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Ontario Handspinning Seminar

Everyone is encouraged to bring an item to put into the Display!  This is an opportunity for us to exchange ideas and to indulge in a bit of “Show-and-Tell” – a chance to see what others have been working on since the last Seminar.  No matter what your level of experience, it is nice to be inspired by each other. This also is an opportunity to have a close look at items that might be in the Fashion Show.  Items on display will be eligible for the WOW award and items made from 100% handspun will be eligible for the Founders Award.

For all categories the following guidelines apply:

  • Seminar participants are limited to one entry per category

  • Only entries made entirely of handspun yarn are eligible for the Founders Award

  • Entries in all the categories must have been completed since the last in-person Seminar (2019)

Simple 2-ply skein: Your goal is to produce a consistent, balanced yarn.


3 or more ply skein: Your goal is to produce a consistent, balanced yarn.


Novelty skein: Your goal is to construct a yarn which boasts a decorative element. This may be a spinning technique (crepe or bouclé for example) or it may consist of additions to your spun yarn (beads, feathers etc.). The choice is have fun with it.


Spindle-spun skein: The 2-or-more-ply yarn must be spun and plied on a hand spindle. Garments: Projects may include sweaters,

vests, jackets, shawls, etc.


Accessories: Projects may include hats, scarves, socks, mittens, etc.


Other: Projects may include dolls, tea cozies, placemats, household items, etc.

Seminar 2023 | Displays and Competitions


Levels of Experience

Beginner (2 years or less), Intermediate (2-5 years), Advanced (more than 5 years).

Competition Guidelines


Please indicate if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced spinner. The yarn must meet the specifications in the competition directions.

A Balanced Yarn: The skein has no twist. Do not twist the yarn into a twisted skein. This sets an unwanted twist in the yarn.

Presentation: The skein is clean and carefully wound. The skein is the required length of 20 – 25 metres. The skein has been set to keep it neat and even. The skein has been loosely tied in four places to keep it in order when handled. The ends have been neatly trimmed.


Consistency: The thickness of the yarn is even (no handspun will be absolutely, perfectly smooth. That is the job of machines!) The number of twists per inch is consistent throughout the skein. The plan of decorative elements is evident.

Suitability for the Purpose: The choice of fibre should suit the end product (There is some leeway for personal preference). Grist (yarn diameter) is in accordance with its purpose (e.g. outdoor coat vs. baby's sweater). The yarn should be long enough for the purpose (e.g. scarf vs. rug). The hand (feel of the yarn) should suit the purpose (e.g. baby shawl vs. rug). The number of plies and twist should be suitable for abrasive use (e.g. crewel yarn needs 3 tight plies).


To ensure that entries can be fairly judged, the criteria of the class must be met. Not doing so could disqualify the entry. Each entry must be accompanied by the enclosed form. DO NOT write your name on this form. Tags will be provided to identify your entry.


To help new entrants, we have provided some sample information:

Category: Special Project 

Item: Crochet lace collar
Fibre(s): 100% Egyptian cotton
Preparation of the Fibre(s): I determined the end of the sliver from which the fibre readily slides. I loosened the fibres to draft easily.
Spinning and Plying Techniques: Singles were spun "S" on my great wheel. Three singles were plied "Z" on my Louet. Spinning "S" and plying "Z" prevents the yarn from unravelling when crocheted. Requirements for the 3-ply yarn was 50 g at 30 wraps per inch to complete the collar.
Finishing the Yarn(s): The plied yarn was wound on large plastic curlers and boiled for 30 minutes in 2 litres of water and I /8 cup washing soda. Air dried on the curlers.
Dying Techniques (if Used): To get an antique hue, I prepared strong tea. I boiled the yarn in the tea until slightly darker than the required colour. Quite a bit of colour will came out in the rinse.
Construction Technique: Pattern: Victorian collar, Magic Crochet, December 1995, #34, p. 82.
Finishing: Finished collar was washed in hot water with washing soda and then blocked to shape.

Comments: A detachable collar enables its use with a variety of garments. This pattern would work equally well in silk or linen.

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