Monty@Home Q&A’s – Hallamshire and District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers

First things first, tell us a bit about your business and how you got started…

The Hallamshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is an association of craftspeople who all do, or want to do, the crafts of weaving, spinning and dyeing. We find that if you want to do one of these crafts you often end up doing one of the other two. The guild was formed in 1951 and so is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Our aim is to promote our three crafts, through our own learning and by showing off to anyone who will watch. In normal times we meet monthly in Sheffield, in the outskirts off the ring road, well placed to attract members from nearby counties. Our meeting usually consist of a short business meeting, a show and tell of members’ work – the loudest applause is often for a novice’s first skein of “textured” yarn – and then in the afternoon we may have a textile speaker, a sharing skills session to showcase a new technique or thrash out hitches and problems. An informal day will consist of some chatty working and lots of tea. Cake often plays a large part too.

Contact us:

What’s your favourite product of yours and why?

We are an association of like minded people, not a business. We generate our income from our membership fees, but we do like to share skills, friendship and laughter. Each year, usually in October, we vote for a piece of work that has been put in for the annual competition, on a new theme each year.

What yarn crafts are you into personally?

Most members have a favourite craft, but will try anything on offer. Our crafts link together. Spinners need to work out what to do with all that spun yarn. Weavers need yarn to use. Then we have to ask if it is the right colour. We have had sessions on rag rugging, knitting, Naalbinding (Viking knitting), felting, crochet, willow weaving, button making, solar dyeing as well as weaving, spinning and dyeing. Not that our hands are idle, just curious and flexible.

What’s your favourite project you’ve ever made?

We created a new guild banner a couple of years ago. Members each contributed a panel, inspired by stained glass.

If you came to TWM back in 2019 what did you like/dislike most about it?

We liked the wide aisles and that there was plenty of space to see stalls.

What inspires your products?

We inspire each other with the things we make to show and discuss, and the speakers inspire us too. We find that the annual Guild Challenge gets us thinking and trying new things.

Who got you into yarn?

We were sucked in by the gravitational pull of the yarn/fibre rabbit hole!

What’s the hardest part of what you do?

It’s not at all hard being a Guild member, there’s maybe a bit more to being on the committee. We all struggle with finding space for our stash! When you have one loom or spinning wheel it’s amazing how often you need another.

You’re travelling to a yarn show, what are you listening to on the way?

Bach – Sheep may safely graze, or friends on the coach.

What’s your favourite part of yarn shows?

Emptying the shopping bags when we get home and seeing our treasures. Then planning the next project. Least favourite – next month’s visa bill!

What yarn craft do you wish you were good at?

For me, cat’s cradle. I never could get beyond the first few moves. We all strive to improve.

Tell us 3 things we might not know about you

We have a library, we have a collection of equipment available to lend to members, and we like cake.

And finally, just for fun, would you rather fight 100 chicken-sized zombies or 10 zombie-sized chickens?

Forgive my ignorance, but what size is a zombie? Is it as big as a whole fleece? Because we are up for that!