Sunday, May 10, 2009

Knitting Guilds

I've been going through the newsletters of guilds I belong to and am impressed by the commitment and activities of so many widespread memberships. They all offer a variety of activites: guest speakers, field trips, workshops, charitable knitting, frequently a guild library, a 'show and tell' session and a general mutual support and enjoyment of the craft.

My home guild is the Ottawa Guild of Knitters: They have a large membership and well-planned meetings with enthusiastic attendees. Their newsletter is called 'The Tangled Skein'--I always look forward to receiving an issue.

I also belong to the Gilli-Hook Heritage Knitters Guild in Calgary: Since I haven't been able to attend their meetings, for several years, I keep up with their activities through the newsletter. I think the most talented knitter I've ever met is my friend, Gladys Vallance, a member of the Calgary guild. For anyone who doesn't know, a 'gilli hook' is of Nordic origin and was used by knitters to hold their yarn, so they could knit while going about their other duties.

One of the Toronto area guilds of which I am also a member is the Downtown Knit Collective, also known as the DKC: This is a large, active guild and they have a number of well-known designers and authors, in addition to many talented knitters amongst the membership.

Probably one of the older guilds is the Knitting and Crochet Guild in the U.K.. which recently marked their 30th anniversary: Take some time to look at their comprehensive website in detail--there is a lot to see. Their twice-yearly journal is called the 'SlipKnot' and I found each issue has an interesting collection of articles. Recent topics were, "The Home Front in World War Two" and "Thoughts on the cataloguing and classification of knitting patterns", news from regional guilds, techniques, announcements of upcoming events, ads. In fact, I've been reading through a recent issue and was reminded of how much I enjoy the 'SlipKnot', plus it's time to renew my membership! For anyone planning a visit to Yorkshire, the guild has a permanent home with a knitting collection and an extensive library of books and patterns.

Although not just for knitters, the Textile Museum of Canada: should not be missed. Their mission statement is: "Explore the continuum of textile art through time and space, from 2,000 years in the past to the day after tomorrow"--something they do very well. The attractive building, easily accessible in downtown Toronto, offers a variety of exhibitions and an extensive library. Two displays at present are: "The Cutting Edge" and "When Women Rule the World; Judy Chicago in Thread".

I also belong to the Tucson Handweavers & Spinners Guild: This guild started in 1973 and have many study groups--not just limited to weaving and spinning, but to knitting, rugs and baskets. Their newsletter is called "Woolgather" and in addition to its printing, the guild sends out frequent email updates. Although the primary interest of the membership seems to be spinning and weaving, there is much for knitters too. They are a very active group and hold events and meetings for those interested in any of the textile arts.

Whether knitting is a craft which gives us independent pleasure, this quick review of some guilds and newsletters shows us how we are all part of a much larger community. I'd be interested to hear of other guilds. Please send me an email: and I'll be able to mention your guild in future posts.


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