Fleece To Shawl Competition

Virtual competition for 2021!

The spirit of the Sheep-to-Shawl Competition has always originated from the collegiality of fiber artists gathering together and working toward a common goal–creating a beautiful, woven shawl from the fleece of a sheep. This year, because of the pandemic, we must do things differently than in the past. We still hope to, in a virtual setting, honor the creativity and enthusiasm this contest has always generated.

The changes we are making this year:

  • The competition will be Fleece-to-Shawl instead of Sheep-to-Shawl.
  • Each team will record their efforts in a video that will be posted on the Festival website.
  • The finished shawls will be sent in for judging. A video of the judging will also be posted.
  • There will be an online auction of the shawls.
Looking for competition results? Go to our 2021 Virtual Competition Results page!



Each team will consist of three spinners and one weaver.


Must be 100% wool. Raw fiber may be washed, but must remain in an obvious lock formation.


Each team will provide its own warped loom. The sett should be no less than 8 epi (1600 to 2000 yds/lb.). Natural colored or hand dyed warp may be used, but no commercially dyed wool will be allowed.


Hand carders and wool combs are allowed; drum carders are not. The weft yarn may be no thicker than 2 times the diameter of the warp end.

Shawl Design

Any weaving pattern may be used; however, the shawl must measure a minimum width of of 22 inches sleyed in the reed. The finished woven length must be 70 inches minimum, with a minimum 5 inch fringe on each end.


The contest is limited to three hours. Each spinner has three hours to spin, and the weaver has three hours to weave. The honor system will be in effect. Any finishing, such as fringe, which has traditionally been done by the whole team after the shawl is cut off the loom, but before it is submitted to the judges, may be done outside the allotted time.


The shawls will be auctioned off online. A link to the auction site will posted as soon as it is available. Bidding will open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 1 and close at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 2. Each team will receive the proceeds from the sale of their shawl less 10% given to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will be used to offset costs associated with moving the festival to a virtual format.


This scoring point system will be used:

Video (20 points)

  • A short record and explanation of each member’s contribution to the team. Suggested topics for discussion will be provided. Points awarded will not be based on technological skill.

Spinners (30 points)

  • Fleece selection – color, cleanliness, and hand, 10 points
  • Fleece preparation for spinning, 10 points
  • Uniformity of spinning – size and type of yarn produced, 10 points

Weaver (30 points)

  • Even selvedge, minimal draw-in, 10 points
  • Even beating, 10 points
  • No threading or treadling errors, 10 points

Finished Shawl (20 points)

  • Detail and difficulty of design, 10 points
  • Drapeability of shawl, 5 points
  • Color compatibility of warp and weft, 5 points

Deductions for measurements outside of standards:

  • Length, 5 points
  • Width, 5 points
  • Fringe, 5 points

Bonus Points

  • Handspun warp, 5 points
  • Plied weft yarn, 5 points


Teams will receive appropriate ribbons and proportional share of $1000 prize money.

Jane Hyland Memorial Award to the Best Spinning Team – $200

How to Enter

Contact Chris Gahs, with any questions or to register your team for the competition. There is a $20 registration fee.

Completed shawls and team videos must be received by April 16.

Warm up for the Festival with Winterfest!

Two days of virtual spinning, knitting, felting, and crochet classes on January 29 and 30, 2022.

Registration is now open!

Schedule of Events

Search schedule by:

Event Type


Next Sunday, as part of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Winterfest, we are pleased to offer a free keynote lecture entitled "The Cultural History of Natural Dyes" with Pat Brodowski. Mankind has desired colorful textiles for thousands of years. Color was highly valued and dye materials and techniques were often held secret. Pat shares the history from a European perspective: listen to the story of a secret 20 step formula for red – stolen by memorization; of the newest purple transported in the ballast of pirate ships; of the brilliant orange and magenta face paints taken by Spanish invaders, and of the young woman who created the indigo plantations of South Carolina. Find out which colors were common or royal, foraged or treasured. Your view of historic fashion will be changed forever. Pat's popular natural dyes workshops have been presented at Monticello, Montpelier, Common Ground on the Hill, and to local fiber arts groups. She is fascinated with the historic perspective on color in textiles and with all things botanical. Pat loves to share her knowledge of these things with others. This is a free virtual event. For more information and to register go to www.lessonface.com/apply/Cultural-History-Natural-Dyes.#mdsw2022winterfest ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
We still have spaces open in a few classes for next weekend's Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Winterfest -- Saturday, January 29 and Sunday, January 30, 2022. You can still sign up for:o Crocheted Lace with Kira Dulaneyo Correcting (and Avoiding) Knitting Mistakes with Kira Dulaney (5 spots left)o Needle Felted Snowman with Kristen Walsh (5 spots left)There will also be a free keynote lecture on Sunday, The Cultural History of Natural Dyes with Pat Brodowski. Preregistration is required.Register for #mdsw2022winterfest at www.lessonface.com/sheepandwool.Looking ahead to our in-person classes in May - the class listing should be up on our website in the next week or two, and registration will open on February 20. ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook