Monday, 10 September 2012

Smith and Ewe at Sheep to Shawl Competition, Salmon Arm, BC Fall Fair 2012

My spinning group (the Thompson Treadlers) decided we were going to enter a Sheep to Shawl contest held during the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. In the past, this competition started with shearing of a sheep, handing the raw fleece to a team, to produce a wearable shawl within a time limit by spinning the yarn and weaving the garment. As the sight of blood from shear blade nicks, and the smell and appearance of freshly shorn fleece was not too popular with the general public, the rules of the competition changed.
The rules are now - 4 hours to complete a wearable shawl. Warp must be handspun but the loom may be pre-warped. Fleece for weft may be dyed, but cannot be prepared in any other way before the competition. Shawl must measure at least 16" wide x 60" long, excluding the fringe. Only a maximum of 10% of fibre weight may be a non-natural fibre.

So here we are, at our first competition. Left to right - Mary-Anne Smith (carding and spinning), Sue Northcott (spinning), Jen Wallace (spinning), Sharon Philip (spinning), Terry Prehara (spinning and plying) and in front Sheila Grant (designer and weaver). We are all decked out in matching shirts donated to us by Electrictree Yarns in Kamloops.
 The Artisan Hall was a beehive of activity (literally - there was also a beekeeper's display in the building).
 The Thompson Treadlers pictorial - and our drum carder ready to roll.
 The Kelowna team loom ready to start.
 Salmon Arm ready to go.
 Vernon team on their mark.
 And it is time to start. All members of the team teased out the dyed Romney fibre, and passed it on to be drum carded and blended. Our fleece was a grey Romney, dyed with fuchsia and turquoise together, and separate turquoise, and separate fuchsia, for colour blending with the addition of white Firestar for bling.

Everyone is hard at work -
teasing, drum carding, spinning and weaving.


During the lunch break, I got the chance to tour the fair grounds and take a few pictures.The Recycle Wagon must have worked because the grounds were spic and span clean.

The scarecrow patch.

Long lineups at the food carts, but mine was the best - a crepe filled with chicken, pesto sauce, onions, feta cheese and dill/ranch sauce.
                                                                           And Elvis was there too.

Some animals spotted on the fair grounds.
Above, the Kelowna shawl on the go.
This is our shawl, halfway done.

Vernon's shawl - halfway done.

Salmon Arm shawl, halfway done.

These are the colours we blended together to form our weft.

Sheila is doing a great job - she has never woven with pure wool before. Below, she is hem stitching the edge of the finished shawl.

And here goes - no turning back now!
The fringe is trimmed evenly.
The shawl is put in water to soak, relax the weaving, and full the fibres. We also gave it a rinse in Mane and Tail for softness.

We are FINISHED!! Our first ever Sheep to Shawl competition and we were a tired but happy bunch.

Gudrun Weisinger was the judge for the competition. She is a master weaver and excellent teacher. She spent considerable time going over all the shawls, and after giving out her constructive criticism and compliments, 1st place went to Kelowna, 2nd place went to Salmon Arm, and the Thompson Treadlers from Kamloops, BC were awarded 3rd place, with Vernon 4th.

Our team - already planning next year's challenge.


  1. I love your blog entry! It was a crazy fun experience and I'm looking forward to next year!

  2. Beautiful! wish I could have been there.