Playing Catch Up – News and Important Dates

With Corgi Tru. She was the canine love of my life.

I haven’t posted anything on the blog since May of this year, after being reasonably consistent about popping something new up for you at least a couple of times a month.  May was around the time small and a few big things started to go wrong around here, starting with my Corgi Tru being diagnosed with terminal liver disease and cancer.  Tru was my steadfast companion for the past eleven years and the dog our four sons were raised with.  To watch her sicken, with one capability after another taken from her by the cancer, was both heartbreaking and demoralizing.  On June 13th, it was clear that prolonging her life was not in her best interest, and I had promised, from the day she arrived to our home, that she would know nothing but love and care for all of her days.  Our amazing friend and veterinarian came over that evening, and Tru passed away very peacefully outside on the grass with many of her loved ones holding and surrounding her.  I didn’t really get off the sofa for about three days – not for any length of time anyway – and from there it’s been a summer of more minor mishaps, from the annoying to the comical.  I will spare you most of those, but if you’ve been following the Facebook page you know that it’s included one of my bee hives swarming, having a lot of my inventory damaged in a microburst at a show in Portland, and then coming home that same night to find my favorite witness-tree birch on fire from a lightning strike, necessitating its felling.  A friend of mine said, “Girlfriend, burn some sage at your house!”

I feel like I’m starting to recover now.  Things are going a bit better and my spirits are always lifted as fall approaches.  It’s my favorite season here in Maine by far.  For a variety of reasons, summer is my least favorite season, plus, for me, fall is like my new year.  Instead of spring, or January, my new beginnings often happen in the fall.   This year especially, I am feeling the need to get back to learning, growing, changing, and moving forward.

So, let’s do a little catching up first.

Tovookan’s Honey

One good thing that happened this summer was that we bottled our first batch of Tovookan’s honey from the Parris House beehives.  We had about sixty pounds altogether and while I have sold quite a lot of it, I do still have some jars left.  If anyone is interested in a one pound jar, they are $10 and available at the Maine studio, OR they can be shipped.  Be aware, however, that shipping is running around $7 – $9, so I leave it to your discretion as to whether or not you’d like a jar from a distance.

I have also had the privilege of working with three publishers who I have long admired.  Down East Magazine currently has some of my rug hooking kits and finished pillows in their Summer Pop Up Shop at their headquarters in Rockport, Maine.  If you are traveling along the beautiful Maine Midcoast for the remainder of this summer and in to September, please stop in to the shop right on Route 1 to peruse not only my things, but a great selection of Maine Made products.

The holiday issue of Rug Hooking Magazine will also feature my pattern and project article as the centerfold pull out.  I remember when I first started hooking thinking it was a really big deal to have that role in an RHM issue, and now here I am.  As always, linen patterns and kits will be available for purchase through RHM when the magazine comes out.

Finally, I have a really lovely and fun project coming out in the fall issue of Making Magazine, assembled and edited by the talented and hard working Carrie Hoge, a fellow Mainer.  I don’t want to put any spoilers here, but the theme of the magazine this fall is “Lines” and my project was designed accordingly.  I loved making it and loved working the Carrie, whose outstanding photography truly captures the beauty of any project she’s shooting.

My work is also on display in the Maine Made kiosk at Bangor International Airport.  It’s so fun to know that busy travelers going in and out of the airport can take a moment to see my bee pillow in the kiosk.  It’s my hope that it brightens someone’s day.

I also just launched two new hooked pillows for Beekman 1802, a bee and a pink pig, continuing with the theme of animals you might find on the farm.   My Instagram post of the bee is the most liked post ever in the history of my IG account, so I’m expecting it to do well in the Mercantile.  It was also “liked” by one of my hooking heroines, who I will not name here.  🙂

So, let’s look forward to what’s coming up the last few weeks of the summer and in to the fall…

Project for The Stitchery

I have a beginner rug hooking class coming up at The Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, this Sunday, August 27th that you can still sign up for!  We will be doing a double heart scented buckwheat pillow; this is the prototype, to the left.  For more information and to sign up, click HERE.

On September 2nd we will have another of our SUPER FUN beginner dye classes here at the Parris House.  To sign up, click HERE. 

Once again, I will be participating in the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival on September 9th and 10th in beautiful Sharon Springs, NY!  I will not be down in the vendor area this year, but rather I will be at Beekman Farm demonstrating and teaching rug hooking for our Beekman Neighbors who come to the farm tours.  I hope to have some of my exclusive-to-Beekman 1802 pillows for sale in the Mercantile, however, for any neighbors who want to shop for them on the spot at Harvest Festival. Normally they are made to order and purchased online with a 2 week completion time.

