Reserve pennsylvania state champions

I followed along as Joanna traveled to Harrisburg to participate in a sheep-to-shawl contest held in conjunction with the 98th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. Those who frequent this blog will know that she is a member of The Dream Weavers, a team out of nearby Northumberland County. The theme for this year’s entry was Partridge Rock Rooster. The warp was handspun from a wool/mohair blend and then hand dyed in colors found in the beautiful plumage of this barnyard favorite. The gallery presents a sequence of pictures which tell the story of the day’s events. I once overheard someone describe sheep-to-shawl as the NASCAR of the world of arts-and-crafts. While I take issue with that description, on a couple of levels, I will agree that STS is fast-paced, full of excitement, and fun to watch. Clicking any of the images will take you to a carousel view while the x in the upper left will bring you back to this post. The Dream Weavers placed second in a field of seven teams. Shortly after the presentation of awards each of the shawls was auctioned and Partridge Rock Rooster did just fine.

28 thoughts on “Reserve pennsylvania state champions

  1. This post reminds me how lucky Joanna and I are that we have knitting/weaving/sewing skills to keep us busy inside when the weather outside is just not cooperating.

      • Good she has a ready source to tap! I am working on a baby afghan. It’s an adorable owl pattern. I have a few already made in another pattern but this one is special.

  2. Happy to see another competition with a beautiful end product. It must be so exciting for the participants. I would probably be a nervous wreck and won’t be able to do my job properly!

    • The competition lasts for 2.5 hours. And there are points awarded for finishing quickly such that the first team off the loom receives, I believe, 10 bonus points, the second team off receives 8, and so on … this year the Dream Weavers were off the loom first and before the two hour mark … that’s crazy fast. But, you are correct in observing that the whole thing is pretty intense. We usually bring along one of our sheep, but this year some other team members contributed one of theirs. It was the job of Joanna and me to drive to their farm and pick up Daisy on our way to Harrisburg that (early) morning. I was only worried that something would happen in transit which would have prevented participation of the team. Thank goodness the transport went smoothly. Our route took us right by a DD which had the effect of calming the nerves. Are you signed up for DDPerks? I am! D

  3. Wow, I’m always left in awe of Joanna’s talents and skill. The shawl looks beautiful, and as a team they must be so organised and ‘together’… what a wonderful competition keeping the old skills alive and kicking!

    • We just finish listening together .. genuinely appropriate .. thanks. If not for the requirement that the theme of the competition shawl have something to do with the Keystone state of Pennsylvania Joanna says she would seriously consider suggesting ‘The Galloway Shawl’ be the team theme for 2015.

      • You are a riot 🙂 Thank you! We are very excited to be in a position to potentially reciprocate on all of the generous episodes of hospitality we have received over the years.

  4. I remember your photos of last year in your retrospective! I am again impressed! One question … so the colored threads are prepared in advance, correct? Only the “thread running perpendicular to them” is taken from the sheep? If I am right, did nobody ever come up with the idea of making the dying process part of the competition? Or would this take too much time?

    • You are correct Elke. The warp threads run along the long axis of the loom. The Dream Weavers laid their warp threads out on a long table and hand-dyed them. These were then dried and loaded onto the loom about a week before the competition. During the contest, the sheep is sheared, the wool fibers are spun into yarn and this is then woven (as weft) into the warp which already present. So warp (long axis) may be very colorful while weft (perpendicular to warp) is the color of the wool that comes directly off the sheep. Making preparation of the dyed warp part of the competition would take far too long … preparation of the dyed Dream Weaver warp took the better part of two days (and this doesn’t include the time to spin the warp threads themselves … which took about two weeks). I will tell Joanna that you liked the final product! D

    • Joanna was delighted to have been given the practice version of the shawl and she is sitting across the table from me wrapped up in it! She did have a good time at the competition (the weather was cold but clear) but then came down with a ‘thing’ the following day! She is recovering and happy to have seen your comment. Miss you and the rest of the M contingent. D

  5. Pass along my Congratulations! That is amazing. Yes, when very young I did see that sort of thing, one bit at a time. In particular I do have vivid memories of carding wool while still very small, and my mom always knitted – I never had store bought gloves until was an adult. Pretty sure the same was true of sweaters. But to see that (and I love the term sheep-to shawl – it may be common to you but I heard it for the first time just then) process take place in sequence is truly wonderful.

    • I’ll pass along your thoughts. Joanna is now sitting across the kitchen table from me wrapped up in the practice version of the shawl which is equally soft, beautiful, and warm. D

      • Speaking of warm, I awoke today to a relatively mild day; just a few degrees below freezing, hardly any wind and only a few clouds. Tomorrow it will go to +9C! Oh, one more thing, next time you visit my site you may find it a bit confusing at first. I’ve undergone mitosis (Elke’s term!) and have broken the stuff in two parts. From now on the blog may make a bit more sense.

          • Aha – you didn’t see all of it. Top right you’ll find a link to the new Duck Starfish 23 site … with the original picture from the Doe Hills, of course. Over the next little while I’ll make sure I keep the Canon close and see if I can get a nice winter picture to use for a header.

  6. Congratulations to Joanna and her team! That’s beautiful work! We live 15 miles from the Farm show complex! We still have not yet made it to the Farm Show in all our years of living here. Amazing the events we miss that are right in our own back yard. I’m sure our little one would love it, too. Next year, surely! 🙂

  7. The Dream Weavers have demonstrated their mighty skills in creating this dreamy shawl. It is so soft and ethereal looking and is a real work of art. Kudos to Joanna and her talented team for producing this impressive artistic creation. It is lovely.

  8. This looks like so much fun! And that sheep does rather look like she’s an old hand at this game. I love the shawl pattern they picked! Tell Joanna I have a box from our travels waiting to go to the post office soon here …

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