Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sheep-to-Shawl Contest

This year's Sheep-to-Shawl contest took place on Aug. 17th in the sheep barn at the State Fair.  The teams of spinners and weavers have four hours to transform washed wool into a woven scarf or shawl.  This year there were four youth teams making scarves and two adult teams making shawls.

As judges, we look at the drape of the piece and how it looks on a person.  That meant that we got to try everything on!  This shawl was from the "Serendipity" team and won first place for the adult teams.  The warp (pre-spun and warped prior to the contest) and weft are both Shetland wool.  The shawl was lovely and wonderful!

 Here is the entry from the "Dream Team".  This is a group of younger adults who had previously been on some of the Conner Prairie youth teams.  The undulating twill and warp colors were lovely!  They won second place.  Someone commented that the amount of work required for the shawls is soooo much more than for the scarves the youth teams make.  It's true.  The shawls are twice the width and about ten inches longer than the scarves. That takes a lot more yarn!

 the "Dream Team" (and a "Pirate" head off to the right)

 "Serendipity" with many of the youth teams visible in the back

 This spinner from "Serendipity" has a flick carder in her lap.  The "Serendipity" team all used the flick carders; the other teams used hand cards.

 This is the moment where the scarf is off the loom.  Any errors in the weaving need to be found and fixed.  The fringe finishing needs to be done and then it is turned in for judging.

The finished scarves from the youth teams.  From the left is the "Lady Bugs" (2nd), then "Silent Spinners" (1st), "Pirates of the Treadle" (4th), and "Wonder Wheels" (3rd).

One of the amazing things to me about this contest was the amount of process engineering that is required to know how to make this woven piece in a short amount of time.  As a spinner and weaver, I often fill a bobbin or two one week, ply them on another and weave with the yarns a few weeks (or years) later.  This contest requires all that to be done in just four hours!  The spinners never filled their bobbins.  They spun enough to fill a one inch section on their bobbin, and then changed bobbins so the plier could use the little bit they had just spun.  With four spinners, a plier, and a weaver it didn't take long before everyone was busy, busy, busy!  And, everyone was busy until the end!  Whew!  What an amazing process!

1 comment:

EGunn said...

It looks like their process worked! The FOs are beautiful.