I will also be having a beginner class at Scarborough Adult Ed (Maine) starting at the end of September.  Follow the website and FB page for more information on that as it becomes available.  We will be doing Maine forest/camp themed projects, so this is not to be missed!

Learn to make soap with us!

On October 7th, we will have a soap making class again here at the Parris House.  To sign up for that, click HERE. 

The Hampden Hook-In, sponsored by The Keeping Room, will take place on October 21st this year and I will be there again vending.  Hope to see many of you there!

Last, but not least, for events, the Fifth Annual Paris Hill Hook In is set to take place on Saturday, November 4th.  If you have not signed up already, please do soon.  I have reduced the number of participants this year to fifty.  That’s a reduction of about a dozen spots because I am hearing so very many complaints at hook-ins about inadequate space.  If the majority of hookers feel that more space is needed at these events but still want to enjoy the more down-home and charming venues, then the sacrifice has to be made in the number of attendees.  Therefore, I only have a limited number of spaces left.  For all of the information on this event, click HERE.

Some of the garden harvest so far.

The Parris House gardens were not their best this season.  In speaking to a friend of mine who is literally a professional farmer about how relatively poorly I think my tomatoes are doing, she said right away that the nights have been too cold and the days of high heat too few.  I will say, though, that the Parris House apple trees are absolutely loaded, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for those!

And so we move forward.  Not every year is our best year, but in looking back over just what I’ve written here, I realize that some very good things have happened.  And just about two weeks ago, one other very good thing happened…

Meet Wyeth, our new five month old Rough Collie.  (Yes, he’s named for NC, Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth – I’m an art geek.)  My husband grew up with Collies and loves them, and since we have had the good fortune to live with my favorite breed for the past eleven years, I thought it was his turn to live with his.  Wyeth was born in Georgia right around the time his breeder family (Morris Oaks Farm) was making a move to Maine, and that’s why he came to us so relatively late for a puppy.  But this is perfect for me as he is already so well trained and socialized and best of all, housebroken!  He already loves the attention of our Tuesday group hookers, although I do my best to keep him both out of their hooking bags and away from their lunches.  Dog lovers everywhere will know the complexity of my feelings as I fall in love with this new puppy.  I still shed tears for Tru, and at the same time find joy in getting to know Wyeth.

I will be getting back on the regular-blogging wagon.  Tell me in the comment thread any topics you would like to see covered on the blog (can be fiber art, travel, gardening, beekeeping, whatever!), and if I choose yours I will give you an online or in person coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more.   Also, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, which I will also be getting back to, by using the sign up box at the bottom of the web page.

Happy hooking and thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Save the Date! New Hook In Event in Belfast, Maine – April 22nd, 2017!

Beautiful downtown Belfast, Maine.

Looking for a new event to ring in the arrival of spring this year?  Get your calendar or digital device out and save this info!

When:  Saturday, April 22nd, 2017, 9 am to 3 pm

Where: The First Church in Belfast, UCC, 8 Court Street, Belfast, Maine

Featured Speaker: Rose Ann Hunter!

Sponsored by:  207 Creatives

OK, so you probably have questions…

Who is/are 207 Creatives?

207 Creatives is a collaboration formed by Connie Fletcher of Seven Gables Designs, Ellen Marshall of Two Cats and Dog Hooking, and me, Beth Miller of Parris House Wool Works.   It is our aim together to bring you the very best of fiber art and creative events, rug hooking patterns, supplies, & finished hooked pieces, and more.   Together we have three times as many ideas, resources, and experiences to pool than we would have alone, and we plan to use that to help make your creative experiences even better.

Tell us more about the featured speaker…

We are so excited to present accomplished fiber artist Rose Ann Hunter!  She will be doing a presentation called, “Enhancing Your Hooking with Historical Techniques.”   In her presentation, Rose Ann will share with us how she mixes and incorporates historical techniques in her rug hooking. Her imagination knows no bounds and you, too, will soon be talking about standing wool, quillies, shirring, tambor, and more.  Rose Ann’s bio on her webpage reads as follows:  “Rose Ann Hunter has been a textile structuralist for the last thirty years. She was chosen in 2005 as craftperson-in-residence at Old Sturbridge Village in traditional rugmaking 1790 to 1850 and lectures at various museums, conferences and guilds throughout New England and the US. She has adapted and developed over 30 techniques of rug making by recycling fabrics that are sewn, knitted or crocheted into folk art.”

