Francie Appleman, weaver from new team Locks to Loom, was another good sport and provided me with an interview. For your reading enjoyment:
yarnyMarni: How long has your team been together, and how did you meet?
Francie Appleman: Our team is composed of parents/friends/mentors of the youth fleece to shawl team, the Fort Freeland Flickers. We’ve been together as a team since July 2008, when we were taking the kids’ team to the Troy Fair to compete, and we thought since we had to be there all day, we might as well try to make a shawl. We asked to set up as a demo while they were competing, but there was only one other team so they included us in the contest. Most of us are related: husband/wife (Francie and Wayne Appleman), sister (Carol Chaapel), daughter (Abby Appleman), our shearer Jack we’ve known for years thru the local ag store, and we met Joanna when we were sheep-shopping.
yM: How do you train for S2S contests? How many contests do you enter each year? Do you have a favorite contest?
FA: We have only entered one contest, the Troy Fair Fleece to Shawl. We practiced on Sunday afternoons in the kitchen. We think the premier event is the PA Farm Show, so we are so excited to be able to participate! We come with a different mind-set than most: we think it is fun to just be there! We know our skills are not as polished as a lot of the competitors, many of whom do this as their careers.
yM: When you’re not shearing/carding/spinning/weaving, what do you all do for a living?
FA: Carol is an elementary reading teacher, Abby teaches middle and high school social studies and Spanish. Jack works for the local ag center and consults on animal husbandry, Wayne farms and works in construction, Joanna runs a publishing company and farms with her husband raising pigs, sheep and cattle (Pairodox Farms), and I’m a nurse practitioner at a local hospital.
yM: What kind of sheep are you shearing for the contest?
FA: We are shearing Charity, one of Joanna’s Shetland Ewes, who has a beautiful fluffy light gray fleece. Interestingly enough, we are donating the proceeds from our sale to a local kids camp, so how appropriate that we are using Charity’s fleece! (originally, we picked a lamb and named her Diamond for the contest, but she has started rubbing her fleece off and looks kind of shoddy, so we went with plan B: Charity!)
yM: How do you decide on the shawl pattern you’re going to weave?
FA: We picked our pattern because we wanted to do something based on local heritage, and coal mining is the legacy of Northumberland County where we live. So, we chose the diamond pattern thinking that both coal and diamonds are based on carbon, and we picked a black fleece for the warp and are using a light gray fleece for the weft to really highlight the diamond pattern. It does involve some counting, so the weaver will have to really concentrate during the contest.
yM: Please finish the following sentence: “If I wasn’t shearing/ carding/spinning/weaving, I would…”
FA: If I wasn’t spinning or weaving, I would be playing with the world’s cutest grandsons: Chase and Grady Hope!