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The Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers aims to promote the crafts of handweaving, spinning and dyeing by advancing the skill and artistry of those practicing the crafts within the guild and the community through educational programs of interest and value to our members.

We host a mixture of in-person and virtual (via Zoom) meetings, many of which feature an illustrated presentation by a respected textile artist. Members receive an e-blast prior to each meeting providing details of the Zoom link or meeting location and lots of other news.  We love to see what exciting fibre projects our members are working on. Photos can be emailed, or posted to our Facebook page. We will share them with other members, and maybe also here!

You can reach the Guild by emailing us at

Guild News

June 2024

Dear Premier Ford,

The Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers is very concerned about the abrupt closing of the Ontario Science Centre and particularly about the future of one its greatest assets: the 19th century Jacquard loom that has been at the Centre since its opening in 1969. As one of only two operational Jacquard looms in Canada, it is a rare treasure. The data for its intricate patterns are stored on binary punchcards, which is why the Science Centre was chosen as its permanent home, as this makes Jacquard looms the forerunner of the modern computer. It holds a vital place in the history of early industry in our province.

The loom was discovered abandoned in a shed in London, Ontario, by textile historians Dorothy and Harold Burnham. After it was acquired by the Science Centre in 1963, a team of dedicated employees and volunteers (including a number of our guild members) punched hundreds of cards and strung thousands of cords to restore the loom to working condition. A team of OSC volunteers continues to operate the loom and answer visitors’ questions.

Unlike many museums, the Science Centre features hands-on, working exhibits that demonstrate important developments in technology and science. Every year, students and enthusiasts from across Ontario and beyond travel to Toronto to see this loom in action and marvel at its complex mechanisms — not to mention the stunning fabric it produces.

Putting this National Treasure into storage would be unconscionable. The loom is two storeys tall, almost 200 years old, and quite fragile. It is unlikely that a temporary facility can be found that will be able to accommodate it. It’s essential that it be properly maintained and kept on display for visitors to appreciate and learn from.

Please reconsider the decision to close the Science Centre and, in future planning, ensure the key artifacts and technology of human history remain preserved and accessible to all Ontarians.  We cannot build a future if we lose the past.

The Executive Committee of the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers

We will be closing out the 2023-24 year with our traditional auction. Are you looking to de-stash some skeins, fibre, tools, and other items to make room for more? So are your fellow Guild members! Please list your items in the spreadsheet here, or email Mike with the description and approximate value. He will happily update the spreadsheet for you. And if you don’t have anything to donate but are interested in seeing what might be on offer, check out the spreadsheet!
Please let us know what you are offering by June 10, 2024.
You can bring your donated items to The Meeting House at 7 pm on Wednesday, 12th, so they can be organized before the auction opens at 7:30.
Members are welcome to bring guests to the Auction. Payment can be by cash, cheque, or e-transfer.

The official Tuesday drop-ins, 1 – 3 pm in The Meeting House at Riverdale Farm, are over for this season. However, we can continue to meet informally on the porch of Simpson House: the pretty brick building that faces the park near Winchester Street. 
All are welcome!
We will still have the use of the Farm’s Lendrum ST spinning wheels, but don’t forget to bring your own fibre and (if you have one) bobbin. If you’re not a spinner, bring along any portable fibre project. 

For decades, the Guild’s growing collection of records has been moved around between meeting spaces and various members’ homes. Joe Lewis, our Guild archivist, has been searching for a forever home for this valuable collection for several years. We were therefore delighted to receive some welcome news recently: The City of Toronto Archives wouldvery much like to move ahead with the donation of materials from the Toronto Guild Of Spinners and Weavers archive”. 

Many thanks to Joe for working so diligently to get our archives into a format that makes them attractive to the City Archives, and for liaising with the City to make the transfer happen!

April 2024

Learn more about the Bursary and how to apply here.

November 2023

Unfortunately Liam Blackburn, our planned speaker for this evening (Wednesday, Nov.8), is unwell and not able to present at our meeting this week. We are rescheduling his visit for some time in the near future.

As we weren’t able to arrange a replacement speaker at short notice, our November meeting will be a bit different from the usual format. We plan to devote more time to Show and Tell, with the opportunity to ask questions and share more information about the projects displayed. We’ll also have a “Skills Sharing” adventure: Julia will bring some spindles and fibre, and lead a spindling session. If anyone else would like to share a skill (and can provide tools and materials), please let us know and we’ll make a space for you. Everyone is welcome to bring a portable project to work on and we’ll finish with a “Handwork Circle” if there’s time. The library will be open and available for borrowing. We regret not having coffee/tea and snacks for the time being.

Please remember that Covid Precautions will be in place for this meeting:

  • Stay home if you are unwell.
  • Wear a mask and keep it on indoors. (Extra masks will be provided if you forget to bring one.) 
  • Stay socially distanced as much as you can.
  • Use the hand sanitizer provided.

The Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers is excited to welcome Agnes Niewiadomski to Toronto on December 2 to teach a miniature (“fairy”) basket-weaving workshop. This workshop is open to ages 10+ and no prior weaving experience is required. Space will be limited for this event. Registration will be open to Members until November 6, and open to everyone after that. You can find more details and information on how to register at the link below!

October 2023

n light of the fact that COVID infections are on the rise in the GTA and that some people, including our valued senior members, are more vulnerable to the Covid virus, we ask that everyone attending the November in-person meeting:

  • please wear a mask and keep it on indoors 
  • stay home if you have any symptoms (done by several executive members for our October meeting)
  • stay socially distanced as much as you can during the meeting 
  • use the hand sanitizer provided near the door of the Meeting House 
  • if you can, get a booster vaccine, now available through the province’s booking site and soon to arrive at pharmacies

We regret not having coffee/tea and snacks for the time being. The library will still be open, and we will have show-and-tell as usual. Your Executive is considering what to do for the December meeting, when we have traditionally brought and shared food. We will keep you posted.