Will there be great food?

YES!  There will be wonderful food at this hook in, provided by For the Love of Food & Drink.  If you have attended the Paris Hill Hook In for the past two years, you will be familiar with this wonderful catering company.  A fresh and delicious breakfast, lunch, and dessert, served by the friendliest people in catering, will be provided.

Will there be vendors?

Indeed.  There will be vendors, to be announced, who will have everything you need for the craft.  Yes, we know you already have stashes bursting down your doors, but hey, we’re hookers.  You know how it is.

What is the venue like?

People have been worshiping in this beautiful church in seaside Belfast for over two centuries.   The church hall where we will be hooking is spacious and light filled, and we are sure it will become a favorite hook in space.

Is this hook in replacing the Paris Hill Hook In in November?

NO!  The Fifth Annual Paris Hill Hook In sponsored by Parris House Wool Works will still be there this fall with bells on (or a bell in the church tower, that some of you have actually rung…).  I will be selecting a date for it soon and will get that information out to everyone.

How do we sign up???

We will be providing sign up information very soon, so please watch this page, our Facebook pages, and all of our social media for that.  In addition, we will be sending post cards for those whose addresses we have, and I will be putting the info in The Street Corner email newsletter.   If you are not sure we have your contact information and you would like a post card or email, please email me at parrishousewoolworks@gmail.com and we’ll put you on the list!

And there’s more…

We are still working on more fun details for this great new event, and will share more as we finalize those.   We hope you are as excited as we are and will come out and spend some time in one of the prettiest towns in midcoast Maine.   For more information about Belfast, please visit  Our Town Belfast.  

Thanks for reading, happy hooking, and we hope to see you in April!  – Beth

 

 

 

 

 

On Fall, the Empty Nest, and What's Going On at Parris House Wool Works

Clothesline
Clothes hanging to dry on my new clothesline at the Parris House.

Last night the temperature dove down to 43 degrees Fahrenheit here in Paris, Maine.  We had gone for a walk around Paris Hill village after dinner last night and the air felt decidedly September-ish.  I know that there are heat waves to come, days of impossibly muggy and hot misery (by Maine standards), but midway through July  I am thinking about my life and plans this fall.

This year fall looms especially large for me.  I love fall.  It’s by far – far and away – my favorite season.  But this year I plan to make a lot of changes, and a lot of changes are inevitably planned for me.  The largest of these is the monumental empty nest.  My youngest son, of four, is headed out to Troy, NY to embark on his education in applied physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  The college drop off thing is now familiar; my oldest being 25 we’ve been at this for seven years.  It never gets better though.  I cry at each initial college drop off, not wanting my sons to see that but not being able to control it either.  We are the antithesis of helicopter parents.  We are happy for the freedom we’ve given our boys and taken joy in how beautifully, competently, and independently they’ve handled that freedom.  But still…when you take leave of a young adult that first day…well, it hurts.  When you take leave of the youngest one, your entire life changes.

I plan to be one of those empty nesters who takes her grieving (let’s be totally real here – that’s what it is), and grabs every consolation prize the empty nest has to offer.  And there are many.  For example, if I want to make scrambled eggs for dinner, it’s happening.  If I want to make no dinner and order out, it’s happening too. My husband and I, who prefer the company of our sons over any other, will not have to consider what they would enjoy most when planning an outing.  I can’t say there will be less laundry for me to do, because our boys have done their own from a pretty young age, and honestly, except for dinner, they also cook for themselves.  There IS the whole thing about being available for my sons. As parents, we are always on call.  I suppose that doesn’t change entirely when they leave home, but it is diminished.

In other words, the empty nest is not only a new birth of freedom for the offspring, but for the parents.

My photo for this post is our new clothesline here at the Parris House, and symbolizes things I am doing simply because I can.  I have started hanging my clothes out in the fresh air to dry, because I like to and because I can.  There’s no draconian homeowners’ association in our village to say I can’t, and no silly town ordinances.  I can do whatever I want here.  I can have my hens which provide us and our variety of egg customers with beautiful farm fresh eggs.  I can put my garden where I want it, as big as I want it.   I can have bee hives next year to similarly supply honey.  If I want to build an arts building here in the future (and I do), I can.   I can paint my exterior doors purple.  Yes.  It’s happening.  This fall.

