05 May 2008

Auction of the Shawls

These shawls were produced during the Sheep-to-Shawl competition in which each of eight teams must shear its sheep, hand card and comb the fleece, spin and then weave it into a shawl of predetermined dimensions within three hours. It’s great fun to watch. Although it is a timed event, the team members never seem nervous or anxious. There is $1000 in prize money at stake. Next year I’ll take photos of the teams working on the shawls. No just anybody (meaning me) can participate. This contest is serious business.

In previous years the shawls have been auctioned off for a lot of money, but this year they went for a paltry $100-200. Jane, the woman who used to run the auction, was a lively old auctioneer who could really get people to keep bidding higher (and was entertaining, to boot), but she died last year. People blamed her lackluster replacement for the low bidding and thought is was a real shame that such high quality shawls were sold for so little. I overheard one woman say, “She won’t be running the auction next year, I can assure you of that!”

Of course, those who were in the market for a hand-woven shawl (for Mother's Day next week) were thrilled at the rock-bottom prices.

I liked the pattern of the dark green shawl, but the rainbow-colored one was gorgeous. The earth-toned one can go with almost anything in one’s closet (dressy or casual) and the light green one was very appropriate for the spring season. There was a natural-colored one which I didn’t get to photograph which was quite pretty, but one had to see it up close to appreciate its beauty.

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