Personal Skills – Needlework

Welcome to the Durham Fair Needlework Department. We invite you to visit us at the Needlework building near the center of the fairgrounds to view our beautiful exhibits and experience this fantastic fair tradition.

The Durham Fair Needlework Department exhibits knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing, cross stitch, embroidery & other needlework crafts. With over 900 individual entries, these exhibits make up one of the largest displays of needlework exhibits across country fairs nationally. We are proud of the talented crafters that exhibit their projects with us, and each year we look to expand participation with new and creative exhibitors, and even new categories. In addition to our exhibiting activities, we also hold an annual charity drive to support our community.

New for 2021

We’ve added a new Community Service project to support the Quilt of Valor. The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by “Blue Star” mom Catherine Roberts. With a son deployed in Iraq, a ‘Gunner’ sitting atop a Humvee she felt “only 10 seconds away from panic”. She had this vision of a post deployed worrier struggling with his war demons at 2 in the morning. She saw him sitting on the side of his bed wrapped in his quilt. The quilt not only comforted him but warded off the demons. Thus the QOVF was founded. The Quilts of Valor Foundation’s mission is to cover ALL combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. Since its founding, Quilts of Valor has awarded over 153,071 quilts to veterans of military actions, conflicts and wars, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • The Quilt of Valor Quilt Block will be used by QOV State Coordinators to help fill outstanding requests for a Quilt of Valor not covered by local groups and will ease the waiting list of requests. The latest statistics from 2018 are 3,712 requests. The goal for the State of Connecticut is to make 2000 blocks. We are accepting both the 2020 and 2021 Quilt Block Squares.
  • The 9-patch block is versatile and can be assembled many ways into a QOV. Click here for instructions for QOV 9 Block Square 2020
  • For 2021 The block Drive is the 8 Point Floating Star. Click here for Instructions for QOV Block Drive 2021
  • Either block will be accepted for the Block Drive at the Durham Fair and will be distributed at the State Quilt Contest in November!

2021 Challenge Class

This year’s challenge class theme is “Roaring ’20s”. This is an added category which allows our exhibitors to enter an additional item, as long as it ties in with the theme of the year.

2021 Community Service Projects

The Durham Fair Needlework Department has had a long tradition of supporting the community by holding a donation drive each year at the fair. This annual Community Service Project not only helps those in need but has also become a source of pride in having won an AIFE Award of Excellence for this program.

We will be collecting items for cancer patients, veterans, the homeless, and children in crisis. Make sure you check out Art Bra which supports “After the Storm”.

  • Art Bra
  • Chemo Caps
  • Prayer Shawls
  • Mittens & Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Socks
  • Hats
  • Lap Blankets
  • Pillow Cases
  • Sensory Mitt
  • QOV Block (new for 2021)
  • Miscellaneous

Please consider making an item to enter in this year’s fair, or get together with friends, church groups, or community organizations and donate them. We will be collecting them and displaying them at the fair. Although an exhibitor can enter only one item per category, participants in our drive can donate as many items as they want. Be sure to fill out a form to submit with each chemo cap donation.

› Community Service Project Form

After the Storm
The winning art bra creation will have their entry in the 2022 Art Bra Runway Show where it will be auctioned to raise money for breast cancer survivors. In addition, the winner will receive a Budvase for the Durham Fair Art Bra Award 2021. Please note there is no Art Bra Runway Show for 2021.


FRIDAY, September 24, 2021
Fair Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
3 – 8   Quilt of Valor Demonstration
SATURDAY, September 25, 2021
Fair Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
2 – 7   Quilt of Valor Demonstration
SUNDAY, September 26, 2021
Fair Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM
2 – 6   Quilt of Valor Demonstration

Join our Needlework Community:

Patterns from the Needlework Dept:

Needleworks Exhibits