About 8 years ago, I was taking fashion design courses through the local community college. At the urging of one of my professors, I decided to enter the National Fashion Design "Make it With Wool" contest. The contest is sponsored by The American Wool Council, which is primarily made up of ranchers from across the nation. I designed and sewed this bubble skirt mini-dress and jacket, which I embellished with hand-painted silk critters. I modeled the garment myself for the competition.
I was the winner of the contest, and got to go to the Wool Council's National Convention. My garment was on display, and I helped judge the national competition for high school students who had won their state competitions, and were competing for the national title. I met a ton of ranchers, who owned thousands of acres in Montana and Wyoming. It was such a different world than my city life. My winnings from the contest included: money for school tuition, several yards of Pendelton wool, some sewing text books, and a sheep pelt.
The sheep pelt sort of disturbed me at the time, and I shoved it in the back of a closet. I came across the pelt while cleaning this summer, and decided to try it out draped over my front entry room couch. Even though I still feel bad for the sheep, I figure that it is not doing any good stuffed in a closet. I'm on the fence about animal pelts used decoratively, but for now my sheep is prominently out for people to pet.