HARRISBURG - Seven students from the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School, under the guidance of Spanish teacher Abigail Schrack, came away a place-winner at the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show on Wednesday.
"The Sugar Valley Shepherds" came in fourth place in the Fleece to Shawl competition at the fair.
During the school year the students prepared for the competition by learning about sheep, practicing spinning and weaving wool, and making beautiful end products like shawls and scarves. Most of the wool they are using has come from sheep that are being raised on the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School campus.
Melanie Jordan of the Sugar Valley Shepherds applies the finishing touches in the Youth Fleece to Shawl competition at the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
A favorite of many Pennsylvania Farm Show attendees, the fleece-to-shawl competition is a youth event where team members develop a design theme and build a display before arriving at the Farm Show Complex. The weaver prepared a "warp" ahead of time on the loom that incorporates the pattern and colors of the concept.
All of the shawls were sold at a special auction Wednesday with proceeds going to the charity of choice by the winning teams. The Sugar Valley team chose the Centre County animal rescue group PAWS as its charity. PAWS is a "non-euthanasia, member supported, volunteer enabled organization dedicated to the promotion of animal welfare and safety," according to its website.
The Bountiful Bobbins of Adams County won the sixth annual competition. Its shawl brought $1,000 which will be donated to the East Berlin 4-H Fiber Club. The shawl was purchased by the Mannings' family of Adams County.
The teams were evaluated by a panel of four judges, Terry Kunst, Kris Peters, Suzanne Fry and Susan Keslar Simpson. Teams were scored on their fleece, spinning, weaving, design and speed.