Mary-Ann English AO Spin-Off Competition 2012

Congratulations on a terrific turn out for the 2012 Spin-off Competition. 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 2012 Spinners;

Diane Stewart – Judge for White Class
I've now judged the MAE Spin-off for 5 years. Each sample develops my knowledge of alpaca. Since graduation from the six year OHS Certificate course in 2009, I have spun exotic fibres: Chiengora (dog), Merino-mink (opossum blend), Ontario cashmere, and alpaca. I have taught an OHS workshop on Chiengora, featured in a Chinese language national TV show segment on spinning dog fibre, and completed 3 year-long commissions creating chiengora lace throws and garments. Knitting, sewing and embroidery are other fibre passions of mine. I am also making a log cabin doll house from Hydro slash branches, working as a garden consultant, canoe-camping, building our cottage, painting in acrylics and water colour, and travelling. Retirement is a time to catch up on interests which I couldn't pursue during thirty years of marking English papers. Yet marking alpaca samples can bring a tear of nostalgia! I really enjoy participating in the work of Alpaca Ontario
"Class A White reaffirms that any age group can provide desirable soft fibres for handspinners. Yet moderately soft fleeces with noticeable primary fibres can be desirable and used successfully, if blended with wools or even silks if the spinner does not want to pick out primaries. In addition to handle, ease of preparation is important; locks should be neatly arranged to help separation, thus reduce fibre waste.
The Class A White 2012 is clear of VM, a definite plus in the preparation stage. I would like to see more entries in the adult group because spinners should know how well adults compare with younger fleeces."

Donna Lonergan – Judge for Light Class
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.
Several years ago Donna was tasked by the Board of Regents of the Ontario College of Art and Design to re-introduce spinning into the textile programme, a responsibility she relishes, as the craft cannot survive without the youth.
Donna has judged the spin-off for Alpaca Ontario for 3 years now and continues her positive attitude towards critiquing.
"Once again I enjoyed spinning the alpaca and I feel each time I learn more about these wonderful animals. At times it is a challenge because I would wash the fleece before spinning if I were to purchase it , but I know this is a fairer way of judging as we all do the same. One of the reasons I say this is that the sand in some of the fleeces is very gritty when spinning and this is not a great feeling. I had some of the fleece that were not packed properly and the locks were all over the place and were bent back on each other which makes it difficult to judge well."

Cindy O'Gorman – Judge for Fawn Class
Cindy has been spinning for 10 years, having been inspired to learn to spin when she met alpacas. Since then, she has been an active member of the Ottawa Valley Weavers' and Spinners' Guild, being especially involved in demonstrating and teaching her love of fibres and fibre arts. In 2009, Cindy graduated with Distinction from the OHS Spinning Certificate program completing 6 years of study at the Haliburton School of Arts. She especially enjoys spinning and combining natural coloured fibres. She lives on Hill Grove Farm in Dunrobin, Ontario with her husband and 2 children raising a variety of fibre animals including a flock of Shetland Sheep.
"The soft Fawn alpaca samples were a pleasure to handle and spin. The juvenile group were extremely fine and soft and produced beautiful lustrous yarns."
Sharon Gowland – Judge for Brown Class
Sharon is a retired elementary school teacher who first learned to spin in 2004. She continues to learn about her craft by taking courses and reading extensively about new techniques. She loves to share her knowledge with others and has taught many new spinners to spin. She knits, weaves and spins many kinds of fibres and takes commissions to spin for pet owners. She is active in two weaving and spinning guilds. This is her second year spinning for Alpaca Ontario.
"Thanks to the breeders who were willing to submit their gorgeous fibres for us to evaluate. I have never met an alpaca fibre that I didn't love. We are so lucky to have so much to choose from here in Ontario."
Ria Harting – Judge for Black and Grey Class
I have been spinning for more than 15 years and successfully completed the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners' six-year course at the Haliburton School for the Arts in 2009.
I have given a number of workshops in a variety of spinning techniques and demonstrate the art of spinning on wheels, drop spindles, support spindles and charkhas at various venues..
I am a member of the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers, the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners and the Guild of Canadian Weavers.
"Again it was a pleasure to spin and judge this beautiful fibre. It becomes quite evident in reviewing all the 16 fleeces sent to me for judging, that these came from animals which are extremely well taken care of. All fleeces are very much worthy of the top marks given to them. Handspinners would love to spin any of the fleeces I was lucky enough to be able to fondle."


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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