Valley News -

By Joe Naiman

Blair wins Best of Division for lace at SD County Fair


Last updated 7/18/2019 at 5:29pm

Courtesy photo

Janis Blair wins Best of Division for the Lace division for her needle lace ruby red slippers at the San Diego County Fair.

The theme of this year's San Diego County Fair was "Oz-some" and commemorated the 80th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz" movie. Murrieta's Janice Blair entered three pieces of lacework associated with the theme in the fair's Home and Hobby exhibit, and her needle lace ruby slippers took Best of Division for the Lace division as well as first place in the Other than Listed category.

"I was surprised that I won this time with a very simple entry because there are some very nice pieces of lace this year," Blair said.

Blair also took second place in the Tape Bobbin Lace class and third place in the Motif Bobbin Lace competition.

"I entered three pieces. They were all in the theme," Blair said.

Blair completed the shoes in about two weeks.

"Most of my larger pieces can take four or five hundred hours, but these were really simple to make. It was just a question of getting them done in time," she said.

"The shoes themselves, I decided to make them a month before the entries were due," Blair said. "They were a last-minute idea of mine."

The deadline wasn't the only potential obstacle Blair faced; she was concerned that the judges might see the shoes only as a piece of fabric. Blair's daughter suggested adding a spool of thread.

"It's not obvious that they're actually lace," Blair said. "The shoes that won the ribbon were actually my design just for the fair. I was pleased with how they came out."

The second-place Tape Bobbin Lace award was for an Idrija bobbin lace rainbow. Idrija lace is from Slovenia.

"I hadn't done it before, so I took a class in February," Blair said.

Blair is a member of the Silvergate Lacers in San Diego and the Freeway Lace Guild in Pasadena. Five lace clubs in Southern California have an annual conference, and in February, they met in Costa Mesa. The conference included the class on Idrija lace, and Blair created the rainbow as part of that class.

The rainbow is complemented by a blue inner and white outer non-lace background, and the item is framed.

A framed black bobbin lace witch on an orange background gave Blair the Motif Bobbin Lace third-place ribbon. Blair made the witch in January.

"Because it fit the theme I decided I would enter it," she said.

Blair is originally from England but did not participate in lace crafting there. She began her lace activity 25 years ago when she was living in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Blair moved from Crystal Lake to Murrieta five years ago. Her first lace entry at the San Diego County Fair was in 2016.

The two lace clubs in San Diego County provided demonstrations as part of the Home and Hobby exhibit, and Blair was also involved with those clubs.

"The main way we get people is by demonstrating at the fair," she said.

Linda Patrick of Temecula won the Quilt Top, Any Technique by Amateur, Quilted Professionally, Over 75 Inches class. Patrick used the Bargello technique of sewing strips of fabric together to pattern her quilt. Patrick was also given a donated award from the Seaside Quilt Guild for her quilt.

In the Needlepoint and Petit Point division, Winchester's "William Cloake" had the first-place Needlepoint Charted or Counted Stitches, More Than 40 Square Inches work. Four men are seen on the shore with the sea and clouds in the background.

Nancy Drake of Temecula took first place in the Quilt, Lap Under 75 Inches competition. What she called "Tequila Sunrise Pickle Dip" consists of 20 patterned circles.

Joice Higachi of Menifee had an honorable mention Handbags or Totes entry. Higachi took advantage of "The Wizard of Oz" theme to create a tote with the music to "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" on the front.

Temecula's Doris Skipper was given an honorable mention award for her Afghan or Bedspread, Yarn, Pieced, 60 by 45 Inches or Larger crochet work. Her "The Wizard of Oz" afghan had the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion sewn onto the afghan which included yellow and emerald color.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected]


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