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Harrisburg - Members of the "Treadling Lambs & a Ram" 4-H fleece to shawl team were filled with excitement as they won the fourth annual Youth Fleece to Shawl competition with a breast cancer awareness shawl on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

The winning team included Alex Norris, a Dauphin County 4-H member; and Lancaster County 4-H members Erin Clarkin, Catherine Turner, Irina Lawrence and Julia Angelo.

"This is our first time winning," said Lawrence. "We screamed and I started crying when we found out we won. We are so excited!"

Their winning shawl, themed "Wrapped in Hope," was handspun from Blue Faced Leicester wool from a sheep raised by Nick Wenger, a Lebanon County 4-Her. The team handspun and hand dyed all the warp fibers in a variety of pinks to represent the official colors of breast cancer awareness campaigns.

Six teams competed this year for the championship title, the most entrants since the contest began. Other group shawls were crafted around beach, tie-dye, America, fall and autism awareness themes.

"We are really proud how much this contest has grown since it started four years ago," said Tom Knisely, a coordinator for the Fleece to Shawl event. "All of the teams here are really good. Most of the youth practice all year long, participating in other competitions."

Judges for the event were Ben Bow, Cynthia Baker, Kris Peters and Susan Withnell, who looked at fleece presentation, suitability, spinning, weaving and design.

Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding was present to congratulate the winners. Anna Stoner, 2011 Pennsylvania Lamb and Wool Princess from Gettysburg, Adams County, modeled shawls throughout the event and assisted in handing out awards. 

David Smith of Williamstown, Dauphin County, purchased the first place shawl for $650 at a Wednesday night auction. All proceeds from the sale of the shawl will go to breast cancer awareness charities.

Contest Results:
1st- Treadling Lambs & a Ram, Lancaster and Dauphin counties
2nd- Surfin' Ewe S. A., Dauphin Co.
3rd- Bountiful Bobbins, Adam Co.
4th- Warrior Run Weavers, Notherumberland Co.
5th- Wooly Workers, Lebanon Co.
6th- Sugar Valley Shepards, Clinton Co.

Other Awards:
Fleece Award - Treadling Lambs & a Ram
Team's Choice Award - Wooly Workers
Weaver's Award - Alex Norris, Treadling Lambs & a Ram
Premium Spinners Award - Rachel Stoner, Dorothy Marquet and Leah Martin (Bountiful Bobbins)

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 209 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10. Visit for details.

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For photos of the event, click here.