2012 PA Farm Show


The 2012 PA Farm Show officially ended yesterday… where have I been for the last 2 days?  Nursing one of the worst headaches I’ve ever had – it lasted 3 days, and no amount of medication made it any better.  So here are a couple of press releases I missed while I was recuperating:



I hope y’all will forgive me for not posting press releases yesterday… was a little busy… so here they are:


As promised, I waited until today to post the shawl descriptions of the Fleece and Sheep To Shawl teams.  Here they are:


Treadling Lambs and a Ram:  “Tina’s Hope”
We are dedicating our shawl in honor and thanks to one of our dear mentors, Tina, as she has been battling cancer this year.  Our shawl is handspun from “Marshmallow,” owned by Julie Stallman, Manheim, PA, whose fleece is sumptuously soft.  The warp is handspun and hand dyed in a variety of colors to represent the official colors of bladder cancer awareness.  The overall weaving creates a rich and luxurious wrap to comfort the wearer.  As a team we have decided to donate all proceeds from the sale of the shawl to cancer charities.

4-H Wooly Workers of Lebanon County:  “Breakfast in Bed”
A delicious combination of bacon, eggs, and waffles with whipped cream and berries, all served on a green platter!  This is a weaver’s joke – what better way to weave this breakfast than with a classic waffle weave!  We dyed and spun the warp from a Blue-Faced Leicester from Goodpaster Farm in Palmyra, PA.  The colors and textures in the shawl are evocative of the food they represent, including an order of bacon “on the side.”  We are grateful for the bounty of the land and the richness of our lives.

Bountiful Bobbins:  “Under the Deep Blue Sea”
Our shawl this year is inspired by the natural beauty of our earth’s oceans and seas.  The colors we chose are expressions of the deepest depths of the oceans, the blues and greens of the tropics, and the icy hues of the polar seas.  Our threading pattern is a twill (Wall of Troy) which was selected to represent the waves.

Surfin’ Ewe S. A.:  “Safari”
Working together, the team has decided that Surfin’ Ewe S.A. will be traveling to Africa and their shawl will represent an African Safari theme.  Their shawl will be a representation of a safari.  The fleece they will be using has come from the Leicester Longwool stock of adult team leader, Ashley Shaw.  The roving used for the warp has also come from Ashley’s Leicester Longwool which the team hand spun and hand dyed.  The team worked diligently to hand-spin the warp and ply it together; and then they carefully hand-painted the warp.  For the weft, they are using the carded Leicester Longwool fleece to create both the practice shawl and the competition shawl.  The team will be donating proceeds from the sale of the shawl back to the 4-H club.

The Fibering Five:  “Mardi Gras”
For their shawl, the team will be using a Pennsylvania commercial Merino wool yarn for the warp, which they hand-painted to represent the festive Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold.  The team will be using a lovely Pennsylvania fleece from a Blue Faced Leicester sheep for the weft.  Proceeds from the sale of their shawl will be donated to the club to purchase additional equipment for other members.

Sugar Valley Shepherds:  “Superheroes”
We are using commercial Harrisville Highland yarn for our warp in bright colors to represent famous superheroes.  We are weaving a twill, symbolizing our capes rippling in the wind as we card, spin, and weave at superhuman speed.


Fort Freeland Flickers:  “Blue Butterfly”
This year the theme for our shawl was inspired by the Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly.  It is a native breed to Pennsylvania.  We dyed the warp in shades of blue, green, and violet, and added some black and white, and just a hint of red to match the colors of this beautiful butterfly.  The pattern we are using is actually a combination of three twill patterns that we modified to resemble the patterns on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Time Warp:  “A Walk in the Woods:  A Pennsylvania Palindrome”
The colors of the flora and fauna in our state’s forests have provided the backdrop for creating our shawl, as well as a natural phenomenon called the fractal.  The branch of a fern plant is a good example of a natural fractal.  Growing out of the stalk of the branch are leaflets that have the same shape as the branch.  In turn, each leaflet is made up of smaller leaflets that have the same shape as the larger ones.  This characteristic of similar structures at different scales is referred to as self-similarity.  Rivers, coral, trees, lightning… are all branching fractal structures.  It is this principle of self-similarity that has been applied to the dyeing technique used to create the undulating colors of our warp – a palindrome, which is a sequence of colors that “read” the same in either direction… a mirror image, or self-similarity.

