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Ronan wool designers compete at national competition

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News from Amanda Powell, Montana MIWW director

Montana Make It With Wool representatives showed off their talents with southwestern fun, fashion, friendship and flair during the 72nd annual National Make It With Wool competition as part of the 2020 American Sheep Industry Convention held January 23-25 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  

Kiara Sherman of Ronan participated in the junior category. Angelina Toth of Havre participated in the high school senior category. Montana’s adult winner was Michal Ann Stedje of Ronan, and she competed in the national contest by mailing in her garment along with a video and photos.  

It was Sherman’s second year in the junior division, and she constructed a two-piece 100 percent wool outfit, which included a coat and a dress. Her camel-colored coat featured a waterfall draping on the front, which highlighted the double-sided brushed wool. She completed the coat with flat fell seams. Her navy flannel dress featured pleats in the sleeves and the skirt, which she found challenging when adjusting the fit. Sherman is a sophomore at Ronan High school this year where she is involved in FFA and the Maiden softball team. She also raises and shows red Angus cattle.

Toth has competed in the contest for seven years. This year, she created a practical yet fashionable three-piece ensemble. Her black, brown and gray lined wool tweed coat featured a semi-fitted silhouette, a pointed hemline, and a double shawl collar. Under her coat, Toth chose an ivory wool crepe fitted short sleeve shell with a bias bound V-neckline and keyhole opening in the back. To finish her ensemble, she made a pair of lined black-wool flannel pants featuring a front zipper and straight legs. She will get a lot of use out of this outfit. Toth is a senior at Havre High School and a 12-year 4-H member. Her favorite 4-H projects are beef, sheep, swine and quilting.

Stedje constructed a suit with a hand-knitted shawl to compliment and help tame the chill in Montana’s air. Her jacket and skirt were made from green and gray plaid wool. Her reversible jacket features built-in pockets and the reverse is solid gray, which offers more styling possibilities. The asymmetrical full wrap plaid skirt features a waterfall hem, which is stylish for any occasion. To finish off the ensemble, she used the same solid gray for an easy flowing top, which she accented with machine-embroidery stitches. Stedje has worked in the Ronan School District for more than 20 years and has been a Lake County 4-H leader for more than 25 years.

In the National MIWW contest, there were 25 junior contestants, 21 senior contestants, and 21 adult contestants representing 26 states. Currently, there are 29 states in the northeast region with active Make It With Wool programs. The National MIWW Director is Lynda Johnson from Encampment, Wyoming.  

The contestants learned a lot by attending workshops on accessorizing and the importance of pressing with the correct pressing aids. They also had a lot of fun and did some sightseeing while participating in a scavenger hunt in Old Town Scottsdale. The highlight was lunch and an ice cream treat at the Sugar Bowl, which is a nostalgic diner dressed in pink and black. It was a hit.

Montana’s contestants had a great time in Scottsdale enjoying the warm weather and representing our great state in high fashion. They did not place in the top 10 but learned a ton that they can use for their entries next year. 

For more information, please visit our Montana Make It With Wool Facebook page, Montana Wool Growers Association Facebook page or email Montana MIWW Director Amanda Powell at aspowell11@hotmail.com.

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