Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - Day 2 - Sheep to Shawl Competition

This year's sheep to shawl competition was fabulous! I was rooting for two teams - the Jr. Team (coached by Rebecca) and the Stargazers.

All the teams were fabulous! Here's the info boards for each of them (double click on them for a closer view).

Stargazers (left) and The Butler Peddlars (right)

Mount Vernon (left) and the Jr. Team Go Kool Jamz (right)

Friends Thru Fiber (below left) and Les Fleurs de Soleil (below right)

The Go Kool Jamz!

The Junior Team was absolutely fabulous! This year was the first year there was an all junior team - 3 girls and a guy. They were awesome!

The sheep for the Go Kool Jamz was a ewe with a young lamb. Aren't they sweet?

They kept the lamb nearby so neither the ewe or the lamb would panic.

"Mama" didn't look overly thrilled about the shearing process (left), but was quite relieved to be re-united with her little lamb as soon as the shearing and judging were finished (right).

The Go Kool Jamz definitely had a great time and did an absolutely fabulous job! Their costumes and enthusiasm were infectious! They dyed their warp with Kool-Aid and tie-dyed their matching sweatshirts. The weaving was done on a rigid heddle loom - quite a challenge, but they were definitely up to it.

Check out the fabulous result! The kids did an absolutely stunning job! This was their first ever competition - and they totally rocked!

And now, the Stargazers...

What a great looking team:

Alice - spinner
Liz - weaver
Esther - spinner
Ginny - spinner
Anne Schroeder - the shearer
Ginger - the sheep and donor of the gorgeous wool (Ginger's owner is Michelle Reilly of Triple "R" Farm)

Anne has donned her shearing shoes and is ready to go!

Ginger is being prepped for the shearing

And the shearing begins!

Anne busily shearing Ginger.

Liz and Alice are ready - the loom has been pre-warped with hand-dyed hand-spun yarn. Isn't the color gorgeous? The loom is warped prior to the competition, and they aren't required to use hand-spun yarn, but they did. These girls are definitely over-achievers!

The fiber has arrived and they're ready to go! It takes several spinners to
keep one weaver going, so at the start, the spinners AND the weaver get involved in prepping the fiber for spinning.

Some shots of the team in action...

Alice...spinning her heart out.

Liz weaving away with both Esther and Ginny prepping bobbins and spinning in the background.

Liz is doing the final finishing - prepping the shawl for removal from the loom. She's tying up the fringe.

Liz cutting the shawl off the loom....it's done! Well, almost.

After getting the shawl off the loom, Liz and Alice had to check over the finished shawl and trim the loose ends.

Next, it was handed over to Ginny and Esther to trim the fringe.

Final step, the judging - in addition to the quality of spinning, design, and other requirements, there is also a length requirement. . The Stargazer's shawl was a bit short but was beautiful none the less! The shawl came in fifth. I'm still amazed that it's possible to shear a sheep, spin the wool, and weave a shawl...all in 3 hours!

Once the judging was completed, all the shawls are on display and bid on. Every shawl was gorgeous!

The finished shawls...they're all beautiful!

The onion skin dyed shawl from the Butler Peddlars placed first, Friends Thru Fiber placed second, Mount Vernon placed third, Les Fleurs de Soleil placed fourth, and Stargazers placed fifth. The Jr. team won their division - next year, they're prepping for more competition! (I bid on and won the Mount Vernon shawl - I'm partial to the white-on-white. It's the perfect weight for a summer shawl to keep the shoulders warm in the AC!)

As always, everyone wears their hand knits or hand woven creations to the festival. I saw many shawls and wraps and a few sweaters. However, one of the most interesting hand-knits I spotted were these orange shorts. Pretty awesome, eh?

The skein and garment competition was fabulous again this year. There were some awesome felted designs - I just love this needle felted picture and the rug hooked quilting bee - they're gorgeous!

My friend Dave entered a mini shawl and received a judges Special Award - it's the Forest Canopy shawl knit using 0000 needles! He even hand spun the extremely thin yarn for it! I would have gone insane! Incredible!

Check out these gorgeous sweaters. I'm not sure if I like the Fair Isle or the felted one the best. They're both absolutely stunning.

Surprise, surprise. This is my favorite woven blanket. Now I definitely need to get on the stick weaving so I can try my hand at this!

Here's my favorite piece - these lovely hand crafted cushions - they're too pretty to use!

I'll end my post with some shots of the young lambs. These guys were hidden under a table - very cute!

The triplets in this pen were hard to photograph as one of them was always behind or under the ewe. One of them is a little smaller than the rest, so the shepherd lovingly bottles feeds it.

Awww.....the little bottle fed lamb.


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