Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2011

Congratulations on a terrific turn out for the 2010 Spin-off Competition. A total of 74 entries from 7 colour classes were sent out to be spun and judged by some talented and experienced ladies. The skeins returned are lovely examples of what alpaca yarn can look like and how soft it can feel in the hands of an experienced spinner.

Our 2011 Spinners;
Kathryn James – Judge for White Class
After teaching physical education and health in Scarborough, I raised my children in Montreal, moved to Ottawa, and formed a corporation to service health care.
In 1987 we bought 150 acres in Lanark County as a retirement project and started raising Hereford and Gelbvieh cattle, Border Leicesters, poultry and thoroughbred horses.
Spinning began with 6 lessons in 1989 and then the OHS spinning program, happily graduating in 2006. It was great to learn about exotic, bast, silk, cotton, and everything in between. Especially fun to work in different ways with fibre.
It wasn't long before that the sheep were sold and fibre was bought, already prepared. As past Eastern Ontario Representative to the OHS, many friendships, conferences, and classes were established. Now teaching, directing programming at the West Carleton Fibre Guild, and organizing St. Distaff's Day stir my enthusiasm.
Still haven't retired!

"The competition allows great characteristics to come forth. It is difficult and sometimes very stressful to raise a clean, healthy animal, let alone put the fibre production up for inspection. In this regard, you are given every credit."
Diane Stewart – Judge for Light Class
Diane is a retired English teacher who has been spinning since 1977. She now works as a textile artist, knitting, quilting, and working on commissioned spinning projects featuring dog fibre blends. Diane graduated in 2009 from the six-year OHS Certificate which offers instruction in every spinnable fibre. This is her fourth year judging Ontario alpaca.
"These fleeces demonstrate care and attention. I am impressed with the consistent quality of the fibres that I receive to evaluate. Spinners have access to beautiful alpaca here in Ontario."

Sharon Gowland – Judge for Fawn Class
I am a retired elementary school teacher / teacher-librarian. I had wanted to learn how to spin long before I retired and finally got the chance to learn in 2004. I take every spinning workshop I can to learn as much as I can and love to share my knowledge with other spinners, several of whom I have taught to spin. I have won awards for my spinning and take commissions, mostly to spin dog fibre and wool. I am a member of the Burlington Handweavers and Spinners Guild and the Gateway Guild of Weavers and Spinners of North Bay.
"Thank you so much for letting me experience the wonderful world of alpaca. I enjoyed every minute of this process and each sample became my favourite. The hardest part of the entire exercise was assigning marks. How lucky we are to have breeders who raise the animals who provide us with such gorgeous fibre."

Donna Lonergan – Judge for Brown and Multi Classes
Donna started spinning over forty years ago as stress relief from her position as Registered Nurse in Emergency Nursing. Donna spent eighteen years with Guides and Scouts Canada running a pack and troop and retired as Assistant District Commissioner for pack and adult teacher. In the best traditions of scouting she attempted to push the students to the limits of their knowledge. Donna continues in her public service role by demonstrating spinning at museums, fairs, and the grade three pioneer curriculum in local schools. She dresses in period costume and uses wheels from her extensive collection of antique wheels. Donna has researched and written a number of papers on antique wheels, which have been published by the Spinning Wheel Sleuth Magazine in the United States.
Now retired after a full career she teaches spinning of all fibres and the dyeing of them, whether natural or synthetic; wet and dry felting; kumihimo; spinning – both wheel and spindle styles.
Always willing to advance the craft, Donna, as president of her guild, organized and taught a seminar in spinning Seacell, Seawool and Seasilk for the Ontario Handspinners School. Several years ago, Donna was asked by the Board of Regents of the Ontario College of Art and Design to re-introduce spinning into the textile program – a responsibility she relishes as the craft cannot survive without passing it down to the youth.
Donna has judged the spin-off for Alpaca Ontario for 2 years now and continues her positive attitude towards critiquing.
"I enjoyed the experience but was not drawn to the browns as much as the greys of last year. A lot of the locks were very thin and they would be better for spinning if commercially prepared especially for spinners who were less experienced. I know the locks are for judging but I am talking if a person was to buy a blanket to prepare and spin themselves."

Ria Harting – Judge for the Black and Grey Classes
I have been spinning for more than a decade and successfully completed the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners' six-year course at the Haliburton School for the Arts in 2009. Now I attend as many spinning and weaving classes and workshops as I am able to. I also teach handspinning and have given workshops in Japanese paper spinning. My work has been shown in The Department Mainspace, an art gallery in downtown Toronto. I am active in the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers.
Prior to my retirement in 2009, I was a legal secretary for more years than I care to remember and, before that time, I was a social worker working mostly in inner city neighbourhoods in both Toronto and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I have also illustrated books and periodicals with my pen-and-ink drawings of Canadian nature scenes. I successfully ran several marathons and enjoyed canoeing some of Canada's wilderness rivers.
"I very much enjoyed spinning this wonderfully silky and clean alpaca fibre. It certainly made me lust after perhaps being able to spin enough for a wonderful airy lace knit shawl. What luxury that would be."


2019 Mary-Ann English Spin-off
Alpaca Ontario Mary Ann English Spin-off Competition 2017
Alpaca Ontario Mary Ann English Spin-off Competition 2016
Alpaca Ontario Mary Ann English Spin-off Competition 2015
Alpaca Ontario Mary Ann English Spin-off Competition 2014
Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2013
Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2012
Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2011
Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2010
Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2009
Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition


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