Our weave pattern is a textured weave, designed to enhance and accentuate the colors in the warp threads.  Our dark moorit weft will be provided by “Donovan”, a one year old Lincoln/Corriedale wether.

Just A Little Twisted:  “Spring Garden”
The team has hand-painted the warp to achieve the color scheme for their inspiration, Spring Garden.  Using beautiful shades of pink, purple, yellow, and green, we will be mimicking the breathtaking view of all the vibrant colors of spring landscapes.  The shawl will be woven together using a lustrous white fleece and twill pattern.  Profits from the shawl will be donated to the Jonestown Community Park in memory of Brigadier General Richard H. Houser, team member Deb Bishop’s father.

Butler County Pedalers:  “Moonshine”
The fleeces for the warp come from the sheep of one of our very own guild members, allowing us to be locally sourced from Butler County.  Our warp is made from eleven fleeces.  Each fleece was chosen for its color – when combined side by side in the warp, it will have color and variation built in naturally.  Each fleece was washed, combed or carded and spun by hand by the members of the team to show off the natural beauty of the wool and to create a unique shawl.

Friends Thru Fiber:  “Gettysburg Battle Commemorative Shawl”
Any lady, Union or Confederate, will be honored to wear this shawl to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  This battle, as all Civil War battles, pitted brother against brother in a bitter fight to determine if our Union would stand or divide.  In modified broken twill, the red, white, and blue border reminds us of both the flags of the North and South; the gray and blue bands on either side represent the Union and Confederate armies.  The brown depicts the stack-rail worm fencing that stands throughout Gettysburg National Park, where brave soldiers fought and died for their cause.  The variegated earth tones in the center of the shawl represent the battlefield itself.  It is a name-drafted pattern that takes the word GETTYSBURG and translates it into a one of a kind weave.  All our warp threads are hand spun and dyed with commercial dyes.  The weft is a Corriedale sheep from the flock of team member Joyce Mellott.

Dream Weavers:  “Pennsylvania Brook Trout”
Our shawl represents the native Pennsylvania Brook Trout.  Notice the flash of color as the elusive brook trout slips quietly through the gurgling stream.  The twill weaving pattern gives a rippling appearance that resembles the ripples in the stream.  The highlight of this shawl is the delicate hand-spun boucle used to convey the appearance of bubbles in the water.  The 100% Shetland wool warp was hand-spun and hand-dyed by team members.  We are weaving today with the fleece from a Shetland sheep from the flock at Pairodox Farm, Jersey Shore, PA.  All proceeds from the sale of this shawl will be donated to Todd and Jesse Bixler.  They are a father and son from a farm near Turbotville, PA (Northumberland County) who were both badly burned in a farming accident in August.

Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me:  “Diamond”
Our shawl will be a diamond twill pattern of light blue, light green, dark grey, dusty rose, and white.  The hand spun blue and green will create a focal point in the center of the diamond pattern as well as balance the edge.  We will be using the fleece from a white Border Leceister yearling ewe.
Looking for more team info?  Scroll down to January 3rd – it’s all there.



Very excited… tonight will be yarnyMarni Family Farm Show Night, when my husband, daughter and I brave the throngs of Square Dance Competition attendees to stand in line for our annual milkshakes.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but strangely, it is.  Especially if you’ve tasted said milkshakes.

Meanwhile… did you know you can follow Farm Show news and observations via Twitter?  Just search for #farmshow, and see if you don’t melt over the pictures of newborn chicks…

… and here are some late-breaking press releases:


The press releases are flying…


One new Farm Show link for you today:  a slideshow, courtesy of WGAL News 8.


I cannot believe how long it took me to post the Sugar Valley Shepherds interview yesterday – 6 hours.  It went live just after midnight.  My apologies to everyone who was waiting for it… the good news is, I now know more about editing mp3 files than my husband.

