Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild

The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild is a not for profit organization. We welcome anyone interested in sharing or learning the art of weaving or spinning. The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild now have a Facebook page.

Meetings are held from September to June once a month on the 4th Monday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. at Jumbo Gardens Community Centre on Toivo Street.  We have a pot-luck event for the December and June meetings, but lately we have been going to a local restaurant in December instead of having a pot-luck.

The weavers and spinners of this community have been active for half a century.  The guild takes part in events that educate and amuse the public.  We feature displays and demonstrate weaving/spinning at the Olde Fort William Historic Park, the CLE, Murillo and Hymers Fall Fairs.  Here, in Thunder Bay, the weaving/spinning community is small so we like to keep in touch with other guilds.  Throughout the year we offer courses in spinning, weaving and dyeing yarn with natural materials. During the winter months, the guild room is open one weekday to allow members to weave on the big floor looms, research in the library or exchange ideas and discuss new projects.


Aletha MacRae, President of Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild

Mailing address:
Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild
c/o Aletha MacRae
R. R. # 14 Site 13,
Box 60
Thunder Bay, Ontario  P7B 5E5



In 1960, six weavers got together to help each other unravel the mysteries of broken twill, e.p.i., and tromp as writ.

In 1980, the Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild (as we know it today) was formed by the amalgamation of the Fibre Arts and Spinners groups.

In 1982, our Guild welcomed a group of weavers from New Zealand who were touring Canada before attending the Handweavers Guild of America conference “Convergence” in Seattle, Washington.

In 1983, our Guild hosted the biennial Ontario Handweavers & Spinners conference.

In 1990, due to the aging demographics, our membership dropped to 15 members.

In 2000, for our Millennium Project, our Guild made reproductions of clothing worn in the late nineteenth century.  We produced Sunday best clothes for a young family, a dress and cloak for a teacher and a silk bridal gown, all now on display at the Pioneer Village on Highway 130, in Neebing Township.

In 2003, this small group of members did an excellent job of hosting the Ontario Handweavers & Spinners Conference, bringing together guilds from all over Ontario to share and exchange ideas.

In 2006, our Guild exchanged knowledge with visitors from Kyrgyzstan.  We demonstrated the elements of spinning on a spinning wheel, and they demonstrated traditional felting to our guild members.

In 2010, our Guild participated for the third time, in the Back to Back Challenge.  Our Guild members finished their sweater in 14 hours, 25 minutes and 28 seconds.

In 2011, our Guild created a new Constitution and By-laws.

In 2012, we continue to grow in number as we now have thirty enthusiastic members with Pat Eisenbach being the longest standing member.

Upcoming events

At Market All Year Round!!! Upstairs, come and visit our booth. We sell mitts, hats, socks, scarves, towels, blankets, catalognes, and many more items.

Drop-in at JUMBO GARDENS RECREATION CENTRE — Starting January 9, Mondays from 10:00am – 1:30pm. Cost is $2.00 for non-members.  Bring a project of your choice (i.e. knitting) and bring a lunch.  Tea and coffee supplied.

Beginner weaving workshop – February 25, March 4 , March 11 and March 18 – Time 10:30am-4:00pm.  Learn to calculate your warp, dress the loom and weave the project.  Cost $100.00 all supplies included.

Double Weave on 4 Shafts or 8 Shafts – April 1 and April 8, 2017 – Time 10:30am – 4:00pm.  Advanced weavers will learn to double weave a bag or pillow form in plain weave or in twill weave design.  Cost $50.00 members – $75.00 for non-members. Weavers are responsible for their own supplies.
* Workshops are held at Jumbo Gardens Recreation Centre, 330 Toivo St. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE EMAIL —  or call Aletha at 768-0228, or  please look us up on Facebook.
*Make cheque payable to Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild, mail to Colleen Laughton R.R. 2 Kaministiquia POT 1XO. For further information email:


Throughout the year, we offer beginners spinning and weaving courses. Occasionally there are classes in advanced techniques such as double weave or carding for colour blending.

Warping Woes and Get Sett Workshop

We had the pleasure of having Jette Vandermeiden teach 18 members the importance of a good warp and correct sett in our weavings.  After two wonderful days of instruction, we had some very colourful samplers and we presented Jette with a woven bag and our Guild cookbook.

Jette Vandermeiden receiving Guild gift

Guild members attending ‘Warping Woes’ and ‘Get Sett’ workshops

Colourful samplers from ‘Get Sett’ workshop

Double Weave Clasped Weft Pillow Workshop

This workshop was a huge success! The clasped weft technique was used to weave these wonderful pillows! Great work ladies!

Left to Right: Sue-Ellen, Susan, Sylvia, Gale

Double Weave Workshop

February 2015. Here are just a few weavers and their completed double weave projects.

Grace Krupp, Riley Laurila, Kathy Vesa, Colleen Laughton

Weaver – Paula Hughes


Catalogne Project

Paula Hughes started the prep for four Catalogne’s in November of 2016 by February 2017 Paula and Darlene Hecnar started weaving the first Catalogne (blue and white stripe cotton).  After completing the first Catalogne on March 16, 2017 they decided they needed a change so the second weaving is a silk slub and cotton blanket woven in 2/2 twill.  The silk slub blanket was started April 25, 2017 and finished May 30, 2017.  The third blanket (yellow and green) is cotton fabric woven in plain weave and is more like a quilt weight.  Weaving started in June, 2017 and was completed July 10, 2017.  The fourth blanket is being woven now and is more like a Catalogne (bottom picture on the loom).

Eagle’s Nest Dorion Retreat (2015)

The Thunder Bay Weavers and Spinners Guild held their annual retreat at Eagles’ Nest in Dorion, Ontario this May with Lake Superior in the background.  It was a chilly weekend but a great time was had by all. They took part in many crafts and projects to keep them busy and warm!

L to R Back row – Colleen Laughton, Kaarina Mikkola, Paula Turner, Loretta Shymko, Sylvia Goodheart, Sue-Ellen Blekkenhorst, Allison Forsyth,
Front row – Pat Eisenbach, Audrey Hartmann, Candice Mahin, Colleen Tardif, Marg Duncan
Missing: Miriam Hearn.

Zipper Felting was just one of the projects they completed.

Monday Drop-In

Under our current President Aletha MacRae, the Guild has been able to offer Drop-In Mondays from October until May.  There are dedicated members who come early to set up the tables, make coffee and tea.  Someone always brings a special sweet treat to share.  From 9:30 until 2pm, you can work on any fibre project brought from home, browse the extensive library, spin on the Guild wheels or spindles, help to dress and then weave on one of the Guild looms.  If you are stumped by a problem in your project, there is always a member or two who can provide their expertise and suggest a solution.
Family Day with our Guild Family

Clockwise from left: Miriam Hearn, Pat Eisenbach, Aletha MacRae, Marg Duncan, Colleen Tardif, Annette Fenlon, Sylvia Goodheart, Helen Huk, Tina Huk, Sue Ellen Blekkenhorst, Denise Brown. Photographer, Colleen Laughton.