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Ontario Handspinning Seminar

Do you have items that you have created in the past year using handspun fibre? Do you have yarns that have are still in skein form that you would like to share with other spinners? A technique that has intrigued you or that you have mastered? This is your chance to share with your fellow handspinners.


We have added another category this year, “Unfinished Symphonies,” to allow you to share that item that wasn’t quite completed before the seminar. Pick one category (or more) and plan to bring something to share. 


Some participants from last year’s seminar told us that they were reluctant to have their work judged. Rest assured that feedback will only be given if you request it on the entry form. Should you want feedback, it will be provided by spinning mavens/aficionados who have all experienced the uncertainty of putting their work in front of others. They will comment on what is going well, what could be improved, and offer suggestions to try for your next project. 

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 2024 | 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.

2024 Competition

The Committee encourages everyone to submit entries to the competitions. While it’s nice to win an award, often the helpful comments from the judges are more valuable than any prize. 

Display Room Retrospective 

As part of our 60th Anniversary celebration, we are planning a retrospective display. You can be involved by bringing your vintage pieces or pictures of the same to the Seminar. These items will be displayed only; they will not be judged. More information will be available when you register (it would be helpful to know ahead of time what items are coming and from what decade). 

Please look for these treasures and plan to bring them when you come. It will be interesting and fun to see changes over time, or perhaps how spinning has stayed the same. 

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