  • Check out this link to see and read about The Butter Sculpture, which was unveiled last night… !
  • Farm Show exhibits readied for Saturday” – more info from intrepid reporter and friend Mary Wilson.
  • Ok, this might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s craft-related, and I’m all about the crafts this week… particularly if they’re showcased at The Farm Show.  On Sunday, WITF, our local PBS station, is airing Part 1 of a 9-part series called Why Quilts Matter.  It sounds really fascinating… read more about it here.


  • Courtesy of the excellent politics blog Capitol Ideas, here’s some highly-anticipated Farm Show news:
    “The annual PA Farm Show Butter Sculpture is unveiled during a 6 pm ceremony this evening.  The annual Capitol IdeasToastapalooza” begins at the conclusion of the unveiling ceremony.  Bring your own butter knives.  Bagels and bread will be provided.”
  • Read this Farm Show article from pennlive.com, especially if you’re new to all this Farm Show stuff.


So, I bet you’re wondering, “Who’s competing in this year’s Fleece and Sheep To Shawl events?  And who’s judging it?  And what the heck is a Sheep To Shawl contest, anyway???”  Wonder no more:  courtesy of contest organizer Joanne Evans, here are the teams, the judges, and all-things Sheep To Shawl-y:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012  Schedule Of Events:

5th Youth Fleece to Shawl Competition

  • 10:00 am:  Official Start of the Contest
    Judging of the Fleeces
    Spinning and Weaving Begins
  • 11:00 am:  Question and Answer Time
  • 1:00 pm:  Judging of the Shawls
  • 1:30 pm:  Presentation of Awards by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, George Greig

33rd Sheep to Shawl Competition
  • 3:00 pm:  Official Start of the Contest
    Shearing of the Sheep
    Judging of the Shearing and Fleeces
  • 5:30PM  Conclusion of the Contest
    Judging of the Shawl
  • 6:00 PM  Presentation of Awards by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, George Greig
Judging Criteria:
Sheep to Shawl means just that – a shawl created from the wool shorn from a sheep, spun into yarn and woven into the finished garment.  Each team is comprised of a shearer, three spinners, a carder and a weaver.  The judging is broken down into the following categories:
Shearing:  The shearer is judged on even shearing, uniformity, and lack of second cuts (shorter lengths of wool).
Fleece:  Cleanliness, condition of fleece, luster and crimp.
Spinning:  Spinners are judged on their individual spinning as well as how their spinning relates to the design of the shawl.  The members try to spin very evenly to produce a uniform team product.
Weaving:  The judges will look for evenness in the weaving, checking closely for errors.  The selvage edges are examined for evenness and lack of pull-in.  The finished shawl must measure at least 22 inches wide and 78 inches long or points are deducted from the score.
Design:  The design and appearance of the finished shawl counts for a large percentage of each team’s score.  Judges look for originality in design, difficulty of weave, color coordination between warp and weft, softness and “drape-ability”, and execution of the finished fringe.
Speed:  The teams are awarded a bonus for finishing their shawl first, second, third, etc.  Speed combined with quality is the goal of each team.

The Judges:
Terry Kunst:
From Central Pennsylvania, Terry Kunst of Twin Ponds Fiber Farm, began her fiber adventure in 1994 with two Angora goats….adding over the years to build a herd of White Angora Goats, Giant and Giant hybrid Angora Rabbits, and hand spinning sheep including Border Leicester, Finn, Lincoln,  Merino/Rambouillet, Teeswater, and Tunis…inspiration is never in short supply.  In addition to fleeces, mohair, and Angora rabbit hair, she creates roving blends, unique handspun yarns and hand-dyed yarns, hand knit one-of-a-kind garments, as well as “It’s Knit to Be Square¤” knitting needles.  When not caring for the many animals on the farm, you’ll find Terry washing & dyeing, spinning, and never without a pair of knitting needles!
Cynthia Baker:
Cynthia has been weaving since 1996 when she began work at the Textile Barn at the Landis Valley Museum.  Her mission is to create one-of-a kind, affordable, handcrafted items ranging from fashionable scarves and shawls to runners for heirloom furniture.  A member of the PA Guild of Craftsmen, Cynthia has a studio on Willow Street and can often be found at local Arts and Crafts shows.
Suzanne Fry:
Sue is a former Quality Control Supervisor, whose fiber journey started over 11 years ago.  Sue weaves, mostly with her own hand-spun wool.  Sue has competed in many Sheep to Shawl competitions throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states.  She finds such competitions to be not only a great educational tool for competitor and observer, but a showcase for cooperation, enjoyment, and advancement of the fiber arts!
Susan Keslar Simpson:
Susan has been weaving for 12 years, having taught a design class at the University of Nebraska and in the Art Department at Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of the Susquehanna Valley Spinner and Weavers Guild and the Spins and Needles Fiber Guild.  Susan enjoys working with a variety of fibers and particularly likes playing with color and texture in her textile projects.


