Harrisburg - With the swift buzz of clippers over sheep wool, the Sheep-to-Shawl competition came to life at the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
Montour County's Time Warp team took first place with their "Pennsylvania woods" inspired piece. Team members include Carl Geissinger, Emily Kephart, Ivy Allgeier, Katherine Dashner, Libby Beiler and Jeff Johnstonbaugh.
Beiler said, "The theme of the piece was an idea that evolved over time and ended up being based on components of nature."
Time Warp previously won first place in the 2010 and 2009 competitions.
The competition for each team starts off with the fresh shearing of a sheep on the floor of the Small Arena. As soon as the sheep is sheared, the rest of the team quickly sweeps the fleece up and begins carding and spinning it out to be woven into the final masterpiece, a shawl.
Seven teams participated in the competition with each team consisting of six members. Each member is designated to a specific task of shearing, carding, spinning, or weaving the wool from the sheep shorn at the start of the competition. Teams are given two-and-a-half hours from the first shear on the sheep to completion of a shawl. The shawl for each team is colored and designed to meet the theme that each team has chosen.
Throughout the competition, judges wandered through the arena, noting the techniques used for carding, spinning, and weaving the wool by each team. Judges based their rating of each team based upon the following factors - shearing, fleece, design, spinning, weaving and speed.
Judges for the contest were Terry Kunst of Dauphin County, Cynthia Baker of Lancaster County, Suzanne Fry of Lebanon County and Susan Keslar Simpson of Montour County.
Team placings were as follows:
1st Place Grand Champion - Time Warp of Montour County
2nd Place Reserve Champion - Friends Thru Fiber of Franklin and Adams counties
3rd Place - Fort Freeland Flickers of Lycoming, Montour and Northumberland Counties
4th Place - Just a Little Twisted of Dauphin County
5th Place - Dream Weavers of Northumberland County
6th Place - Butler County Peddlers
7th Place - Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me of Dauphin County
Each beautifully designed shawl was auctioned off following the contest. Judge Cynthia Baker explained that this is a special part of the contest "because it shows you what kind of appreciation people have for these kinds of arts and for the dedication of each team."
Second place Friend's Thru Fiber's Civil War-inspired shawl reaped the highest price of $1,850, bought by Brian Blatt of Lebanon County. First place Time Warp's shawl sold to Agriculture Secretary George Greig for $1,300. Third place shawl sold to Brian Blatt of Lebanon County for $1,450. Fourth place shawl sold to Dale Kitner of Cumberland County for $1,000. Fifth place shawl sold to Kevin Ricker of Dauphin County for $950. Sixth place shawl sold to Joanne Myers of Bucks County for $700.
Other prizes included:
Champion Shearer Award - Carl Geissinger of Time Warp
Fleece Award -Just a Little Twisted
Team's Choice - Dream Weavers
Weaver's Award - Michelle Lushbaugh of Friends Thru Fiber
Premium Spinning Group Award - Darcy Maier, Jill Schooley, and Julie Shindle of Friends Thru Fiber
The 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 7-14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10. Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us for details.
For photos, click here.