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.

Proposals for 2022 Fiber Arts Seminars now being accepted

We are now accepting proposals for fiber arts seminars to be held in conjunction with the 49th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will take place in person on May 7 & 8, 2022 in West Friendship, Maryland. Many seminars will be held Wednesday-Friday of the week leading up to the festival; all seminars will be held in person. The Fiber Arts Seminar Committee invites instructors from every heritage, culture, belief system, and lifestyle to submit a proposal.

Submit your proposal(s) here.

The deadline to submit a proposal is July 15.…

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