storage facility, for which we are paying enough rent that it's a real burden on the treasury. I hope your present location will serve you well whatever the weather!

There is one church in our city which has shown a lot of support for the arts and other community organizations. Their downstairs space is always buzzing with activity, be it church related or community music and art classes.  It's definitely a  place we need to check out.

I suppose a "small" guild could have any number of members. Ours has 24 with a dozen or so active.

Enjoy your term as President! I hope you'll share more with us about your guild, and about your adventures in your new location.


CateK (not verified)

I'm president of a very small Spinning and Weaving Guild in the Northern Neck of Virginia. We have about 10 members with paid dues, several folks who pop in from time to time and about 5 to 7 die-hards. This month we are moving equipment and library into the Rice's Hotel/Hughlett Tavern, Yellow Cat Saloon in Heathsville, VA. It's not a huge room but the lighting is good and we have to keep it very tidy (which is good discipline for us). Our primary focus is going to be preserving old skills to share with younger folks. The guild dues are very low, but you must also join the RHHT. Once a member, you can use the room and the equipment and provide your own supplies. Non-members will pay a fee to use the equipment, but I'm sure there are folks who aren't sure they want to commit to a guild but who want to give spinning and weaving a try for a little while. If they like it, we will deduct the fee they paid from their dues. Members also contribute their time to teach others and/or make stuff to sell which allows the guild to support itself. Business meeting is once a quarter on a Saturday afternoon. The studio is officially open for business and manned on Tuesdays and Saturdays with different guild members making sure it is covered.

jeanne (not verified)

Hi CateK,

I checked out the Hotel/Tavern website. You are very lucky to have such a nice community center. Will your guild focus on "traditional" weaving? It seems to me that the  larger group has a contemporary focus and would not be doing, say, historical reenactments.

I like the option you give to folks to try things out  for a while before making a commitment. We'll have just one day this year to do that at the local library- we're going to bring in warped looms and let the public have a try at it. But I think it takes a little more time and effort to really know if you want to commit to it. Looks like you've got a nice setup for people to work at their own pace. As far as making a mess goes, that's a tall order for any weaving group! Good luck and have fun!


sarahnopp (not verified)

The Olympia Weavers Guild is very lucky to have space at one of the rural fire halls. We are able to use their big meeting space for monthly meetings and classes (yes, we pay for it) and they even let us keep our rambling library collection there. In fact, they are letting us buy them new shleves that will allow us to store even more library materials there. Our guild owned looms and tools are stored at a member's home. We have maybe 60 members? Maybe 25 who attend a meeting?

Oh- we also use the Fire Hall for our annual Show & Sale at the beginning of December. It is a really nice set up for us.

My quilt guild is rather huge (178 members) and we rent space at a nearby church, which allows basically the same arrangement as the Fire Hall, but with more parking.