Dressed in handkerchiefs and aprons, the Bountiful Bobbins were ready to weave on Wednesday.
The five-member team, composed of girls from York and Adams counties, assembled at the Pennsylvania Farm Show's seventh annual Fleece-to-Shawl youth competition on Wednesday.
In two hours and 22 minutes, the group transformed a pile of kinky fleece into a striking shawl, snagging several awards in the process.
The team earned first place overall for its finished product, a shawl inspired by the reds, oranges, greens and purples found in local farmers' markets.
Meredith Singleton, 14, of Spring Garden Township earned the Weaver's Award, and the team's three spinners also earned an award of excellence.
Teamwork: The five teams at the competition had three hours to transform their piles of fleece into warm wool shawls. In addition to the overall finished product, judges also examined how the fleece was prepared, as well as the uniformity and complexity of the woven thread.
For team spokeswoman Rachel Stoner, 17, of East Berlin, the team was successful because everybody worked together.
"I think it's probably the teamwork, like all aspects of life," she said.
Each team member has a specific job: The carder prepares the fleece, smoothing it out with a hairbrush-like tool; three spinners form yarn from the fleece; and the weaver uses a loom to lay the threads across a bed of colorful yarn.
"I think everybody worked together and that it looked really good," Stoner said.
Auction: Unlike the adult competitors, youth are not required to shear the sheep on site, said Tom Knisely, co-coordinator for the event.
The Bobbins used soft, crimpy Finnsheep wool from a silver ewe named Daisey.
The shawls are auctioned off at the Farm Show each year, he said. Judge Susan Kesler Simpson said she's seen them go for $200 to $3,000 at auction, and a common range is $500 to $1,000.
Proceeds will support the East Berlin 4-H Fiber Club, where the Bobbins are members.
"It's really neat to see these kids come together and work together as a team," Knisely said.
-- Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.