I received a lovely post today from Libby Beiler, weaver from team Time Warp (previously known as Carl and the Not So Lazy Kates), who will be competing this Wednesday in the Sheep To Shawl Contest I keep blathering on about. I emailed her right away, and was rewarded with an impromptu interview. Please enjoy the following, and be sure to click on the 2009 PA Farm Show tab to read the team’s bio as it appears in the S2S pamphlet (available at the event).
yarnyMarni: How long has your team been together, and how did you meet?
Libby Beiler: Our original team formed in the year 2002 under our old name “Carl and the Not So Lazy Kates”. Basically we met through word of mouth and lots of phone calls – I had been going to the S2S competition for several years as a spectator and finally decided I didn’t want to stand around and watch anymore – there wasn’t really a team in my area – our local spinners and weavers guild has a team that does demos at schools and fairs, but they don’t compete at the Farm Show. So I started talking with other fiber friends of mine, and slowly, we put our team together. We competed at the Farm Show event for the first time in 2003, and I’m happy to say, have won it twice – in 2005 and 2007.
yM: How do you train for S2S contests? How many contests do you enter each year? Do you have a favorite contest?
LB: We usually get together as a team at least 4 or 5 times during the year to practice and work out our shawl design for the next Farm Show competition. We have a couple of other competitions in our area – the one we like the most is the fleece to shawl competition (no sheep involved, just the wool) at the Troy Fair in July, in Troy, PA.
yM: When you’re not shearing/carding/spinning/weaving, what do you all do for a living?
LB: I am the owner of my own retail fiber arts shop here in Lewisburg. Spinner Ruth Ruch works at an educational toy store here in Lewisburg, spinner Ivy Allgeier teaches academically talented elementary school children, spinner Katie Watson (age 16) is a jr. in high school, carder Jeff Johnstonbaugh is a social worker, and shearer Carl Geisinger is a teacher at a Mennonite school.
yM: What kind of sheep are you shearing for the contest?
LB: This year, we are bringing a cute little black Shetland sheep named Eva. She is originally from a farm in Colorado, but came home with me in the back of my van in 2002 during a trip out west to visit my cousin in Denver.
yM: How do you decide on the shawl pattern you’re going to weave?
LB: That’s a difficult question – the weave pattern choice is based on lots of things – you want to choose an interesting and possibly even an original pattern that is intricate but not TOO difficult to execute during a competition situation. If you choose a really difficult and involved pattern that has a complicated or lengthy treadling sequence, you could get yourself in trouble because of the 2.5 hour time limit – when you have to stop weaving, you HAVE to stop! You don’t want to quit in the middle of a pattern repeat because your shawl will look unfinished and just plain incomplete. Draw-in is also a huge consideration – shawls must be a minimum of 22 inches in width off the loom – as you weave, your weft, or crosswise threads, pull your warp (lengthwise threads) in, and create what’s called draw-in. Different weave patterns create different amounts of draw-in, so you have to choose your pattern carefully. Last year, we used a pattern that created LOTS of draw-in – I had 29″ of width on my loom just to produce a 22″ wide shawl – don’t want to do THAT again!!!
yM: Please finish the following sentence: “If I wasn’t shearing/carding/spinning/weaving, I would…”
LB: “….be knitting in the winter, kayaking in the summer!”