Convention: The Fleece Awakens at MIWW

The Fleece Awakens at Make It With Wool Finals

ASI Director of Industry Information

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far way, “The Fleece Was Awakened.” This was the setting for the 2017 National Make It With Wool Fashion Show and Competition. State-winning MIWW contestants competed in the national finals and awards program in a well-choreographed style show during the ASI Annual Convention in Denver on Jan. 28. The designers taking top honors were Alison Faber of Ohio and Sarah Thelen of Minnesota.

Faber won the title of Junior 2017 Wool Ambassador with her wool jumper. She combined two fabrics – a felted black wool crepe for the bodice and a black and tan Pendleton plaid for the skirt. Her jumper featured a low waist and decorative top stitching on the bodice. In addition to other prizes, Faber’s winnings included a $1,000 scholarship from Pendleton Woolen Mills and a $500 cash award from the ASI Women. The junior division was open to ages 13 to 16.

Thelen was selected as the Senior 2017 Wool Ambassador. Thelen modeled her outfit crafted from yellow and grey Pendleton plaid wool she received from a previous MIWW contest. Her semi-fitted ankle pants were fashioned from a Burda pattern and the wool vest was quilted to achieve the perfect look to accent her three-piece ensemble. Among other prizes, Thelen’s first-place winnings included a $1,500 scholarship from ASI Women. The senior division was open to ages 17 to 24.

Dustin Geringer of California and Annelise Ingram of Texas won first runner-up Junior Division and Senior Division, respectively. Geringer created a three-piece wool outfit from Burda patterns that he will use often. The double-breasted peacoat was made from a wool double knit. His coat and tweed vest were fully lined and complimented the beige wool pants. Ingram modeled her fully lined dress and coat made from wine-colored melton wool and a cream and tan patterned cashmere. She created a dramatic look with unique pleating on the coat sleeves and the contrasting back panels on the dress.

Rebecca Sintek of Oregon was named 2017 National MIWW Adult winner in the pre-event competition. Sintek’s two-piece hounds-tooth jacket and slacks took her petite stature into account, using simple uncluttered lines that would not break up the continuous silhouette. She is a 4-H leader working with livestock and sewing members. As part of her winnings, Sintek received an all-expense-paid trip to the national competition in Denver.

The winner of the 2017 Fashion/Apparel Design Award was Daiane Bierhalz Elert from Houston Community College. Bierhalz Elert used flat patterning techniques to create her unique wool coat that can be unzipped to become a skirt and jacket. Her wool fabric is an uneven twill with nubs and it has a touch of spandex allowing the jacket to be more fitted. The jacket features a hood-style collar, is fitted at the waist and closes with a two-way zipper. The skirt had hidden side pockets, a high waist and was a wrap-around style. Zipped together, they created a coat that was knee length and featured topstitched seams. Winnings included a $1,000 scholarship from the American Wool Council and an all-expense-paid trip to the national competition.

A total of 45 junior and senior finalists representing 26 states and the New England region modeled their creations at the national competition. Contestants nationwide that entered competitions at the state level utilized more than 1,640 yards of wool fabric and nearly 230 skeins of yarn to create their garments.

Other winners included:

• Angela Villanueva, Penn., Outstanding Needlework;

• Kimberly Westenberg, Wis., Best Use of Machine Embroidery;

• Megan Weise, Ariz., Junior Division Handwork;

• Andrea Northup, Colo., Senior Division Handwork;

• Ashlynn Johnson, Wyo., First Place Outstanding Use of Mohair;

• Angela Villanueva, Penn., Second Place Outstanding Use of Mohair;

• Gabrielle Augustine, N.Y., Third Place Outstanding Use of Mohair;

• Grace Zongker, Kan., Junior Division Exemplary Construction; and

• Sara Thelen, Minn., Senior Division Exemplary Construction.

As National Coordinator for MIWW, Mary Roediger from Ohio directed the contest. For more information about the MIWW competition, visit

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