Treadling Lambs and a Ram

… from Lancaster & Dauphin Counties:
Julia Angelo – Carder
Cathy Turner – Spinner
Irina Lawrence – Spinner
Erin Clarkin – Spinner
Alex Norris – Weaver
Tejal Lawrence – Alternate

Treadling Lambs and a Ram consist of Irina Lawrence, an active spinner, knitter and designer.  She raises fiber rabbits as well as fiber sheep.  Cathy Turner recently learned to spin and is unstoppable.  She is often found demonstrating this skill at the PA Renaissance Fair.  Erin Clarkin has also been bitten by the spinning bug and can regularly be found at Flying Fibers where she spins her heart out.  Alex Norris has been weaving for approximately four years now and can be seen throughout the region demonstrating and sharing his woven products with the public.  Julia Angelo is our carder.  She is an active knitter who enjoys many aspects of the arts.  This team of teens is passionate about the fiber arts and they enjoy sharing their talents with their communities.

4-H Wooly Workers of Lebanon County

… from Lebanon County
Hannah Scannel – Carder
Amanda Border – Spinner
Miriam Villanueva – Spinner
Lizzy Ann Villanueva – Spinner
Angela Villanueva – Weaver
Luciano Abbarno – Alternate

The Wooly Workers Team members are all in the Fiber Arts Club of the Lebanon County 4-H.  This is a particularly exciting year for us because we are introducing new team members to the Farm Show.  Amanda Border (spinner) and Hannah Scannell (carder) have joined the team after years of being our cheerleaders.  Welcome!  Our seasoned veterans, Angela Villanueva (weaver), Lizzy Anne Villanueva (spinner), Miriam Villanueva (spinner), and Luciano Abbarno (alternate) are looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new friends.  Each member has taken a role in dyeing, spinning, and warping the loom for the competition.  The group continues to enjoy community outreach, and has done almost a dozen events this past year in which they were either in a competition or demonstrating and teaching a wide range of fiber arts.

Bountiful Bobbins

… from Adams County
Meredith Singleon – Carder
Rachel Stoner – Spinner
Dorothy Marquet – Spinner
Nicole Bankert – Spinner
Leah Martin – Weaver
Miriam Shea – Alternate

The Bountiful Bobbins are part of the East Berlin 4-H Fiber Club.  This is their third year competing at the Farm Show.  The members include team captain Rachel Stoner.  Rachel is a third year competitor who hails from a dairy farm.  Besides spinning she enjoys playing the guitar, basketball and going to church.  Dorothy Marquet, a third year spinner, plays the flute and the piano and is athletically inclined toward running and swimming.  Leah Martin is adding her weaving talent to the team for the third year.  In addition to fiber arts, Leah dances and plays five musical instruments.  Nicole Bankert, spinner, has been on the team for three years.  She is involved in FFA and has been in 4-H since the sixth grade.  New to the team is Miriam Shea, alternate, and Meredith Singleton, carder.  Miriam is very active in 4-H and enjoys the Shooting Club in addition to the Fiber Club.  Meredith has a love of music and is active in the Alpaca Club.

Surfin’ Ewe S. A.

… from Dauphin County
Rhianna Flemming – Carder
Matthew Bishop – Spinner
Hailey Wolfe – Spinner
Madison Shaw – Spinner
Lia Schmittel – Weaver

Team Surfin’ Ewe S. A. is made up of a group of kids who have come to know each other through their love of 4-H.  All of the members are enrolled through Dauphin County in the Tri-County 4-H Fiber Artists Club.  The team captain, Lia Schmittel, is making her debut as a weaver in the fleece to shawl.  Last year, Lia served as the team carder.  Filling that spot this year is Rhianna Flemming, who has also been working hard on her weaving, spinning, and carding skills.  Matthew Bishop is in his second year competing in the fleece to shawl and will be filling the role of spinner again this year.  Madison Shaw is in her second year as a spinner joined by Hailey Wolfe, who will compete for her first year, completing the spinning trio.  The team has been diligently working, practicing their spinning and weaving at various fairs and events over the past few months.  All the members have several years of combined 4-H participation and experiences.

The Fibering Five

… from Dauphin County
Tyler Shaw – Carder
Alexandra Fries – Spinner
Cheryl Chuba – Spinner
Chloe Powell – Spinner
Jennifer Bauer – Weaver

The Fibering Five is a team of young people who have come together through fiber.  Team captain Alexandra Fries began her fiber quest learning spinning on a drop spindle.  She has since begun using the spinning wheel and looks forward to competing in the competition for the first time.  Cheryl Chuba is also relatively new to spinning.  Also learning on the drop spindle, Cheryl quickly moved to the spinning wheel and even confiscated her mom’s Christmas present, now calling the wheel her own.  Chloe Powell has come to the team and will be plying for her first time in the competition.  She has enjoyed learning the whole process and is looking forward to many events to come with her team.  Jennifer Bauer has been working hard learning weaving for over three years and has experienced the PA Farm Show Fleece to Shawl event as a carder as well as the Mannings Handweaving School Annual Spinning Seminar Fleece to Shawl as a weaver.  Tyler Shaw is the newest team member and will serve as the team’s carder.  His experience comes from working with the many fiber animals on his family’s farmette.  The team has enjoyed participating in several events this year including the Farm City Days and Dauphin Heritage Days.

Sugar Valley Shepherds

… from Clinton County
Carlyle Rell – Carder
Shanin Butler – Spinner
Leah Miller – Spinner
Matthew Spangler – Spinner
David McFeely – Weaver
Destiny Marshall – Alternate

Faster than a speeding bullet!  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!  Our team, the Sugar Valley Shepherds, is the result of a high school social studies class established in 2010 at Sugar Valley Rural Charter School in Loganton, Clinton County, PA.  This year as a team of superheroes, our goal is to work hard to make a super shawl at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  We will send all of the proceeds from the auction of our shawl to the Bixler family, who suffer from burns as a result of a farm accident.  The father and son are local community members who have a long road to recovery, and though we are not real superheroes, we hope to lift their spirits with our efforts today.


Fort Freeland Flickers

… from Lycoming/Montour/Northumberland Counties
Todd Kreger – Shearer
Megan Webster – Spinner
Jamie Rode – Spinner
Erin Webster – Spinner
Emma Olshefski – Weaver
David Weaver – Carder

The Fort Freeland Flickers takes its name from a local historical fort from the Revolutionary War.  We work as apprentices for the local heritage society, demonstrating various crafts and trades of the period.  The members of our team are from North Central Pennsylvania.  Our sheep is a purebred black Romney named “Carter”, who is from a farm in Danville, Pennsylvania.

Time Warp

…from Montour County
Carl Geissinger – Shearer
Emily Kephart – Spinner
Ivy Allgeier – Spinner
Katherine Dashner – Spinner
Libby Beiler – Weaver
Jeff Johnstonbaugh – Carder

Time Warp returns for its 10th consecutive year of competition. Representing Montour County, our team members bring tremendous diversity and talent to the annual Farm Show Sheep to Shawl event.  Our three spinners are:  Ivy Allgeier – a teacher, knitter, and recently a student of the ukulele; Katherine Dashner – a knitter, weaver, and a technical writer for Woolrich, Inc.; and Emily Kephart – spinner, fiber enthusiast, and newest member of the team.  Jeff Johnstonbaugh, our carder, brings years of fiber experience to our group.  Our extremely talented shearer, Carl Geissinger, returns this year.  Weaving for the team is Libby Beiler, long time knitter, spinner, weaver, and keeper of sheep.  As always, our team’s goal is to produce a high quality “one of a kind” shawl.

Just a Little Twisted

… from Dauphin County
Nathan Good – Shearer
Angie Shaw – Spinner
Deb Winslow – Spinner
Deb Bishop – Spinner
Ashley Shaw – Weaver
Deb Schmittel – Carder

For the first time, Just a Little Twisted will be competing in the Pennsylvania Sheep to Shawl.  The team members consist of Ashley Shaw, who will serve as team weaver.  Ashley has competed in the youth event for three years and looks forward to competing in the adult competition with fellow team members Angie Shaw (Ashley’s mom), Deb Winslow, and Deb Bishop, the spinning trio.  Our carder this year will be Deb Schmittel.  Shearing his sister’s Leicester Longwool sheep named “Paddle” will be Tyler Shaw.

Butler County Pedalers

… from Butler County
Megan Gutekunst – Shearer
Linda Gross – Spinner
Wini Labrecque – Spinner
Dawson Dibbern – Spinner
Donna Fike – Weaver
Marcia Dibbern – Carder

The Butler County Pedalers represent the Butler County Spinners and Weavers Guild in Western Pennsylvania.  Each member developed their own talents through a variety of experiences and practices and are combining their efforts to create a masterpiece shawl.  Our guild has been in existence for 29 years.

Friends Thru Fiber

… from Franklin and Adams Counties
Dan Dailey – Shearer
Darcy Maier – Spinner
Jill Schooley – Spinner
Julie Shindle – Spinner
Michelle Lushbaugh – Weaver
Joyce Mellott – Carder

Friends thru Fiber have worked as a team since the summer of 2008.  We take every opportunity to demonstrate our love for the fiber arts in our community and to educate the public.  In addition to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, in 2010 we competed in the first MAPACA Fleece to Shawl competition, and for our third time we competed in the Maryland Sheep to Shawl competition.  Our practices are often in public, at various events throughout Franklin County.  We demonstrated at the Twin Bridges Antique Tractor Festival, National Alpaca Farm Days weekend, Conococheague Institute’s Colonial Fair & Muster, and the Blue Ridge Summit Book Sale event.

Dream Weavers

… from Northumberland County
Jack Smith – Shearer
Abby Schrack – Spinner
Carol Chaapel – Spinner
Joanna Smith – Spinner
Francie Appleman -Weaver
Wayne Appleman – Carder

This team came together around a youth fleece-to-shawl team who looked like they were having so much fun – it was irresistible to join them.  It is comprised of people whose dream is to create beautiful and useful textiles from scratch and who take the phrase “in your dreams!” as a challenge to master new accomplishments.  Our team members live in Clinton and Northumberland Counties in North-Central Pennsylvania.

Two Rams Two Lambs Ewe & Me

… from Dauphin County
Marty Gutekunst – Shearer
Robert Zarrano – Spinner
Paul Cury – Spinner
Michele Cury – Spinner
Christine Flanagan – Weaver
Mandi Hurley – Carder

Two Rams, Two Lambs, Ewe & Me will start the competition with their experienced sheep shearer, Marty Guteknust.  Mandi Hurley will step in next as a first time member to card the fleece for the spinning trio of Robert Zarrano and Paul and Michele Cury.  Robert is a veteran to the sheep to shawl arena and although he will be spinning today, he is in the process of learning to weave.  Paul is also an accomplished spinner, who began the art so that his wife, Michelle, would have something to knit with.  For the first time, Michelle will be joining the team in competition.  Her other passion is knitting as she competes with her projects at various events, and also teaches knitting.  Finally, Christine Flanagan will bring all of the hard work together as she weaves the shawl.  Christine brings nine years of weaving experience to the team.

2 responses to “2012 PA Farm Show

  1. Rona Gertz

    Great blog, Marni!
    Makes me want to learn to spin!

  2. Rona Gertz

    I love your blog.
    I can’t wait until I can attend in person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s