I also plan to apply this new found time and freedom to my work with Parris House Wool Works.  This fall we plan to add an ecommerce module, using Shopify, to our website, so that you no longer have to click over to Etsy via a link, but can shop right from the home page.  In the Maine studio we are adding Apple Pay to our many methods of payment.

We are still working on finding the right assistance for making instructional and just plain entertaining videos for our YouTube channel.   One of my primary resources for this, family friend Brandon Pelletier, is, ironically, heading off to college in August too.  We have also been asked if we could create on-line courses as well and that is something we will be turning our attention to this fall.  In a business where I’ve worn just about every single hat, this is that rare thing I don’t think I can pull off without external expertise, but I do feel that I will have a little extra time to devote to developing these things.

We will also be offering more kits.  While our philosophy with students is to encourage hooking your own thing of your own design in your own chosen colors as soon as you possibly can, we know that kits can be very useful for beginners or also just a relaxing pastime for more experienced hookers.

There will more classes and workshops offered in rug hooking and other skills and crafts at the Maine studio.  Just as it’s been all year, I will be teaching some, and bringing in other artisans and experts for others.  I have found that I enjoy teaching more than almost anything else, and need to do more of it.  Watch our Classes & Workshops website tab and our Facebook events tab as these are added.

We have new soaps and other bath products set to come out for the holiday shopping season as well as a 2016 Parris House Wool Works Calendar.  Look for these in the October/early November time frame.

Finally, we started Parris House Wool Works because we love rug hooking.  With our focus on patterns and supplies, and providing custom patterns and supplies on demand, sometimes same day for custom patterns, to both on line and in studio customers, guess what?  I’m not doing a lot of rug hooking.  That’s also going to change this fall.  We plan to offer more finished pieces, and more art pieces, particularly more pieces that reflect our own sources of inspiration and our own developing styles.  The “hook what you love” mantra is going in to full effect.

And that may be the most important thing of all.   Hook what you love.  I say it to students, hooking friends, people who ask my opinion.  Just hook what you love, and let the chips fall where they may.  That is the juncture where business becomes art and a way of life.  When your nest empties, you do a lot of thinking about how you want to live your next life chapter, and the admonition “do what you love, love what you do,” the one that started Parris House Wool Works to begin with, is the one that’s with me most.

Happy rest of the summer, happy impending fall, and happy hooking!  – Beth

And the Universe Said, “Yes.” – Squam Art Workshops, Spring 2015

Chalkboard1

I am rarely at a loss for words.  I’m an avid writer of blog posts, and an even more able chatterer (unless the context is public speaking…then all bets are off).  Words are my thing.  I usually choose them carefully and aim them true, but here I sit finding it difficult to find the right ones to convey everything I experienced at the Squam Art Workshops last week.  The last time I was this verbally lost over an experience I had taken my oldest son and fellow Thoreauvian, then 17, to Walden Pond. The blog post that followed that trip was called, “Speechless…for a change.”

For months prior to teaching at Squam I had been contemplating what my proper direction in this craft really should be.  Like all big decisions, the answer was right there all along.  You know how this feels.  The answers are located right in the center of your being, it feels almost like they’re sitting at the center of your body, and therefore the old turn of phrase “gut feeling” applies.  We treat these gut feelings like heartburn or hangovers.  We ignore them when we’re very busy doing whatever it is we think we should be, or when they don’t seem convenient.

But at Squam, you’re living in that space where the answers are, and the pressing and influencing expectations of others, or even of yourself, fall away.  You are encouraged to be in the present moment, to be attentive to process, not product, and to shelve your preconceptions and let the retreat unfold for you as it will.  As it is said at Squam, this is where the magic happens.

DreamCatcher
The lacy dreamy dreamcatcher at the Squam Art Workshops. We were encouraged to write our dreams on a feather and pin them to the bottom. I actually pinned the dream of a dear friend on to this, because at Squam, you feel as though all of your own have come true.

Squam feels magical, but I would be remiss if I did not say this:  the magic is made in part by the vision and hard work of Director Elizabeth Duvivier, her assistant Forrest Elliott, and every single person who helps her, including the staff at Rockywold Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake.  While I am a true believer in the manifestation of dreams, I believe equally that none of that manifestation takes place without the hard work behind the dream.  Elizabeth and everyone involved do that hard and heartfelt work, and to them I am so grateful.

