Practice Makes Perfect: Preparing for sheep to shawl
|Team members practice at the Bakery Emporium. Photos courtesy of Laura Barrett-Oliver.|
Sheep to Shawl competitions are a test of skill and speed, but planning and preparing for the competition often involves many more details. Members of the Five Sisters Spinning Guild (Oklahoma) gathered at the Bakery Emporium in Lawton, OK, last Saturday to begin forming their competition strategy for the Sheep to Shawl contest at the Oklahoma State Fair. Team coordinator Laura Barrett-Oliver shared, "Well, we thought we had a plan. It was to sit down to process roving, spin yarn, and see how long it would take us to make a scarf! Instead, our first order of business was to pick out our shirts, create a buddy system, figure out driving directions to the fair, agree on the weight of yarn to spin, etc." Having to manage so many details surrounding the competition can prevent some spinners from participating in team spinning events, but Laura and her friends were soon ready for a carding, spinning, and weaving practice run. Laura said that team weaver, Kimberly, was able weave about six inches of the scarf in fifteen minutes on her Baby Wolf loom. She wove samples of each spinner's handspun to see how similar they are to one another. The day's results are in: everyone is on target with carders, spinners and weaver working in unison. Oklahoma State Fair, here they come!
Laura Barrett-Oliver—coordinator, carder
Laura shares a bit about the team:
"Kimberly Lewis has been spinning and weaving over fifteen years. She spins on an Ashford Joy and Schacht double treadle. Laura Wijkowski has been spinning ten years and has recently started weaving. Her wheel is a Louet Victoria. Amy is the newest spinner on the team—she started spinning with a drop spindle last September. In February, she bought a Majacraft Suzie Pro. Our carders are Linda and Tamara. Linda is the owner of LaSona Dora Alpacas. Her alpaca male Loco's fleece will be the fiber for the team. Tamara is another new spinner, and loves carding."
Laura Barrett-Oliver started spinning with a drop spindle in Washington D.C. in 2008. She says that one of her first spindles was a Journey Wheel Moosie—a great beginning! She didn't begin spinning on a wheel until she made friends with an Ashford Kiwi in Lawton.