Introduction to the Weavers Guild of Minnesota
The Weavers Guild of Minnesota (WGM) is a non-profit 501C3 organization dedicated to preserving the arts of spinning, weaving and dyeing. Members can take classes, attend programs, exchange ideas, find fiber, equipment, inspiration and friends to further develop their craft.
- Programs on weaving, spinning, dyeing and other fiber arts are presented by guest speakers at monthly meetings September – May, usually the 2nd Thursday of the month. Monthly programs are free and open to the public. Descriptions, date and time of monthly programs are found under the “Meeting & Event” drop down, under the “About & Visit” tab on the WGM website.
- A few announcements are made and new members are welcomed prior to the presentation. Show and tell follows the program, for which members bring completed projects. Class participants are encouraged to bring completed class projects.
- Potluck gatherings are scheduled once or twice per year for WGM Members, usually as the December and May monthly programs.
- Guild members sell hand made items at the Fiber Fair sale each November in NE Minneapolis. Admission is free and open to the public.
- WGM members demonstrate fiber activities every year at the Minnesota State Fair.
- Interest groups are informal gatherings to learn and share projects and skills focused around a central interest. Group members are a mix of all experience levels and drop-in visitors are always welcome. Visiting a group, even without any knowledge about the topic, is a great way for beginners to meet other members and learn new techniques.
- There are several areas of interest: spinning, new weavers, small loom weaving, rag rugs, dobby, draw loom, and Scandinavian weaving.
- The Interest Groups web page lists meeting times, place, and contact information.
- New groups can be created by any member with an interest by contacting the office.
- WGM committees and task forces depend on volunteers to organize regular activities and special events. The committees include Education, Exhibits, Library, Fiber Source, and Outreach. WGM receives many requests for spinning and weaving demonstrators for schools, libraries and other festivals as well. Please let us know if you’d like to help out by filling out a volunteer profile at the bottom of the volunteer web page.
Classes & Workshops
- Classes are offered in spinning, weaving and dyeing fiber (sometimes in partnership with the Textile Center).
- WGM Members receive a discount on classes and workshops.
- There are basic introductory classes year-round.
- “Try It!” classes are one-day sessions designed to introduce students to a new fiber art or technique.
- Beyond beginner and advanced classes rotate in the schedule.
- Art teachers can request CEU credits (Continuing Education Unit) for classes.
- Several workshops are arranged each year with nationally known fiber artists or authors.
- The Guild has a variety of looms for classes and rental by members. There are multiple Baby Wolf, Kessenich, Schacht floor looms. Floor looms are available for rent when not in use for a class or interest group and must be used on-site.
- Several specialized looms, 2 Glimåkra floor looms, an AVL and a Louet Megado compu-dobby, require formal instruction before they are used.
- Beka frame looms and inkle looms can be rented by members and used off-site.
- Members may use warping boards, warping reels, bobbin winders, yarn swifts, scales, yarn/yardage balances on-site.
- A variety of spinning wheels, including Schacht, Louet, Kromski, Lendrum, Ashford and Majacraft, are available for classes and member use on-site.
- Hand cards and Ashford Traditional spinning wheels are available for rent by members and can be taken off-site.
- Members may use wool combs, niddy noddies, lazy kates, ball winders, yarn swifts, scales, yarn/yardage balances, and manual drum carders on-site.
- Equipment may only be rented by members. Rental is $5 per day/$30 for 2 weeks. A refundable deposit is necessary when rental equipment is taken off-site.
- A large electric drum carder is available for $3 per hour for on-site use. (Instruction is required prior to rental and is arranged through class instruction or training by a qualified spinning interest group member).
- There is a popular craigslist-style classifieds section on our website where you can find second-hand spinning and weaving equipment and accessories, often with a good discount.
- Members may post ads for free, but they must be approved by a staff member before they appear on the website.
WGM Reference Library
- To insure that members have access to key books on textile topics, the Guild has set aside important reference books in one central bookcase in the large classroom for use on-site. Duplicate copies of many of these reference texts can be checked out from the Textile Library.
