Saanich Fair 2024 runs Aug 31 to Sep 2. The theme this year will be announced shortly.

NOTE: For final information on any topic, please refer to the Saanich Fair website or the printed catalogue for 2024 (usually available in July).

The Saanich Fair is an annual agricultural fair that has been running for over 150 years. The VHWSG demonstrates fibre arts on the Saturday and Sunday of the Fair, and many members participate in other venues, both as exhibitors and as volunteers who make the Fair happen.

Please consider volunteering your time at the Fair.

The Needle Arts Room

The Needle Arts Room where needle arts and crafts are exhibited and  “judged” (much like agricultural products, animals, preserves, flowers, etc) is probably of particular interest to Guild members. The main point is to exhibit crafts – including spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, embroidery, quilting, rug making, and more – for the public to come and see and learn about all of these arts. Entry fees are small ($1 in 2023) and prizes are a few dollars – so one doesn’t get rich in money – but you can contribute to create a more impressive display of our fibre arts. Even if you don’t wish to show your work, your help as a volunteer to organize and staff the room would be much appreciated.

Every year a catalogue listing the various classes in which items can be entered is distributed both in print and online at the Saanich Fair website. There is an online entry form or you can mail your entry form from the printed catalogue. All guild members are encouraged to submit items made over the past year to make the display in the Needle Arts Room more engaging and interesting for members of the public.

At our September guild meeting there will be a Show & Tell for all members who have entered items into the Fair. Of course, items not entered are also welcome!

If you are curious about the entry classes, here is the part of the list from 2023. This section is the one most closely associated with Guild activities but you are, of course, welcome to display your work in any other section. There’s also a move afoot to split this section into two or more, at least separating spinning and weaving. Check the 2024 Fair catalogue for the final word.

SECTION F – WOOL ARTS / WEAVING
18-F-500 Large handspun article, over 2 sq. ft. (0.2 sq. metres)
18-F-501 Small handspun article, under 2 sq. ft. (0.2 sq. metres)
18-F-502 Handspun skein from raw fibre, singles, not less than 25 yards (23 metres)
18-F-503 Handspun skein from raw fibre, plied, not less than 25 yards (23 metres)
18-F-504 Handspun skein, singles, not less than 25 yards (23 metres)
18-F-505 Handspun skein, plied, not less than 25 yards (23 metres)
18-F-506 Handspun skein, novelty, not less than 10 yards (9.1 metres)
18-F-507 Needle-felted article, flat
18-F-508 Needle-felted article, 3-dimensional
18-F-509 Wet felted article, flat
18-F-510 Wet felted article, 3-dimensional
18-F-511 Weaving, sewn clothing article, any size e.g. coat, jacket
18-F-512 Weaving, large non-clothing article – over 2 sq. ft. (0.2 square metres) e.g. blankets, rugs
18-F-513 Weaving, scarf
18-F-514 Weaving, small non-clothing article, under 2 sq, ft. (0.2 square metres)
18-F-515 Handwoven tapestry or wall hanging, any size
18-F-516 Handwoven basket, any size
18-F-517 Woven set, 2 or more, e.g., placemats, napkins, mug rugs
18-F-518 Handwoven tea towel
18-F-519 Any other wool art / weaving article not listed

There are additional classes for entrants 70-79 and over 80.

As noted above, these classes are judged, but the judges are asked to lean more toward encouraging than rigorous. Here are some hints about preparing your work.

Spinning:

Technical: initial appearance, properly tied and skeined, spin appropriate to fibre

Preparation: clean of vegetable matter, not sticky from grease, even (pleasing) colour distribution, no visible noils

Consistency: size, twist, ply control, good strength, no breaks, no obvious incorrect joins

Weaving:

Technical: appropriate sett (epi, ppi), absence of errors, even beat and selvedges

Design: appropriate weave structure, appropriate yarn choice, use and placement of colour, fabric suitable for intended use, originality of idea, complexity (scope, difficulty, variety)

Finishing: fabric finished properly, good hand and drape, finishing appropriate to intended use, good presentation


Guild Demonstration Activities at the Saanich Fair

The Guild staffs a demonstration tent on both the Saturday and Sunday of the Fair.

On Saturday, there is a Sheep to Shawl demonstration where volunteers come to spin prepared fibre that is then woven, by a volunteer weaver(s), to create a shawl over the course of the day. It is great fun to get together with fellow guild members to spin and visit with the public as we create a shawl to demonstrate our craft.

For more information about the Sheep Shawl demo, click here.

On Sunday, the display is called Fibres to Finish and again volunteers work together to create a display of fibre preparation, processing, and spinning to inform the public about our craft. Volunteers participate by creating the displays and spending the day talking to the public – while spinning, knitting or doing whatever craft you like. In 2023, the Dyers Group set up a display of natural dyes.

Contact info@vhwsg.ca if you would like to participate next year on either day. You will receive a complimentary day pass to the fair.

Sunday at the Fair 2023: