From the Saanich Fair program:
Come and witness the magical transformation of fibres into fabric (probably a woven shawl). Talk to the spinners, weavers, and carders as they take a raw fibre through the processes needed to turn it into a fabric. Members will gladly talk to you about what they are doing and why, and may even ask you to help with the carding and weaving. This is a demonstration not a competition so there will be no time limit or judging.

The Warp
The warp is wrapped and put onto the Guild’s floor loom before the fair. There is often fibre left over from previous demonstrations that can be used. The “weaver”, that is, one or two people who have volunteered to weave on the day, chooses a weave pattern (in consultation with other participants) and sets up and warps the loom. Sometimes, the warp even gets dyed. The loom is brought to the fairgrounds either on Friday during the set-up of the Needle Arts room or on the Saturday morning. Fairgrounds staff are available with golf carts to help with transport.

The Weft
The weft is created from a raw fleece each year, with much of the processing done before the fair. If you are a “Sheep to Shawl” volunteer, part of your role is to help with washing and carding; additional volunteers warmly welcomed. The group washes portions of the fleece as individuals but often gets together for a carding party or two in August.

On the day
At the fair, the carded wool is spun, plied and woven into a shawl. Spinners try for a consistent fibre, but all we can do is our best! All levels welcome to join in the fun. Your spinning or weaving will be interrupted to talk to interested fair-goers and to make your own tour of the fair.

The activity happens in a tent (two, actually) behind the Agricultural Hall (Main Hall). Since the fair opens at 9 a.m., a few people will be needed to help with set-up before that time. The convenor will let you know when to arrive.

If you do arrive before the fair opens to the public, you should be able to enter the grounds as an exhibitor. You will have an armband for free entry. There is no special parking, but you’ll be early so quite close to the entrance. After opening time, you may end up stuck in the entry line-up, but it shouldn’t take too long. There can be traffic congestion on Stelly’s X Road before and after opening time.

If you have a cart of some sort, it’s a good idea to bring it to carry your stuff. There will be room to hide it in the tent. If you can’t carry all your gear, come over to the tent and arrange to get help from fair staff with their golf carts. Bring your spinning wheel and related equipment, a rug to put your wheel on (the grass tends to be really wet in the morning), water, a lunch if you don’t want to stand in the lines, snacks. Sun hat and sun screen are a good idea. Tables and chairs are supplied by the fair, but bring your own spinning chair if you wish.

The convenors usually organize a carder and a table loom for fair-goers to try out. People often ask to try a wheel but feel free to say No if you are not comfortable. We hope to have a guild wheel available for people to use and also a number of drop shuttles. It’s great if you can take a break from spinning to demonstrate a piece of equipment for a while.

The fair usually has a theme and there is an effort to decorate along theme lines in the tent – thoughts on how to do so are appreciated. Ideas for other displays or activities are great, and most likely to happen if the idea-generator is also the implementor. Please let the convenors know, then get the display/activity organized.

The shawl is usually complete between 3:30 and 4 p.m. and we tidy the tent and head out. If you want to look around the fair after this time, you can take your gear back to your vehicle and re-enter with your armband.