Of course, I went to Squam to teach rug hooking at the beginner level.  I owe this to Elizabeth’s generosity in inviting me, on taking a chance on someone and something completely new to Squam, because my friend, poet Sarah Sousa, called my work to her attention last year.  As I was explaining to my own teacher and mentor yesterday, I learned so much from my students that I am still processing it all.  At Squam, students are uncommonly open, adventurous, and filled with energy.  They are also collaborative and incredibly kind.  I’m not sure there is another teaching experience quite like this.   There are those that are as good, but Squam brings together artists and artisans with a unique kind of creativity and camaraderie, and to teach them is really an honor.   I hope I lived up to it.

ClassCollage1
Zodiac, the home to our class, Modern Heirloom, at Squam.
Classroom1
I brought a little wool for my students…

I want to apologize for not getting pics of my first of two classes.  To my students in that first class, you are every bit as dear to me as those in the second!  I was simply very focused on running that first class for the first time and did not break out the camera.

Here are my amazing and beautiful students from the second session.  Every student I had, from both classes, picked up this craft in a heartbeat and immediately started making it her own.  Some had stories to tell of how their fore mothers had practiced rug hooking, and of the hooked pieces that had been handed down.  Since part of our mission is to keep this heritage craft alive and thriving in to the next centuries, it was so rewarding to see the enthusiasm and creativity at work in these wonderful women.

ClassCollage2
We hooked inside…
ClassCollage3
We hooked outside…
ClassCollage4
The variety of interpretations of the pattern was really fun to see.
ModernHeirloom
This was the prototype design, but every student created something very unique to her own aesthetic and style.

Why did I choose a dock and dragonfly for the prototype design?  Well, this is Squam lake, our venue…

Lake2

LakeCollage1

LakeCollage2

Having grown up summering on Little Sebago Lake in Gray, Maine (see a previous post on this here), I really feel at home and in my element in this kind of environment.  It centers me in a way no other space can, and this contributed to the magic I felt at Squam.

Also contributing to the magic?  Great lodging and great food.  I shared our cottage, aptly named “Bungalow,” with Sarah Sousa.  We had a great time catching up, having not seen one another in person in almost two years.

CabinCollage

DiningHall
The food was amazing. Whatever your dietary choices or restrictions are, you are well taken care of.

RDCCollage1 RDCCollage2

And then, of course, there was yarn bombing.  Lots and lots of yarn bombing.

YarnBomb1 YarnBomb2 YarnBomb3 YarnBomb4 YarnBomb5 YarnBomb6 YarnBomb7 YarnBomb8 YarnBomb12 YarnBomb13 YarnBomb16

And the chalkboards…every day at the dining hall…

ChalkboardCollage

The Squam Art Fair and Ravelry Revelry, held on the last evening of the retreat, is a hand made paradise.  The amount of talent and creativity in that one room is humbling.  It is open to the public, and I highly recommend you visit it – and shop! – whenever it is held.  I did not get many pictures of the fair because I was a participant with a table, however, there are many pics out there on the net.

ArtFairCollage1 ArtFairCollage2

I went to Squam not knowing exactly what to expect.  I was a bit nervous about teaching for the first time there.  Would I be good enough?  Would my class be engaging enough?  After all, this was a very accomplished group of students who had already worked with some very well known teachers.  Would I be enough?  What I discovered was two-fold.  On the one hand, I was enough.  I received the sweetest feedback on my class from my students, and I want to reach through the screen and hug every one of you.  On the other hand, I have so much to learn and so many directions in which to grow.  I was enough, but I can be so much more.  This is one of the primary lessons of Squam.  We are enough.  Right here and right now, in this moment, we are enough.  And yet, we are filled with potential at every point in our lives to do more and be more and catch our dearest dreams.

In the midst of these lessons, I gained clarity.  Questions offered up for weeks and months were answered resoundingly in the affirmative, and that’s a gift.   I do not believe my experience is unique.  I think this was happening all around me, in the lives of my fellow “Squammies.”   If we give ourselves the space and the freedom, the answers come.

The little fairy village below was on the wooded path between the dining hall and my classroom.  Literally and figuratively, love and spirit can be found along the paths at Squam.   Hope to see you there next year.  In the meantime, happy living and happy hooking.  – Beth

FairyVillage

“Me, Myself, & I” Self Portrait – A Beyond the Basics Class by Connie Fletcher – Join Us!

