The 25th Annual Sheep To Shawl Contest at the PA Farm Show.

8:32 am
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the 25th Annual Sheep To Shawl Contest live blogging event, sponsored by me, The Accidental Knitter. Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking: is she really at the Farm Show already??? The contest doesn't start until 3:00! No, I'm not at the Farm Show. I'm home this morning with a feverish Baby A.K., so I figured I'd take the time to do a test run.

8:39 am
Yep, everything's working well. Have a good morning, my friends, and I'll see you at the Farm Show a little later on. And while you're waiting (in case you haven't read Monday's post), read up on the rules of the contest here.

1:49 pm
Well, here I am, all set up and ready to go. Can I just say off the bat, that everyone I've spoken with so far has been wonderfully nice and eager to help me get ready for this. And now, some pictures for your pre-contest viewing pleasure:
The PA Farm Show: Our cows are big... and red,
Our alpacas are fuzzy,
Our Lamb And Wool Queen knows how to rock a shawl,
And our kids can card, spin, and weave with the best of 'em (there was a Fleece To Shawl Contest earlier today, and these kids are just amazing.)

2:02 pm
Just received some general info for today's contest. I don't think this is online anywhere to link to, so I'll try to summarize:
The teams are judged in parts:
Shearing (even shearing, uniformity, lack of second cuts);
Fleece (cleanliness, condition of fleece, luster, crimp);
Spinning (individual spinning as well as how their spinning relates to the design of the shawl);
Weaving (evenness in weaving, evenness of selvage edges and lack of pull-in. Finished shawl must measure at least 22" wide by 78" long);
Design (originality, difficulty, color coordination, softness, drape, execution of finished fringe);
Speed (self explanatory).

2:07 pm
Today's competing teams:

  • The Lovely Lambs and Ornery Rams of Lebanon

  • Carl and the Not so Lazy Kates

  • Yorktowne Spinners

  • Loyhannon Spinners

  • Butler County Peddlers

  • Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me

  • Red Rose Treadling Toes

(Just a reminder... for anyone who's following the action right here and right now, just keep hitting your "Refresh" button every few minutes for updates.)

2:16 pm
Where would we be today if it weren't for... THE SHEEP!

(You get the idea.)

2:43 pm
A thousand curses on my camera. It was state-of-the-art 5 years ago, but sadly outdated now. But, we do what we can do. Here are the best pictures I could get of each team's shawl display:
The Lovely Lambs and Ornery Rams of Lebanon
Carl and the Not so Lazy Kates
Yorktowne Spinners
Loyhannon Spinners
Butler County Peddlers
Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me
Red Rose Treadling Toes

2:47 pm
So far, I haven't been able to talk to any of the team members, since they're all getting ready to do their thing. But they all look so... calm. Serene, even. I guess that's not surprising - spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting... they all kind of put you in that Zen-like state after a while, don't they? In fact, when I look around, I'm the only one running around like a crazy person. Sigh.

2:56 pm
Ready the sheep!
Ready the teams!

3:07 pm
And they're off! Only one girl shearer in the bunch, but she's doing great!

3:15 pm
Wow... it took less than 10 minutes for all of the teams to shear their sheep. I guess that surprises no one here... but me.

The "After" shot.

3:16 pm
And they're off... again! At 3:12 pm, the teams were given the "Ready... Set... GO!" to start carding and spinning and weaving. And I'm off again, too... to get more pictures.

3:27 pm
Yorktowne Spinners
Loyhannon Spinners
Butler County Peddlers

3:39 pm
Sorry for the long delay... technical difficulties. OK, back to the teams...

3:49 pm
Carl and the Not so Lazy Kates
Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me
The Lovely Lambs and Ornery Rams of Lebanon
Red Rose Treadling Toes

3:52 pm
I'm trying to find someone to ask about what happened to PCN... be back soon...

4:00 pm
Well, no one's really sure down here about PCN. Some suggested that maybe they lost the feed due to the high winds sweeping through Central PA today. Actually, they kind of laughed and said, "Well, I guess it's up to you, then!"

