Thank you Celeste Percy for giving us a glimpse inside of the Black Sheep Gathering festival Sheep to Shawl Contest!
Each July in rural Oregon, Black Sheep Gathering brings together fiber enthusiasts, ranchers, farmers, and festival goers for a weekend. There are sheep and Angora goat shows, arts and yarn shows, and even fleece shows. One of the most compelling is the Sheep to Shawl contest. Celeste runs the content, and talked us through how it works.
Five spinners and one weaver in each team of the Sheep to Shawl content work together to create a 1,440 square inch (or larger) woven shawl within five hours. Spinners start with washed, unprocessed fleece which is spin for the weaver to immediately incorporate into their warped and tied loom. You can imagine the tension as the weaver waits for the freshly spun wool.
One of the rules of the finished shawl is that there may be no "white" colored yarn used. Participants use the un-dyed, natural wool spun during the contest and other yarn of their choosing that meets the fiber content requirements.
Of course, everything must only be done by hand. The only electrical equipment allowed by each team is a personal light if needed.
Participants are invited to the Black Sheep Fiber closing night potluck dinner and to model their masterpieces at the animal show.
Have you been to Black Sheep Gathering or even participated in Sheep to Shawl? Be sure to visit the festival this July 4th weekend, July 5-7 at the Linn County Expo Center in Albany, Oregon. Puddletown Knitters Guild will be there the 6th and 7th with project bag patterns to give away.
Thank you again, Celeste!