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Hoosier takes top honors in wool contest

Claire Lee Claire Lee
WINNING ENSEMBLE: Claire Lee, a Purdue student, won the senior division of the National Make It With Wool Contest with this dress and a coat to accompany it.
A Purdue University senior wins the National Make It With Wool Contest.

If you think millennials never get into things their parents and grandparents did, it’s an assumption you may not be able to back up. Claire Lee won the senior division of the National Make It With Wool Contest during the American Sheep Industry Association Convention in San Antonio recently. Contestants from 32 states competed in the event.

Lee is a senior in liberal arts at Purdue University. “I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old,” she says. “I was a 10-year 4-H’er in Shelby County and took sewing projects. I really enjoy sewing.”

Lee, Indianapolis, participated in 4-H in Shelby County because her grandparents Paul and Judy Douglas farm there. Ironically, they have hogs, not sheep.

“I competed in the nationals as a freshman at Franklin Central High School, and did it another year as well,” Lee recalls. Then she laid out for a few years.

During a study-abroad trip to London for a Purdue class, she found a unique piece of wool fabric, brought it home and decided to enter the contest again. She won the state contest in August, earning the right to compete at the national contest.

“I made a 100% wool, blue dress with a floral print with a pattern I obtained from London,” Lee says. “Then I made an 80% melton wool coat to wear over it. Melton refers to the type of texture of the wool.”

Robyn Heine

NATIONAL WINNER: Claire Lee models the wool outfit she made herself as she prepares for the national competition in San Antonio.

Lee plans to attend law school after graduating from Purdue this spring.

She wasn’t the only Hoosier who performed well in the Make It With Wool contest in 2018, says Robyn Heine, state director for the competition. Heine’s daughter, Molly Grotjan, Zionsville, placed fifth in the national junior division. Anita Hardwick, Crawfordsville, took fifth place in the adult division.

“It was a banner year for Indiana,” Heine says.

This year’s state Make It With Wool contest will be Aug. 5 at the Indiana State Fair.

TAGS: Livestock
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