4:09 pm
Our esteemed judges, Kris Peters, Christine Starry, and Kathy Davidson (I think I got them in the right order...).

4:20 pm
Some random photos...

Did you all know that The Lovely Lambs and Ornery Rams of Lebanon is a group of 4-Hers ranging in age from 12 to 17? This is their weaving in progress.

I love this guy. He keeps staring at me, and occasionally gives me a "BLEAT!!!"

4:30 pm
These two girls are walking around modeling the "sample" shawls that the teams are now busily re-creating. The one on the left is from the team Carl and the Not so Lazy Kates, and the one on the right is from The Lovely Lambs... of Lebanon.
Did you know that Carl and the... Kates get together at least 4 or 5 times a year to demonstrate spinning and weaving at festivals and reenactments, as well as competing in Sheep To Shawl events around the state?

4:41 pm
Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me are weaving this wild shawl with some nubby/slubby yarn in there - I just want to touch it... (sorry for the blurriness)

Ooooh... there's lots of cheering over at the Lovely Lambs... of Lebanon... wow, their shawl is off the loom!

4:45 pm
Note to self... next year, have a better camera. And bring a cushion. My butt's freezing.

4:49 pm
So here's how color comes into play... Red Rose Treadling Toes's warp for their shawl is a team hand-spun combination of commercial dyed wool/mohair mix and their own natural colored merino and mohair blend with highlights of purple, dyed by the team.

4:55 pm
Once the shawl is off the loom, as team Lovely Lambs... Of Lebanon are demonstrating here, they fringe it up,
then run it over to the judges.

5:06 pm
Ohhhhh... heaven. Tables piled high with pure heaven.

This lady has been knitting for pretty much the entire contest. And even though I'm having a blast doing this, I kind of wish I was her right now. She's making a skinny scarf for her daughter. I hear my mom's unfinished socks calling to me...

5:09 pm
Sigh. This is hard. It takes so long to run around and get pictures, upload them to my hard drive, fix them up, export them to the blog, write something, and hit "Publish" - sadly, I don't think I'll be getting many interviews, if any. Note to self: next year, bring a friend to help.

5:18 pm
All the news channels are here now... including a girl with a lavender cowgirl hat... I'm likin' that!
Yorktowne's finishing up...
Butler's off the loom and fringing. They're officially the 2nd team done, with an 84" shawl.

5:21 pm
More cheers... Yorktowne is 3rd finished.

5:27 pm
About 20 minutes to go... I think Two Rams might be getting close.

5:33 pm
Red Rose is finishing,
as is Loyhannon:

5:39 pm
Some of the finished shawls are on display. I'd really love to win one at auction tonight, but Baby A.K.'s scholarship fund just won't allow for that. Note to self: make more money so you can win shawl at auction next year.

5:41 pm
Loyhannon is finished!

5:43 pm
Red Rose is finished!

5:48 pm
I don't want to forget, so I want to give a shout-out now to Elaine Harvey, Media Relations, and Sarah Knisely, Timer/Photographer, for being so nice. I really enjoyed chatting with both of them in between pictures and mad typing.

5:50 pm
Two Rams is finished!

5:52 pm
Carl is finished! And so am I... well, not quite. Judging and awards to commence soon...

6:01 pm
A table full of finished shawls... still being judged.

6:14 pm
Just finished running around the arena, meeting the teams and letting them know who I am and what the heck I was doing all this time. And once again, everyone was SO nice, and so appreciative of what I did. Believe me, the pleasure was mine. Oh... and a lot of teams told me that they'd actually heard of my little blog... I'm just grinning like a fool right now.

6:17 pm
The arena's filling up again for the announcement of the winners...

6:32 pm
The Winners:
(First some words from Attorney General Tom Corbett (thanks for the spell check, Husband of A.K.... )
Champion Shearer: Carl Geissinger of Carl and the Not so Lazy Kates
Fleece Award: Butler County
Team's Choice: Loyhannon Spinners
Weaver's Award: Susan Rex of Loyhannon Spinners
Premium Spinning Group: Red Rose Treadling Toes
7th Place: Two Rams, Two Rams, Ewe & Me
6th Place: Red Rose Treadling Toes
5th Place: Yorktowne Spinners
4th Place: Lovely Lambs and Ornery Rams of Lebanon
3rd Place: Carl and the Not So Lazy Kates
2nd Place: Loyhannon Spinners
1st Place: Butler County Peddlers

6:40 pm
Time for the Auction... where the heck's my checkbook... ?
Butler County Peddlers shawl: $850.00

6:43 pm
The Fleece To Shawl contest winners' shawl (this is the contest that occurred earlier today): $500.00
(I'll try to get pictures of all of these later... )

6:45 pm
Loyhannon Spinners shawl: $575.00

6:50 pm
Carl and the Not so Lazy Kates shawl: $1350.00 (holy cow!!!)
(this is so much fun! The auctioneer is awesome, and funny as heck!)

6:53 pm
The Lovely Lambs and Ornery Rams of Lebanon shawl: $525.00

6:55 pm
Yorktowne Spinners shawl: $850.00

6:58 pm
Red Rose Treadling Toes shawl: $1000.00

7:00 pm
Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me's shawl: $325.00

7:04 pm
Now it's time for the Fleece Auction... but I'm callin' it quits. I've had a really, really great time today, but it's time I headed home, maybe see Baby A.K. before she goes to bed. Thank you, everyone, for supporting this little exercise in speed blogging... can't wait to do it again next year!


cyndy said...

I read that the PA show is adding a youth competition, Fleece to Shawl, and hope that you will include some coverage of that as well!

Thanks for the updates!

Lisa said...

I'm slogging away at work today. Looking forward to sneeking peeks at your blog this afternoon and visiting the show vicariously through you. Hope your baby is feeling better. Have fun at the show.

Cris said...

You probably won't have time to read comments today, but -- good luck!! If I get over to the F.S. complex (if the rush work on my desk doesn't eat my afternoon), I'll see you there!

(P.S. hope baby A.K. feels better too)

belladonna said...

Looking forward to the contest! From amazingly sunny & warm Reading :)

Lisathemom said...

OOOHHHH!!! I'm originally from PA and this is so exciting to watch from south GA, where none of my friends would know a sheep-to-shawl contest if it hit them....thanks so much!!

cyndy said...

This is GREAT Marni! Thanks to everyone who is making it happen!

GroovyDaddy said...

And I'm lucky enough to be married to this girl.
Knock 'em dead, honey!

Anonymous said...

Think you can go tell the PCN people to fix whatever the problem is and get back on the air??? At least you are there to give us a glimpse into what is happening. thank you!!!

Sam D said...

I'm loving your pictures!!! (so far nothing on PCN, so your THE one!!!)

Pat said...

You're doing fantastic. Great job to cover the event live. -Pat

bettycrackpot said...

you rock!!! thanks so much for doing this!!!!

Barb aka. tobpa24 said...

Actually PCN hasn't been as cool as this! I actually see the people in these pics!

Our local TV shows will do a "brief" segment on this in the evening news, but this is wayyyyyy cooler!

Thanks for making the effort

Anonymous said...


I'm really enjoying this. This is almost like being there...hmmm, maybe next year, I'll go.

Joan said...

Marni ~ great job!!!! We can't access blogspot from work ~ I was disappointed that I had to wait until now to see how you did. Sounds like you had a great time! Hope Baby A.K. is feeling better.

See you next week for the in-person scoop on the contest! :)

Judy said...

I hope the baby is feeling better. Great pics and coverage. Thanks.

bspinner said...

Pictures and information is better than any newspaper!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

hearts812 said...

How cool for you to do this. I watched it off and on last night on PCN. Although the announcers on it were annoying...they kept putting down the young 4H group. Next year I'd like to see it in person.

Elaine said...

Great job Marni! Hmmmm.. Next year I might have to add you to the Media staff. Wow...I could have a 'staff'. kewl. ;)
BTW, feel free to hop over to EZasPi on YahooGroups http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EZasPi/

Leigh said...

What a great post! Well done. (I got here by following a link.)

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