Wyo Wool Growers Auxiliary hosts 2017 Make It With Wool Contest in Casper
Casper – The Wyoming Make It With Wool (MIWW) state contest has drawn crowds for over 70 years and was held during the 2017 opening luncheon of the Wyoming Natural Resources Rendezvous (WNRR) on Nov. 27 at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center.
“The contest promotes wool fabrics and yarn, and it’s a sewing competition where contestants can show off their sewing skills, tailoring skills, creativity and other techniques when making wool outfits,” stated MIWW Director Lynda Johnson.
Contestants are required to construct, knit or crochet their outfits from at least 60 percent wool fabric or yarn. Then in October and November, contestants compete in district competitions across Wyoming.
“Over 60 contestants participated in the district contests in 2017, and the district winners moved on to the state competition. A total of 15 contestants competed in the state competition this year, ” commented Johnson.
Contestants from across Wyoming created unique dresses, coats, jackets and more in the Junior, Senior and Adult Divisions and modeled them during the WNRR opening luncheon.
“Division winners receive cash awards and prizes donated by businesses, ranchers and others. All the contestants receive 2.5-yard lengths of Pendleton wool fabric, donated by the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA) Auxiliary,” stated Johnson.
In the Junior Division, there were seven young ladies, ages 13-16, who participated at the state level.
First place was given to Sydney Downare of Buffalo, who created and modeled a wine- and ivory-colored wool coat and wine-colored blouse.
Downare also received the Outstanding Construction award in her age division.
Second place went to Ashlynn Johnson of Encampment, who designed and modeled a blue and black wool coat, black pinstripe vest with slacks and a yellow blouse.
Ashlynn received both the Creativity Award and the People’s Choice Award, as well.
In the Senior Division, contestants range from ages 17-24 across Wyoming.
Senior Division winner was Alicia Downare of Buffalo. She created and modeled a deep purple dress accompanied by a purple and grey jacket.
Second place was given to Alexandra Coffey of Laramie, with her salmon-colored wool coat. Coffey also received the Senior Division Outstanding Construction award.
According to Johnson, “The State Junior and Senior Division winners receive a trip to represent Wyoming at the National MIWW contest in San Antonio, Texas on Feb. 1-3, 2018.”
There were six Adult Division contestants at the 2017 MIWW contest, ages 25 and older.
Estella Monroe of Encampment was the Adult Division champion, who created and modeled a brown multi coat, brown skirt, jacket and coral-colored shell top.
Monroe also received the Outstanding Construction award in the Adult Division and won a Janome sewing machine donated by Blakeman Vacuum and Sewing.
“The Adult Division winner sends their outfit, photos and a video of themselves modeling their outfit to the national judging committee, a national winner is selected and then invited to attend the national competition,” Johnson said.
Second place was given to Jamie Wilkinson of Torrington, who modeled a taupe and black plaid jumpsuit and jacket.
Aside from the main contest, there were also quilt and wall hanging, afghan and knitted and crocheted contests.
The winners for the knitted and crocheted contest were Sheryl Hunter of Saratoga in first place, Lynda Johnson of Encampment for second place, Kay Neves of Emblem in third and Maria Geis of Gillette in fourth.
“Other district categories include the Pre-Teen Division, Made for Others and Wearable Accessories,” added Johnson, which were not present at the state contest.
Contestants also participated in a workshop where they made wool pincushions and tied a wool quilt, which will be donated to the state MIWW program and auctioned at the 2018 West Central States Wool Growers Convention, mentioned Johnson.
“This contest is a competition where people can enter and show off their wool projects. Some people get involved with sports and some with music, and there are people who use sewing as a creative outlet,” Johnson said.
Heather Loraas is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org