Sheep-to-Shawl at the Pennsylvania Farm Show


We were in Harrisburg yesterday to participate in the Sheep-to-Shawl contest at the 97th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. Those who frequent this blog will know that Joanna’s team has been meeting once or twice a month since last year’s competition to prepare for yesterday’s event. The gallery below presents a sequence of pictures which tell the story which is sheep-to-shawl. Clicking any of the images will take you to a carousel view and captions. Clicking the x in the upper left will bring you back to this post. The Dream Weavers placed fourth in a field of eight. Joanna was just happy to complete the shawl within the two and one-half hour time limit (with 5 minutes to spare). Shortly after the presentation of awards each of the completed shawls was auctioned and our Baskets of Apples brought $1,300. I would like to thank Joanne Evans, coordinator of the event, for granting me Press Access which made it possible to capture the images which illustrate this post.

10 thoughts on “Sheep-to-Shawl at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

  1. Pingback: the past few months | under the tea tree

  2. Wow! A fabulous achievement and a wonderful event. Our modern life separates us from process, and events like this create awareness of the work involved in.

    We have a Royal agricultural show here once per year, and one of the radio stations posts a similar challenge each year. some of the challenges have included: making a gingerbread house from scratch (milling the wheat and so on); making a jumper from scratch (shearing, spinning, dyeing etc); and making a cubby house from scratch. The end product is auctioned and the proceeds given to charity.

    Fantastic photos.

  3. What an achievement, I don’t think I fully understood what they had to do before. It is amazing. I love your photos. I have a friend who has loom, I should find out if I can go and take photos of her working.

    • Many, many thanks for the supportive comment Leanne. You should, absolutely, go to photograph your friend when she’s at the loom. I’d really like to see how you would approach the subject and where your focus (so to speak) would be … the loom, the process of weaving, or on the weaver herself. I’ve got to go to my reader now and put into words my response to your post about the legal implications of people-photography (if that’s what it’s called!). D

  4. Congratulations on a well deserved ribbon! You can just feel the energy from the pictures. The sheep beautiful and I hope she is keeping warm without her coat … and a beautiful coat it was!

    • Yup … Martha is now in the barn. They say that these animals only need 1/4″ of fleece to keep warm. We’ll keep her in the barn with a friend for several weeks and then let her back out onto pasture. She’s doing well and isn’t cold … although we’re experiencing a bit of a thaw at the moment.

  5. Fantastic photos. I really enjoyed this whole process. How do they get the red wool for the apple design running down the length of the shawl? Thanks for posting so quickly … after the nap. 🙂 Your farm interests me. If I were traveling, it is the one place that I’d really like to visit!

    • Hi George. Thanks for all of the various comments and interest in the sheep-to-shawl posts. All of the yarn that runs the length of the shawl … the warp … is on the loom before the competition starts. Francie, the team weaver, did this at her home a week or so ago. So, what happens during the competition is the sheep is sheared, the wool is spun into yarn, and this yarn is used as weft (the threads that go ACROSS the shawl). So, you can see how it would be easy to dye warp threads, ahead of time, and use these to add color to the competition shawl. Lots of people ask how color gets into the finished shawl if the wool is sheared within an hour or so of being added to the shawl … again, the answer is that it is added before the competition. Even if it is only the weft that is spun and woven … it’s still a crazy amount of work to be done in such a short time. Joanna’s team got everything done (including making two-ply from singles) with just 5 minutes to spare – I was sweating bullets for the last half hour or so worrying that they wouldn’t finish in time. I was glad when it was over! I worry too much at these things. Thanks again for your continued support and interest. D

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