September 2023

We need at least one more volunteer for the Programming Committee. This is one of the most important jobs in the Guild, and a great opportunity to build your knowledge of practitioners and connections in the weaving and spinning community! If you are interested and would like to know what’s involved, contact email the Guild.

We are looking for a few more members to volunteer for the Riverdale Farm Fall Festival to demonstrate different fiber arts, and help our attendees work on small weaving projects. Please email the Guild to sign up for a shift Saturday or Sunday.

Membership in the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers runs from September- June of the following year, and the sign-up form for this year is now available online! Membership is $40 a year, and there is an option to pay-what-you-can on the form as well. We hope you renew, or consider joining for the first time!

Our member events are starting back up after the summer and we hope to see you at a meeting!

August 2023

We have been meeting on Tuesday afternoons at the Simpson House Porch for the weekly drop-in. After August 22, the meetings will continue on the porch, but you will not have access to any Guild equipment until Meetings Resume in the Meeting house on October 3rd.

June 2023

At least 6 Toronto Guild members attended the Ontario Handspinning Seminar this year, along with several past members and about a hundred other spinners!

Roslyn Darling won three awards: one for her handspun and knitted Hugs from my Friends shawl; the OHS Award for the best use of handspun yarn in a woven item for a beautiful handwoven jacket made from handspun cotton and recycled down, and the Advanced Garment Award from a shrug made from her cotton and recycled down yarn. Roslyn developed the work with recycled down as part of her Bursary Award project from TGSW in 2021.  

Heather Smyth won several awards for her skeins, one for a cute daffodil brooch, and another for her adorable multicoloured fractal spin socks. 

Julia Lee also had a Hugs from my Friends shawl in the exhibition.

Visit our Show and Tell Page to see photos of Heather’s and Roslyn’s work!

At the 2023 AGM, Jenny Stimac represented the Bursary Committee and announced the selection of this year’s bursary winner, Micah Heron, from an impressive pool of six applicants. Micah plans to design and weave a substantial yardage of tartan for a kilt, and organize a waulking event to full the fabric. We look forward to watching this project as it progresses!

May 2023

Following the presentation from Amanda Rataj we will hold our Annual General Meeting. The agenda and minutes of the previous meeting are posted in the Member’s section of the website, along with all the reports and the proposed 2023-2024 budget. At the AGM we will also announce the winner of this year’s bursary. See you there!

We have developed a password-protected section of the website with additional announcements for Members, details and followup resources from past meetings, and information on how to access some of our shared resources. This section will be expanded over time based on Member suggestions. The AGM documents are also up on this page. For the login information, please consult your latest member’s email (Sent May 3, 2023). If you are a member and aren’t getting the members’ emails, please email the Guild.

April 2023

After several years of excellent work, Sarah Lawson will shortly be stepping down from her role as treasurer. We therefore need a volunteer for this position. You don’t need to have previous financial experience, but it would help if you are organized, detail-oriented, and willing to do on-line banking. Please don’t wait until the last minute – step up now and email us if you’re interested! This would be a great opportunity for a newer member to get more involved in the organization. Sarah is willing to help train the new volunteer to make the transition painless!

At our upcoming AGM, we will also be looking for some other new members of the Executive as well. Please watch your Member E=Blasts for more information.

The Resource Centre move went smoothly, thanks to a group of volunteers.  Some came in the preceding week to pack or drop off bags (thanks Mike, Julia, Carolyn, Anne, and Joe), to move (thanks Sarah and Julia, and the landlord and another tenant at 915 Dupont), and to unload and sort all the materials into the cart (Tianna, Uma, Julia, Sarah, Carolyn).

We have a number of books that haven’t been checked out since the 1990s and which don’t contain practical information, or aren’t about spinning/weaving, that we are culling to make room. We will have a bunch of knitting books, magazines and DVDs for sale at the April 12 meeting, and more books at the May meeting.

Of course you would, but if you would like to do it sooner rather than later, here’s your chance!

A member has generously donated a  beautiful 12-shaft 45” loom to the Guild, with all the necessary accessories. If you would like to borrow it, let us know. You’ll need a good-sized vehicle and some muscular assistants. If transportation is an issue (near Bloor and Spadina) we can put out the word for help with it.
If nobody wants to borrow this loom, we will likely be offering it for sale. Watch this space!

Miriam also notes that if you need some space to store this lovely giant while you’re working, there is a space available for rent now at our recently vacated Resource Centre.

March 2023

After a year of meeting at various venues around the city, the Guild is moving back to The Meeting House in Riverdale Farm! Starting in April we will hold our monthly meetings there, host weekly spinning drop-ins on Thursday afternoons (12:30 – 3 pm; come and spin, knit, or do other portable textile work), and have access to our stored print resources. This move will save us the considerable expense of renting space for our book carts, and will provide a stable, familiar, affordable, and welcoming venue for us to gather in person.
Moving Days will be March 23 and 24. We need members and volunteers to help, either with packing, transport, or temporary storage of items. Please email us and let us know how you can help. Thank you!

The Guild offers a bursary each year to any paid-up members of the Guild who is undertaking a specific study or research project. The bursary award of $300 can be put toward the costs (including purchase of materials) of a specific project or course of study designed to improve the skills and artistry of those practising our crafts. So, if you are planning to develop specific skills, participate in an educational program, or undertake your own study, and if $300 would help you towards this end, check out the Bursary page of our website. Download the 2023 Bursary application form here. Submission deadline is April 26, 2023. The Bursary will be awarded at the May meeting.