The seven members of the Moral Fiber Team worked together for the first time at the Lambtown Fiber Fiber on July 26, 2003, and it was sponsored by the home guild of most of the members, Spindles & Flyers. This contest was judged by the "King of Spinning," Alden Amos, author of The Big Book of Handspinning. Each team was permitted one flicker, three spinners, one plier, one weaver, and one floater for interaction with the public. From the time that the shearer finished shearing the Cotswold lambs, the teams had four hours and thirty minutes to finish their shawls.
This Sheep to Shawl contest was also used to promote interest in Cotswold sheep, and the teams were required to use a warp of 50% handspun Cotswold and a weft of 75% handspun Cotswold for the shawls. Each team pre-warped their loom with materials provided by Lambtown and handspun by team members. The sheep were washed thoroughly and dyed with vinegar and Kool-Aid the day before the contest. The coloured sheep were sheared at the opening of the contest.
Weave structures were left up to each team. Moral Fiber used a herringbone pattern with equal panels of large chevrons and tiny chevrons. The large chevrons were dark blue on one side and medium blue on the other (to make them look shaded), while the tiny chevrons were in white. The sheep was dyed with Strawberry Kiwi Kool-Aid, and 25% white angora was blended in for softness, so the weft was pink. Moral Fiber's shawl was 24"x72", in accordance with the Fiber Fair rules.
Judge Alden Amos found Moral Fiber's garment to have the best spinning and weaving among all the contestants. However, the Moral Fiber Team did not complete any finish work on the shawl and cut it off the loom only 60 seconds before time was called. Hence big deductions were taken for time, a critical element of the contest. For this reason, Moral Fiber was the third place team. A superb performance for a young team! On to the El Dorado County Harvest Festival in September...
Moral Fiber Team members:
|01 Poster||02 Denise hangs weights on loom||03 Laura, Denise, Bea||04 Laura's spindles from around the world||05 Presentation table (later)|
|06 Alfred setting up||07 Gary the sheep||08 Sheep||09 Dirty lambs||10 Kool-Aid dyed lambs|
|11 Shearing a lamb||12 Shearing another lamb||13 Naked lamb||14 Kool-Aid fleece piles||15 Kool-Aid fleece|
|16 Sorting fleece||17 Randy carding||18 Alfred carding, Bea and Rise spinning||19 Judith plying (back)||20 Judith plying (front)|
|21 Denise weaving||22 Laura explaining the drop spindle||23 Shearing sheep goes on all day||24 Removing shawl from loom||25 Removing nylon selvedge edge|
|26 Alden Amos judging||27 Alden Amos judging||28 Alden imparting his wisdom||29 Team Moral Fiber (clockwise: Alfred, Randy, Judith, Rise, Laura, Denise, Bea, Natalia, Karen)||30 Denise and Robin|
|31 Finding an error||32 Finished shawls||33 Distributing prizes||34 Denise loves prizes!||35 Denise with Stephanie Gaustad|
|36 Rise and Denise||37 Denise examining skein contest entries|
|Photos -- Preparation at home|
|38 Raw Cotswold fleece||39 Raw Cotswold locks||40 Washed Cotswold fleece||41 Locks after dying and carding||42 Practice shawl, on the loom|
|43 Practice shawl, close-up||44 Practice shawl, fresh off the loom||45 Practice shawl, complete|
|Movie Clips (requires QuickTime 5)|
|1 Denise weaving||2 Shearing a sheep|