The North Country Spinners Guild is pleased to sponsor a hand spun skein contest. Ribbons will be awarded to Best in Show and the top three skeins in each class will receive ribbons and premiums.  Please read the tips provided by the judges from previous years.

The entry fee is $2.00 per skein. Please make checks payable to North Country Spinners.

Skeins will be accepted on Saturday between 8:00 – 10:00 AM at the fairgrounds, or they may be mailed in advance.

Judging begins at 10:00 AM. We ask that you leave your entries on display through Sunday. All entries must be claimed on Sunday between 3:00 – 4:00 PM.
The judge is permitted to split a large class, move a skein to a more appropriate category, or disqualify a skein that doesn’t follow the rules.

Even though diligence will be exercised in the care of all entries in the skein competition, North Country Spinners assumes no liability for lost, stolen or damaged entries.


1. Skeins must be finished (washed, steamed) and securely tied in at least 4 places using a figure 8 tie.

2. Skeins must be 1 to 2 yards in circumference.

3. Skeins must be at least 50 yards of yarn, except for Challenge classes 12, 13 and 14 where only 20 yards are necessary for each skein.

4. Skeins should be a balanced, 2-ply yarn except where otherwise indicated.

5. Skeins may be either natural colored or dyed.

6. Skeins must be the work of the submitter and must have been spun since the last festival.

7. For each skein, write your name, address, and phone number on a 3×5 index card. Put this index card in an envelope and tie it to the skein.

8. Describe your skein on another 3×5 index card. Tape the description to the front of the envelope. The description should include the fibers you started with (e.g., commercially dyed merino roving), what the yarn will be used for and how the finished item will be created (e.g., knitted hat, hooked rug). Finally include the methods you used for preparing the fibers, spinning the yarn, and finishing the skein.

9. Fill out an entry form. If someone else will be picking up your skeins, write their name on the entry form. Or if you prefer to have your skeins mailed back to you, include a return address label and sufficient postage.

If you wish to mail your entries, contact Vickie Zelizo for where to mail and when the skein must be received.

NCS Spinning Wheelgoldbar


First Place ($3), Second Place ($2), and Third Place ($1)

1. Wool plied – must be 100% sheep’s wool
2. Wool singles – must be 100% sheep’s wool
3. Wool blend – must be at least 50% sheep’s wool
4. Novelty Yarn – crepe, marl, spiral gimp, boucle, snarl, slub, beaded, corespun, etc.
5. Animal – 100% animal fibers other than sheep – Alpaca, llama, angora, mohair, silk, etc.
6. Plant – 100% plant fibers –  Cotton, hemp, flax, bamboo, ramie, etc.
7. Juniors – any skein produced by a spinner under the age of 18 regardless of skill level
8. Drop Spindle – a skein entirely spun and plied using a drop spindle
9. Other – any other fiber or technique

Challenge Classes

First Place ($4), Second Place ($3), and Third Place ($2)

10. Fleece to Yarn – The spinner must start from a raw sheep’s fleece and process the fibers him/herself. Spinners can choose to spin in the grease, comb or handcard the fibers, and/or dye the wool but each step must be done by the spinner.

11. Breeder’s Skein – Any skein spun by the breeder entirely from fiber(s) from his or her own flock.

12. Spinner’s Basket – A basket of your choice containing no less than 3 and not more than 5 skeins. Skeins may be different colors, fibers, and techniques but should coordinate to create a pleasing effect. Each skein should be at least 20 yards in length.

13. Three Skeins – 3 skeins spun and plied from the same fiber: one spun fine (20 wraps per inch), one spun medium (10 – 19) wraps per inch, and one spun bulky (less than 10 wraps per inch). Each skein should be at least 20 yards in length.  Note:  wpi = wraps per inch

14.Textile Yarn Swatch – There are four components to this class:

a fiber sample(s),
a 20 yd skein,
a swatch of 5×5 inches, and
the description of your process.

The swatch  may use your choice of techniques; weaving, knitting, or crocheting. It should then be washed and blocked, or felted. All four components should be attractively mounted on an 8 x 11 matt board or poster board. The swatch must be able to be removed from the baord so that it can easily be examined for judging.


Skein Contest Tips – Tips for Showing Skeins

Here are some suggestions made by judges from previous years.

1. The overall appearance of your skein matters. When choosing a yarn to make the figure 8 ties, consider using something that doesn’t clash with your skein. Often the best choice for ties is some of the yarn from the skein itself. But remember that the ties have to be strong enough to hold the skein together.

2. Make the figure 8 ties loose enough so that the strands slide easily but not so loose that the skein looks sloppy or falls apart.

3. Rather than leaving two loose ends for the beginning and end of the yarn, tie the ends together so that the skein is one continuous loop.

4. Wash your skein to remove dirt/oils and bring out the true twist. Because this can cause a skein to distort, we suggest reskeining and retying the yarn after washing.

5. Check to see if your plied yarn is evenly balanced after washing and reskeining. Do this by holding up your skein to see if it twists strongly to the left or right. Then add or subtract some twist by running it through your spinning wheel again in the  appropriate direction until the yarn is balanced.

6. Remember to thoroughly describe your skein as this information is vital to the judge. If you aren’t yet sure what you intend to do with the yarn, write down a project that you think the yarn is suitable for.

Page Content Updated: 22-May-2014