MMICollage

We have a great new class coming up in June at the Maine studio with Connie Fletcher of Seven Gables Rug Hooking!  Read on for details…

Want to take your hooking in a more creative direction?  Looking to add techniques to your hooking “tool box?” Join us and learn how in the “Me, Myself and I” class.    

            The goal of this class will be to hook an interpretive self-portrait using any or all of the following:

–        Loop and cut shagging

–        Tunneling

–        Pixelating

–        Fingering

–        Scrumbling

–        Applied embroidered elements

–        Standing wool elements

–        Proddy

–        Shading off the shelf

We will also explore adding:

–        Buttons, ribbons, beads, and jewelry

Please bring embellishments (buttons/beads/jewelry) that have a special meaning to you.  These items will help you create your unique self-portrait.

 The goal of this creative exploration will be to exhibit our self-portraits at the Parris House Wool Works hook-in on November 7

 First class will be held on June 9 at 10:30 am.  Additional mini-classes and consultations will be held on an as needed basis as the creative process unfolds.  Your pattern (9” X 10”) on linen and wool will be provided.  Cost for class:  $45. 

If this sounds like a great time to you, contact me at 207-890-8490 or parrishousewoolworks@gmail.com to sign up.  Hope to see you there!  – Beth

Upcoming Classes in April at the Maine Studio! Join Us!

ClassesCollage

One of the things we promised to do in 2015 was offer more educational classes in a variety of great crafts and skills.  So here we go!  Here are some brand new offerings for April.  Space is limited for each class, so please contact me (Beth) at 207-890-8490 or at ParrisHouseWoolWorks@gmail.com to sign up!

Saturday, April 11th – MAKE A MAY BASKET WITH MASTER BASKET WEAVER KAREN ELLIS

MayBasketKarenEllis

10 am to 3 pm. Who doesn’t want to make an adorable May basket just in time for Spring!?  This basket can be made in a variety of colors.  Karen will bring many colored reeds to choose from!

The $30 class fee includes all materials needed. Just bring yourself and a bag lunch! Snacks and beverages will be provided. Space is limited to 12 students, so sign up soon!

Tuesday, April 14th – PENNY RUG/APPLIQUE WITH FIBER ARTIST MARY DELANO

MaryDelanoCollage

9:30 am – 3:30 pm.  Join us for a wonderful penny rug/applique class with fiber artist Mary DeLano (see her artist profile here: https://fibercollege.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/artist-profile-mary-delano/).

Mary goes beyond the blanket stitch in this class suitable for beginners and also those who want to learn new stitches and techniques for penny rug making. Mary will provide her expertise, embroidery floss, ribbon, and other notions as well as some wool materials. Students need to bring the wool for the background and any scrap wool they might like to incorporate in to their design, and a pair of scissors. We also have plenty of wools and scraps at the Maine studio to choose from.

Class is $45. Please RSVP to secure your spot!

Saturday, April 18th – INTRODUCTION TO WOOL DYEING WITH BETH MILLER

DyeClassCollage

9 am to 12 noon.  We will introduce pot dyeing, microwave dyeing, and casserole dyeing in colors of your choice, and maybe make new recipes with experimentation!  Class including materials, $32.   Space is limited to four students.  This one is almost full right now, so don’t hesitate!

I will continue to post class offerings here, but you can also always go to our Workshops & Classes tab to see what’s scheduled for the year.  Hope to see many of you in the studio!

Happy hooking! – Beth

Just a reminder…Works Wednesday! And other news.

WorksWednesday

Our ongoing feature, Works Wednesday, continues over on our Facebook page.   Join us, or feel free to post your current project in the comments here!

In other news, Jen and I are in the beginning stages of developing interactive webinars where you can join us for chats and demonstrations on a variety of topics relating to hooking and homesteading.  Stay tuned for more info and a schedule.

This Saturday’s dye class in Maine may well not happen, as I do not have sufficient sign ups.  If you are still interested, please contact me at 207-890-8490 by the end of the day tomorrow.  Otherwise, we’ll shoot for another time in April.

Happy Wednesday and happy hooking! –  Beth

First Beginner Dye Workshop at the Maine Studio Set for January 24th

I will be teaching our first beginner dye workshop at the Maine studio on Saturday, January 24th from 9 a.m. to noon.  For time, safety, and instructional purposes, I have to limit the class size to four students at a time, and will run the class only if I get at least two signed up.   This is experimental as we have not taught dyeing here before, so let’s see how this time and format works for everyone!

