Find Your Tribe: How to Find a Spinning Guild

Wondering how to find a spinning guild in your area? You’re not alone! In the Spring 2017 issue of Spin Off, contributor Lyssa Newport gives her tips for how to find your spinning tribe. Hint: They’re not just online; spinners roam out in the real world too. To discover where they gather, read on.

A year ago, I took the plunge and joined a spinning guild. I had started spinning casually two years ago when my friend Deb Gerish (editor of Love of Knitting) piqued my interest with her posts on Spinning Daily. I had just finished my master’s degree, so I decided to use my newfound free time learning how to spin. I made myself a CD spindle, watched a few tutorials on YouTube, and made some thick singles during Spinzilla 2015 for Team Spin Off. After a year of infrequent spindle spinning, I decided to seek out a group that I could craft with.

At first, I tried looking up Ravelry groups with other thirty-somethings, but I quickly realized that age was not the deciding factor in finding the right group. I wanted to meet other people in upstate New York with a deep passion for the fiber arts, and I wanted to find a group that could teach me a wide variety of new skills.

How do I Find a Guild?

I had never heard of modern spinning guilds until I saw one demonstrating at a local fiber festival. I have been a member of Ravelry since 2007, so I searched there first. Luckily, one of my local guilds has a Ravelry group, so I found their schedule and went to the next meeting.

Other local guilds, however, did not have listings on Ravelry. I found out about them by seeing their booths at fiber festivals and by looking at Spin Off’s listing of guilds.

I also asked everyone I know who spins and knits what groups they know of and compared their recommendations to my list. To find a complete list of local guilds, try multiple methods to research what guilds are nearby. Other spinners may be your best resource if they have done their own searches for a fiber-arts community.

Lyssa spinning at a guild meeting. Photo by Mary Catherine Lopez.

Lyssa spinning at a guild meeting. Photo by Mary Catherine Lopez.

Visiting a Guild for the First Time

At my first guild meeting, I brought a drop spindle, some fiber, and a few finished skeins of yarn. This turned out to be the perfect thing to bring, because this group starts every meeting with a show and tell. Every member gets a chance to share what they have finished since the last meeting, and most people passed around their creations so we could touch them and admire the craftsmanship up close. People passed around handspun yarn, knitted socks, and shawls, and there were several beautiful ongoing projects to admire as well. My handspun yarn was welcomed into the mix.

Most people brought travel spinning wheels, but there were a few using spindles, knitting, or crocheting during the meeting. I had packed a simple knitting project to work on in case spinning while chatting was too difficult for me.

Above all, bring your enthusiasm for spinning and any other fiber arts you love! One thing that struck me about each spinning group was the passion for spinning and knitting and how easy it was to talk with members at length about those subjects.

I found a community of like-minded people that invests time, energy, and money into building up new spinners to continue old traditions and who collectively have decades of wisdom to offer to those of us just starting our fiber journey.

—Lyssa Newport

LYSSA NEWPORT lives in upstate New York with her husband and two kitties. She loves to sew, knit, and spin yarn while watching animals frolic through the woods outside her house. By day, she teaches middle school French and art, and she loves teaching her students about fiber arts.

Featured Image: Several members of the Golden Fleece Spinners Society at a monthly meeting. Middle row, second from right: Lyssa holds handspun yarn made during Spinzilla for Team Spin Off using a guild spinning wheel. Photo by Mary Catherine Lopez.

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