CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Try Your Hand at Weaving!

Demonstration, Education, and Participation—These were the goals of the Reno Fiber Guild’s community outreach project in March. In partnership with the South Valley’s Branch of the Washoe County Library (where Guild meetings are usually held), 16 Guild members plus 2 young girls who were experts on their Rainbow looms turned out to show the public all about weaving.  During the entire month of March, exhibit cases in the library created interest in the event.  The library also publicized the program on their website and with signs and hand-outs in the library.  Youth organizations and newspapers were contacted by guild members who handled publicity.

checking out the inkle loom

Checking out the inkle loom

So, the stage was set.  Was there an audience?   Yes, indeed!  During the 3-hour event, 40-50 participants  “tried their hands at handweaving.”  The meeting room at the library was filled with excited people of all ages who were thrilled to learn about weaving.  A Girl Scout recruiter was also on site to welcome potential members.

Discussing the floor loom

Discussing the floor loom

With seven floor looms, a tapestry loom, a rigid heddle loom, two inkle looms, and two Rainbow looms available, most participants not only watched our weavers in action, they also did some weaving.  The cardboard looms created by guild members proved popular, too, as the chairs at two tables were constantly occupied.  A few young women diligently worked on their needle weaving until finished; most took them home to finish.  Other guests were given an inkle-woven bookmark as a “thank you” for attending.

Trying out the

Exploring weaving on the cardboard looms

Our informal sign-in sheet indicated that 6-8 guests were very interested in learning more and attending a guild meeting.  Since then, three have actually joined the Guild.  Yes, weaving endures!

The Reno Fiber Guild was organized in 1972 to encourage growth in weaving, spinning, and other fiber techniques and currently has 36 members.  The Guild was accepted as member of CNCH in 1982. Although RFG always returns to its roots—weaving—members are eager to explore the numerous other fiber techniques such as felting, dyeing, beading, surface design, etc.  Meetings are generally held in the evenings on the first Wednesday of the month Sept.-Nov. and Feb.-May. 

Click here for the next article