This class is best suited for those who have either never dyed wool before, or who need a refresher before trying it again after a long time away from it.

We will be learning three basic types of dyeing in this class:

1) Pot Dyeing

Aug4Dye6

Basic pot dyeing gives a single color to a piece of wool.  This technique can be used nonetheless to get a variety of shades of the same color, and you can put a variety of wools in to the same pot to yield different results, but essentially, there is one overall color in the pot.  This color may be made from a single dye or a recipe of several dyes mixed to achieve the desired color.

2) Microwave Dyeing

Aug4Dye1

Remember tie dyeing at summer camp?  It’s a little like that.  Multiple colors may be used on a single piece of wool for a variety of great effects.  Fun, fun, fun.

3) Casserole Dyeing

Sorry this photo is blurry!  Think of looking at steaming wool! We are going to use an electric skillet for this.  It is another method for dyeing multiple color pieces, but I find that the blending of the colors is a little softer from color to color in the casserole than in the microwave technique.

We will be using Cushing Perfection Dyes which come from Kennebunkport, Maine and are available in a very wide variety of colors for use alone or mixing and matching.

Cost of the class will be $32 per student which will include the class, printed handouts for reference at home, 3 fat quarters of plain white wool to dye, plus 1 fat quarter of textured wool of your choice to try an overdye with.

If interested, please call me at 207-890-8490, email at parrishousewoolworks@gmail.com, or send a private message on our Facebook page! First come, first served.  We will do dye workshops in Maine quarterly and the next class will be held on April 25th.

Hope to see some of you for a fun day of dyeing!  – Beth

What’s In Store for 2015? Maine Edition

designed by Freepik.com
designed by Freepik.com

It’s been an exciting 2014 for Parris House Wool Works.  2014 was the first full year that the Maine studio was open.  This year we firmly established the best.hooking.group.ever meeting every Tuesday in Maine, we were welcomed in to the Beekman 1802 Rural Artist Collective (thank you Josh, Brent, staff, and every living thing at Beekman 1802!), we were finalists in the Martha Stewart American Made contest, and we had an even better 2nd Annual Paris Hill Hook-In.  We redesigned our website, made many new friends and customers, and introduced our soap line and other new products and patterns.   I continued my participation in The Keeping Room’s fall Harvest Hook-In and Hooked Treasures’ Spring Fling Hook-In (thank you Toni and Cherylyn!).  Thanks to Cathy at the Oxford Mill End Store I taught quite a crop of beginning hooking students there this year.  I also got to teach a wonderful group at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village last summer (thank you, Michael and everyone at SDL!) and participate in Open Farm Day there.

So what’s on tap for 2015?  Well, here are just a few of the ideas I plan to bring to fruition.

MORE CLASSES

I’ve been asked to teach a beginner dye class for a very long time now.  Our first beginner dye class in Maine will be held in January, with beginner dye classes held quarterly thereafter in April, August, and November.  I will also start beginning hooking workshops quarterly, in February, May, September, and December.  In addition, I will try to schedule more classes by other teachers, including Connie Fletcher for her popular Tips & Tricks class again if possible.   Watch the “Classes & Workshops” section of the website for specific date announcements!

The incomparable Connie Fletcher of Seven Gables Rug Hooking teaching her Tips & Tricks class to the Maine studio hookers.

MORE HAND DYES

Our hand dyed wool is becoming more and more popular and in demand.  I will be setting aside more time to bring you beautiful hand dyes.  I will continue custom dyeing services as possible, but hope to increase the variety of hand dyes on the shelf so as to bring more options in any case.

PARRIS HOUSE PUBLICATIONS

There’s been banter in the Maine studio about creating a cook book based on the recipes and hooking experiences of our Tuesday group.  I would like to make that a reality this year, as well as a Parris House Wool Works calendar (obviously a priority given that it’s almost January!), and possibly hooking themed note cards and other paper goods to celebrate our love of the craft.  And, of course, our quarterly email newsletter will continue.  Stay tuned for news on this.

Vegetable latke recipe made by Beth, but given to her by Maine hooker Libby Armstrong.

EXPANSION OF OUR SOAP AND SPA PRODUCT LINE

We are working on new all natural scents all the time.  In Maine, our newest soap scent is Winter Peppermint Potpourri.  These new soaps will be available in January at the Maine studio, at the McLaughlin Garden gift shop, and in our Etsy shop.  Also in development are lotions, cream perfumes, and candles.  We hope to eventually offer “spa sets” for gift giving or just for personal pampering.

