2008 Annual Report

Annual Meeting of the Guild of Long Draw Spinners

1.00pm Saturday 29th June 2008, Conference Room, Lakeland Wool Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria

Chairman's Annual Report

Our Guild is unusual in that it is non-geographic - group meetings are held in Leicestershire, and the annual meeting in Cumbria. Hopefully we will hold group meetings and learning weekends in other areas next year.

In our first year we have laid the foundations for promoting long draw spinning - monthly workshops, learning weekends, public demonstrations, exhibitions and now an interactive website. Part of our mission is to dispel the idea that long draw spinning is difficult to learn and you have to make rolags first. We have members who have learned in as little as 20 minutes - I know, I taught them! It was from my group of pupils that I discovered that you don’t have to make rolags first - which makes me wonder just who was teaching who - and the Guild evolved from this informal group.

There is an impression that long draw spinning is elitist. It is not; but neither is it down market. There is no point in spinning rubbish. Yes! we want results in timescales to suit our busy lives - but not at the cost of quality. I think our stand at Woolfest clearly demonstrates that we can produce top quality products.

There is a need for the pursuit of excellence in work and the guild is privileged to have as its patron Elizabeth Palmer. Quite a few of our members were taught long draw spinning, and dying and weaving by Elizabeth and Malcolm in the 1980s. Elizabeth’s work is an inspiration and without her professional tuition in the past most of us would only be capable of spinning ‘rope’ or two inches of thread at a time which is a complete waste of time and talent.

It was agreed from the outset that a website was essential. The domain -longdrawspinners.org - was registered before the Guild was formally set up in February 2007 and, in slightly less time than it takes to give birth to an elephant, we now have an interactive site which has the capacity to meet all our needs in the foreseeable future. The site is now working and various discussion boards are in operation. There is just so much that we can do from the site and hopefully it will soon be the main hub of our operations and means to spread the word worldwide.

We have members worldwide. Well, nearly; Great Britain, France, New Zealand and Arizona! We have 24 members, two of whom are Honorary: Elizabeth our president and Gillian, website manager who has part-funded and enlisted the services of her son, a system administrator for Nasa. We started with ten members so we can confidently claim that membership has doubled this year!

Finance: our first balance sheet has already been circulated and we have funds! Since then we have incurred costs of printing our new leaflet. If anyone would like some copies for circulation to colleagues then please let the secretary know.

But the Guild is not just about membership numbers. What really counts is enabling more people to increase their skills and take more pleasure in spinning and creating beautiful yarn. Together I think we are doing so.