Saturday, 21 May 2011


I'm a little worried about how this will be perceived by people, but hey, I need to get it off my chest, its fiber related, and I'm still trying to process the whole thing in my mind.

I have been attending the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers on the 3rd Saturday of the month for the past 4 months I think. I've turned up, paid the visitors fee of £3, sat to one side with my friends and spun my little heart out.

And thats all I do there. I have taken my own food and drink, and only used the toilets once.

I do not partake in any of the workshops that are offered at the same time, or listened to any of the talks. I haven't tried to book on to a weaving course, or anything like that.

I have just sat, spun and talked to people.

Well, ok, I've taught a few people how to navajo ply at the same time as spinning a single on a drop spindle. I have provided information to other people. I'm sure I've heard some advice or information, but unless I hear or read things over and over, I don't remember it. Heck, I still don't even know what all the parts of my spinning wheel are called.

So why have some people called attention to the fact that I turn up and am not a member? Why are they now insisting I pay a yearly fee to join the guild when I make no use of it and will not be able to make use of it?

Here are the reasons why becoming a member is not for me:
  1. The guild is in the middle of nowhere. You need a car to be able to get there. I do not have a car, and I am unlikely to get a car at any point in the near future. 
  2. I actually can't afford it. I've been unemployed for 16 months now, 10 of which I have been unable to claim any form of benefit. ANY. I have no money coming into my account on a regular basis. No money at all.
  3. I'm not interested in doing classes. I'm doing fine teaching myself at home from the internet. I learnt to navajo ply from youtube. I haven't even read a book about spinning. 
  4. I'm not at all interested in displaying my finished objects in an exhibition once a year. Sure I'm proud of what I make, but I don't want people I don't know touching my stuff. 
  5. There was nothing ever said that I couldn't be a visitor until today. If that is the case, then on the first visit people should be made aware that if they want to continue to come they MUST become a member. I was never told this, and would not have come back so many times.
So those are my reasons, I think they are very valid for not becoming a member. Its like going to a gym and not becoming a member because you know you only want to use the swimming pool once a month, and theres no point becoming a member that entitles you to use all the weights and heavy gym equipment which you have no interest in. And no-one would tell you that can you only use the swimming pool if you become a gym member (I know there are membership only gyms, but they are for the serious gym people, I've been to gyms where I didn't have to be a member to just use the pool). Ok, another analogy... its like being told I can't read Simply Knitting magazine by buying the magazine in a shop, I have to take out a yearly subscription. The first issue, sure, you can get that in the shop, but after that the shop won't sell to you. But I don't want the whole year of magazines, I only want a few of them because next month doesn't have any patterns I'm interested in, but maybe the month after that I will want it. You see?

I don't want this to seem like a post where I am bad mouthing the guild. I'm not at all. The people there are lovely, and they have tried to find a work around so I can continue to go. But it still requires me to become a member, and pay a fee I can't afford to go to a place I can't get to apart from once a month when my friend can take me where I would still have to pay £2 to attend that meeting. Especially if I am having a bad fibro day and I can't attend, I would be out of pocket then.

There are no spinning groups in my area that I know of. Even if there were I would still need a car to get there as I can't carry my wheel. She's too heavy for me to carry over a distance. I wouldn't even be able to walk into town with her to go to Jumble Jelly. I'd have to ask TechGeek to carry her for me, which isn't what he wants to be doing with his time.

And so thats my piece said. You can't insist someone become a member of something that they are not going to be making use of. Thats my rambling over. Tomorrow I will show you some pretty things so we can all cheer up and be happy.

xxx Elle xxx


  1. I've experienced this type of thing too Elle and it feels, well, horrible and even though the people are lovely and genuine, it still feels not very nice at all.

    So sorry this has happened for you, it does seem utterly ridiculous to say the very least.

    Hope this experience does not put you off going, you should still continue on as you are and they should feel proud to be able to spend the couple of hours spinning alongside and chatting with you too, I know I would :)

    (((( hugs ))))

    H xx

  2. Really sorry to hear of this. It seems that sometimes people go out of their way to be difficult and to cause problems for others. I'm sure they mean well, but the universe is hardly going to end if you, as a non-member, turn up and do a little spinning.
    Hope you are feeling better today.

  3. Ridiculous! I can understand that guilds need ££, need members, etc, BUT.

    If you feel like taking it further, could you suggest that, like many institutions (e.g. council gyms...) they offer discounted membership to people who are unemployed?

    Hope you find somewhere lovely to spin, anyway.

    Elizabeth xx

  4. My local Guild have a similar attitude, I went a couple of times with a friend who'd been a member for a few years, but then they were horrible to her, so I didn't go again (and neither did she). Luckily we have a much friendlier group at a spinning shop in town, which is just us sitting round and spinning twice a month.



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