- A large collection of magazines, including Handwoven, Spin-Off, and VÄV, is housed in the spinning room for use on-site.
- An extensive collection of weaving drafts and matching fabric swatches, organized by weave structure, is located in the spinning room for on-site use.
- The Textile Center Pat O’Connor Library has the largest holdings of circulating textile books and magazines in the nation. The library is usually open from 9am – 1pm, Monday – Friday. Library hours can vary and should be checked for the current month under “Upcoming Events” on the right side of the Textile Center’s Library web page.
- All current WGM members can sign out books with a current library card. Your individual library card number can be obtained by telephoning the Textile Center at 612-436-0464 and asking to be transferred to the library. (New members will need to know the month you joined WGM – the WGM office can look up the date if you are unsure).
- Weaving and spinning books and materials are located in the last two library book cases, toward the purple wall. Copies of Handwoven and Spin-off magazines are on top of the book cases. Weaving and spinning DVDs are located against the purple wall.
- Library holdings can be searched online at the Textile Center’s Library web page. Here are tips on how to use the Library’s online catalog.
- Books must be picked up and returned on-site unless special arrangements are made. There is a drop-off box outside the library so books can be returned when the building is open, but the library is closed.
- Extra copies of books and magazines are for sale near the library checkout desk.
- Authors of fiber related books are invited to speak at the library periodically.
- WGM’s store sells new and donated yarn, books and equipment for weaving and spinning. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday.
- When Fiber Source is not staffed, there is a trust-based self-check-out system in place with instructions by the desk.
- Spools and wound bundles of commercial yarn are available in many colors in perle cotton, unmercerized cotton, and wool.
- Pirns, bobbins, spindles, threading hooks, small shuttles, small inkle and frame looms are usually in stock at Fiber Source.
- WGM is a Schacht dealer. (Schacht products are only available through dealers.) WGM prices for Schacht equipment are the same as online at schachtspindle.com. Contact the Guild at email@example.com to order Schacht looms, spinning wheels or equipment. Floor looms and spinning wheels can be shipped to your home address.
- WGM has a refrigerator, small freezer, microwave, coffee maker, and hot water pot.
- Plates, bowls, silverware, glasses, and cups are available for on-site use.
- Kitchenware must be cleaned and returned to cupboard the same day by user.
- Soda (in the refrigerator), coffee and tea are available for a small fee.
- Textile Center Dye Lab is a state-of-the-art facility available for rent by members and used extensively in our classes and youth programs. Designed to be a functional and safe place to work with dyes and related chemicals, it is equipped for almost any dye or surface design project.
- Specific rental requirements and rates are listed on the Textile Center website on the “Meetings & Classroom Rentals” drop down, under the “Participate” tab.
Other Textile Events
- The Midwest Weaving Conference features fiber classes and a marketplace. It is held every other year, and is hosted by a guild. WGM successfully hosted it in 2015.
- Federation is a two-night retreat offering classes, a keynote speaker, a small fiber market and the opportunity for weavers and spinners to gather. It is held in Alexandria, MN every October.
- The Textile Center Garage Sale is held every April.
- Shepherd’s Harvest, an annual celebration of wool and other fibers, is held east of St. Paul in mid-May. It’s a great place to buy fleece, roving and handspun yarn, plus fiber equipment and crafts.
- Annual members pay $50 for membership each year.
- A reduced membership rate is available to members 30 years old and under.
- Sustaining members renew their membership as an unrestricted annual gift, paid in an on-going, convenient and secure way. Becoming a sustaining member provides the Guild with stronger, continuous support.
- The Weavers Guild of Minnesota is a nonprofit organization that relies on charitable donations to help support its services.
- Monetary donations can be made anytime in person, via the mail, over the phone, or online.
- Donated fiber and equipment are priced and resold in Fiber Source between the office and kitchen. Donation guidelines are described in more detail on the website.
- WGM holds one major fundraising event per year in the spring.