Spinning and Weaving through the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020/2021 changed the ways in which members of the Guild interacted, and presented new challenges for teaching, learning, and building community. Monthly meetings that were traditionally held in person moved online, and the studio, usually busy with weavers working on looms and spinners with wheels and drop spindles, remained uncharacteristically quiet as the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning closed its doors to the public during lockdowns in Ontario.

Elaine Horemans talks about the guild moving online during COVID19. 

Laurie Allan-Ungeitis talks about her experience during the pandemic as a new member of the Guild

Elaine Horemans reflects on the effects of the pandemic and highlights how the Guild continued to foster a sense of community under these difficult circumstances.

Laurie Allan-Ungeitis describes her experience during the pandemic as a new member of the Guild. Despite her concern that she would quickly lose the sense of belonging, the Guild has been successful in maintaining companionship and promoting creativity. 


Jackie Sylvester and Carole Wycliffe work on a catalogne blanket on the 100" loom, 2021.

When restrictions eased, the Guild was able to move forward with new projects. Most notably, the 100-inch loom, which can be seen in the window of the Guild's studio space at the Tett Centre, was warped for a set of catalogne blankets. A gift from the City of Kingston during its Tercentenary year, the 100-inch loom holds special importance to the Guild and has facilitated many friendships between members. Carole Wycliffe shares some of her experiences working on the 100-inch loom, and explains the process of setting up a project:

Carole Wycliffe shares her experiences working on the 100" loom.

French Canadian catalogne blankets were likely adapted from techniques used to create rugs in France, and are woven using strips of rags (made from old clothing and other fabric) in the weft and cotton threads in the warp. 

As Jackie Sylvester, who worked on the catalogne project, explains, it takes approximately 100 hours to warp a loom of this size and requires two people to operate. At the 100-inch loom, weaving partners learn techniques from one another and share stories. Sylvester recounts the inspiration behind the project, the process of weaving on the 100-inch loom, and the friendships that have formed at its bench.

Jackie Sylvester explains the catalogne project and setting up the 100" loom.

Jackie Sylvester and Carole Wycliffe working on the catalogne project together on the 100" loom, 2021
Jackie Sylvester, Carole Wycliffe, Nancy Leeney, Josee Menard, and Lee Scott cutting catalogne from the 100" loom, 2021
Spinning and Weaving through the Pandemic