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(Electronic photos available upon request)
Denver, Colo. - Jan. 30, 2009 - The contestants of the 61st annual Make It With Wool competition had some fun in the sun while presenting their winning ensembles at the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)/National Lamb Feeders Association annual convention in San Diego, Calif, on Jan. 24. The designers taking top honors at this year's national competition were Marisa Linton of Mount Olive, N.C., and Meredith Olds of Manhattan, Kansas.
Linton won the title of First Place Junior 2009 Wool Ambassador wearing a four-piece ensemble that she constructed. Her choice of red wool tricotine, red and black wool-blend twill, black Merino rib-knit fabric and black mohair yarn designed into her garments is a testament to the skills she has acquired in learning how to shear sheep and from her spinning class, which developed her skills in fiber preparation and use. In addition to other prizes, Linton's winnings included a $1,000 scholarship from Pendleton Woolen Mills and a $500 scholarship from the ASI Women. The junior division was open to youth ages 13 to 16.
Olds was selected as the First Place Senior 2009 Wool Ambassador. She selected a plaid mohair fabric as the focal piece for her ensemble. Olds used a wide variety of textures and colors to make her outfit one of interest and versatility - 100 percent extra-fine Merino yarn for the knitted scarf, wool jersey for her top, dark green worsted Pendleton wool for her skirt and an open-weave textured purple for the jacket. The coat, jacket and skirt are all fully lined. Among other prizes, Old's first-place winnings included a $1,500 scholarship from the ASI Women. The senior division was open to youth ages 17 to 24. Olds is the only contestant to win both the junior national competition and the senior national competition in recent years.
Carrie Holter of Jefferson, Md., and Natalie Dones of Lexington, Neb., won First Runner-Up Junior Division and Senior Division, respectively. Holter constructed a mulberry coat of Pendleton boucle and a matching fitted jacket and a magenta wool-gabardine lined dress. Dones used crimson red wool fabric to create a coat with a convertible collar, front pockets, cuffed sleeves and a front-button closing.
Kathy Holter of Jefferson, Md., was named the 2009 National Make It With Wool Adult Winner. She combined many different fabrics to create her stylish four-piece ensemble. Holter added couture details such as Hong Kong seam finishes, braided button stems, custom labels and red bias trim along the facing of the coat lining. The red Eisenhower jacket is accented by a touch of black along the facing and the red and black Pendleton wool pencil skirt is fully lined and features knife pleats at the hemline for a chic touch to this classic skirt style. Her hand-knitted baby alpaca mock turtle-neck sweater completes the look. As part of her winnings, Holter won an all-expense-paid trip to the national competition in San Diego.
The winner of the Fashion/Apparel Design Award was Danny Nguyen, a fashion/apparel design student at Houston Community College in Texas, whose inspiration for the colorful skirt and jacket came from reading a fashion magazine with a Valentino campaign. He modeled his creation after a suit that had structure, volume and molded to the model's body which emphasized her curves but at the same time maintained a solid composition. Nguyen drew a simple-looking design which was actually very complex and detailed at the seam line. By incorporating angled patterns onto the picture, there were many pieces layered on top of one another. However, once the pieces were put together, it became a very solid piece as the angles straightened out and everything became a straight line. The suit looks crisp and clean and the mohair gives it additional volume causing the garment to appear fluffy. Nguyen's winnings include a $1,000 scholarship for his winning outfit from the American Wool Council and an all-expense-paid trip to the national competition.
A total of 57 junior and senior finalists representing 30 states modeled their creations at the national competition. Some 939 contestants nationwide entered competitions at the state level and utilized more than 2,668 yards of wool fabric and 257 skeins of yarn to create their garments.
Other winners and their awards include: