Frances Aleman – “First Lady of the Sheep-Growing Clan”

Aleman MIWW

As soon as I have confirmation to the date of the photograph I will post.  It is believed to have been taken in 1947, the year the contest began.  Frances Aleman is the woman in the middle seated.

Make It With Wool Contest is in its 70th year and it is only proper that we honor the woman who began this contest. Frances Aleman had worn many hats in her life time – wife, mother, organizer and enthusiastic promoter of the sheep industry. One of her achievements was the Make It Yourself with Wool contest which she cofounded with Ora Chipman in 1947. The Women’s Auxiliary of the National Wool Growers Association sponsored the contest because of the lack of a Women’s Auxiliary in Arizona. It would take eleven years for Frances and other wives whose husbands belonged to the Arizona’s Wool Growers Association to organize one. As the charter president of the Make It Yourself with Wool, Frances served for twelve consecutive years. She went on to be elected to the national association, served within the national organization for the next two years before  becoming its president for the next two years. During her years with the National Wool Growers Association, she was their National Press Correspondent. In 1968, she was elected Woman of the Year for her business and civic activities within Arizona and on behave of the national organization.
The first contest for the Make It Yourself with Wool involved twelve western states and was restricted to only women and girls. Each state held its own competition and winners went to compete on the national level at the national convention. Today, both males and females of all ages may enter a project made with wool in the competition in the six categories which are: Preteen, Junior, Senior, Adult, Made for Others, and the College Fashion or Apparel Design Category. The fabric from which the project is made must be 60 percent or greater of wool.  Virginia is the newest state to form an Make It With Wool Association.  Arizona’s contest will be held November 18. More information will follow on how to apply for either Arizona’s contest or look each state for their guidelines.  Unfortunately, not all states have a contest.

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