Black Sheep Gathering


The Spinner's Lead takes place in the Cascade Livestock Pavilion in the Sheep Show Ring, after the Potluck on Saturday night of the Gathering. Entrants wear their handspun garments or creations while leading a sheep, goat or alpaca, or carrying a bunny.

The event is open to all producers and spinners of wool, mohair, alpaca, or rabbit fiber. If you wish to enter, please read the rules carefully.

Complete the Entry Form and mail it to the address on the form. We need a full description of your entry, including technique of construction, breed of animal and information about the artist and exhibitor.

Mail-in entries will be accepted until June 29; however, forms will be available at the Information Table until noon Friday.

If you don’t have livestock entered in the Black Sheep Gathering animal shows, we can arrange for you to borrow an animal. However, these arrangements must be made in advance so we can find a match for you.

Spinner’s Lead Rules

  • Articles must be 100% handspun, (commercial warp or canvas OK)
  • Entries may be hand or machine knit, hooked, woven, crocheted or felted.
  • The articles may have been completed at any time; it is not limited to items made in the past year.
  • Someone other than the entrant may make the article, although the maker of entered article must be identified in the entry form.
  • Articles must be at least 80% wool, mohair, alpaca or rabbit.
  • Garments should represent the breed of the animal being led.
  • Entrant doesn’t have to own the animal used in the lead.
  • Only animals entered in the Gathering are eligible for the Spinner’s Lead.

Judging Criteria for Spinner’s Lead

Originality and difficulty of design   30 points
Color, fit and style   25 points
Suitability of garment to use of fiber   20 points
Handspun by entrant   5 points
Knit, woven, etc., by entrant   5 points
Overall appearance of entrant and animal   10 points
Animal owned by entrant   5 points

NOTE: In case of a tie, judges will award bonus points on the basis of originality.


Judge: John Merlau
New Palestine, Indiana

I currently raise both registered Natural Colored and Corriedale sheep on our central Indiana farm, having started with registered Corriedales as a 4-H youth in 1959.Read More.


Judge: Clay Kneese
Harper, Texas

Clay has raised Angora goats since the early ’80s. His fine-haired Angoras have won championships at all the major shows in Texas. Read More.


Wool , Mohair and Alpaca Judge: Zane Bone
College Station, Texas

I am a 4th generation sheep and goat raiser from the Texas Hill country. My father was a state-winning sheep and goat vocational agricultural teacher. Read More.


Judge: Michael Kelson
Seattle, Washington

Michael Kelson started his fiber-arts journey when he learned to knit over 12 years ago. Read More.