SEPTEMBER MAINE LAKE HOOKING & HIKING RETREAT

This is the year we do this thing, the Hooking & Hiking Weekend Retreat at Sunset Haven on Little Sebago Lake in Gray, Maine.  As a Registered Maine Guide, I have been looking forward to combining two of my passions, hiking and hooking, and sharing them with hookers at a special, restful retreat.  We’ll keep the hiking at a level everyone can do (or if that part of the program is not your thing, you can hang out at Sunset Haven on the lakeside deck with a glass of wine) and bring the warm and relaxed ambiance we have at Tuesday group in Paris to the lake.  Space will be limited.  I will have detailed information and registration materials up on our web page and social media by March, so keep an eye out.

MAINE STUDIO HIT AND MISS RUG FOR CHARITY

Again, acting on an idea that came from the Tuesday hooking group, I will provide a large hit and miss pattern on a single piece of linen for our hookers – or anyone who comes in to the studio – to work on at their leisure.  We still have a BIG basket of random worms bequeathed to us by Artful Hands, and we ALL have our not-so-secret stashes of leftover worms from other projects.  Two of our Tuesday group hookers have been affected by kidney disease, and so, when the rug is finished we will raffle it off to benefit a charity relating to that disease in 2015.

Rug by kidney transplant recipient and Maine studio hooker Irene Adams as a gift to her transplant team this year.

TEACHING AT SQUAM

Honestly, I am so bowled over by the opportunity to teach at the Squam Art Workshops in June, I don’t even know what to say.  Thank you, thank you to director Elizabeth Duvivier for this opportunity, and dear friend and poet Sarah Sousa who brought my art to Elizabeth’s attention.   Join us for a wonderful hooking workshop!

Those are just some of the highlights, but also on the goal sheet are:

  • the addition of many new patterns to our offerings, including more abstracts and contemporaries to go with our traditional fare
  • get a pattern featured in Rug Hooking Magazine!
  • be a featured maker on the Etsy blog!
  • enter the Martha Stewart American Made contest again
  • enter rugs for exhibit to Hooked in the Mountains
  • our 3rd Annual Paris Hill Hook-In – be there!
  • teaching again at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
  • possibly do a hooking retreat at the American Hotel in Sharon Springs, NY – TBD
  • attend the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival as vendors this year
  • the development of a line of both more hooked and non-hooked scented and warming pillows for the Etsy shop

Running a small business that is your dream and passion can be serendipitous, so in spite of all the careful planning and goal setting, I know there will be surprises along the way.  Goals set may happen slightly differently, and opportunities I can not dream of at this moment may present themselves.  In any case, none of this would be possible without you, dear reader, and so I thank you and wish you the happiest and most prosperous of New Years!  Happy New Year and happy hooking!  – Beth

Beth Will Be Teaching at the Squam Art Workshops, and Is She Ever Excited!

For those of you who have not heard of the Squam Art Workshops, directed by Elizabeth Duvivier and held both on Squam Lake in New Hampshire and in Providence, Rhode Island, I recommend you click HERE and watch the video, less than a minute long.

I’ll wait…

Did you watch it?  When I first watched that video earlier this year, my first thought was, “This is me.  This is who I am.”  My New England soul immediately connected with the lake, with the women lost in creative endeavor, with the natural surroundings, and I thought, “I have to go there some day.”

Imagine my delight and surprise when I was presented with an opportunity to teach there!  And that is just what I’ll be doing for the Spring Retreat, held June 3rd through the 7th, 2015.

I will be teaching a class, suitable for beginner hookers, called Modern Heirloom.  The pattern shown at the top of the page will be our foundation, but you can bet not a single one of them will look exactly like that finished, and if I’ve achieved my teaching goal, each one will reflect the inner heart and creativity of the individual student.  I will provide a wide variety of hand dyed and as-is wools, as well as a plethora of more unconventional materials for experimentation and expression.

If you’d like to know a little bit more about me, my teacher profile is here.  But be sure to read about all of the other wonderful teachers too, including my amazing friend Sarah Sousa who will be teaching a workshop called Found Poetry.

I will be teaching two classes of ten students each, so if you’d like to join us, please sign up soon!  Students come from all over the country and many describe the retreats as life changing.  Registration information may be found here for the Spring Retreat.  I hope to see some of you there!

Happy Monday, Happy December, and Happy Hooking! – Beth