Loyalhannon Spinners sweep sheep to shawl contest

The sheep to shawl team of Loyalhannon Spinners Guild took home four awards to sweep the competition at the 5th annual Sheep and Fiber Fest at Waynesburg, Pennsylvania Saturday May 17, 2008. The team received First Place as well as the Judges Award. Susan Rex of Apollo, Westmoreland County received the Best Weaver Award and Sandy Truckner of Avonmore, also Westmoreland County received the Best Spinner award. Joining Susan and Sandy on the team were Deb Hart of Latrobe, Westmoreland County as spinner, Nancy Solinger of Girty, Armstrong County as spinner, and Kathy ***, Scottdale, Westmoreland County as carder. Sherri McMahan of Brush Valley, Indiana County was the team alternate. Ralph Adamson of Greene County sheared the silver colored Romney sheep owned by Mary Lou Williams of Claysville.

Each team took the freshly shorn fleece of their sheep, carded the wool to loosen and straighten the fibers which the spinners spun into yarn. The weaver used the newly spun yarn to weave a shawl 24” wide and 80 inches long. Shawls were auctioned off at 2:30.

Remembering friends was the theme chosen by Loyalhannon Spinners for their shawl. Bonnie Meyer, a charter member of the guild and their first sheep to shawl team, lost a short courageous battle with cancer last year. Her favorite color, turquoise, was the dominant color of the shawl, and the team wore hand dyed matching tee shirts and turquoise beaded friendship bracelets. Bonnie’s flowing silver hair was always in evidence at previous competitions and a silver colored sheep was chosen to complete the color scheme of turquoise, mauve, and silver in the shawl.

Susan randomly added clear beads to the shawl as she wove it. The pattern chosen was a very regimented warp pattern called skip twill with a mathematical color arrangement because both are reminders of the complexity of friendships.

Loyalhannon Spinners received Reserve Champion at the Farm Show Sheep to Shawl Competition in Harrisburg last January. They will demonstrate the process of creating a shawl from a freshly shorn fleece Tuesday evening at the Westmoreland Fair this coming August.

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