On Saturday, November 4th, we had our Fifth Annual Paris Hill Hook In and I would say it was a great success. We changed things up quite a bit this year. Responding to feedback from hook ins that I’ve been an organizer and/or a vendor for, we reduced the number of guests from 62 to 50 this year in an effort to give everyone more space. We also went from three vendors to four. These are, to be honest, risky steps to take from the business side of conducting a hook-in, however, I would say that a good day was had by all and we plan to continue with these changes in coming years.
I would like to extend a bunch of “thank-yous” to the many people who made the day a success.
Firstly, I’d like to thank our guests for once again supporting this event, supporting our vendors, and being the reason the Paris Hill Hook In exists at all. Thank you, all!
My husband, Bill, and 24 year old son, James, gave a herculean amount of assistance in setting up and then breaking down the hall. They did lots of hauling, moving, and configuring on both ends of the event and I am very grateful for the help.
I’d like to thank the First Baptist Church of Paris and its Pastor Mary Beth Caffey for once again welcoming our event to their beautiful venue. Given the choice between getting a larger venue to make space or scaling down, I chose scaling down because I believe traditional hooking events, in venues with history, character, and grace are becoming rare. Our hooking heritage includes gathering in small, community spaces and supporting our home towns and villages. Because First Baptist Church is willing to have us every year, we can continue that tradition.
For the Love of Food & Drink, our caterers, knocked it out of the park again with an outstandingly delicious breakfast and lunch. Their kindness, conscientiousness, skill, and culinary excellence are a major part of what makes this event successful.
Our vendors are amazing! A huge thank you to Connie Fletcher of Seven Gables Rug Hooking, Ellen Marshall of Two Cats and Dog Hooking, and Cherylyn Brubaker of Hooked Treasures. And, of course, I was vending there too, and am very appreciative of everyone who shopped at my table yesterday. Did you miss the event this year? Click on all of our shop or web pages and shop the wonderful wares, just in time for the holiday season!
I am never able to get really great pictures at an event I’m personally running, so please excuse the lack of precision here. However, you will get a feel for how the event unfolded and hopefully see some faces you are familiar with. (To advance the slideshows, click on the arrows to the sides.)
Here are the pictures from setting up the day before. The church was so silent, in contrast to the busyness that characterizes the actual event.
And here are the pictures from the day, complete with beautiful sunrise over Paris Hill.
Finally, here are the rug show pictures. I was concerned that by scaling this event down the rug show would suffer, but no. Our guests delivered with a great number and variety of rugs. It goes without saying here that any design you see may not be copied without the artist’s/designer’s permission, so if there’s one you just love and want to track down ownership of, send me a message and I can try to get that information. Some of them I know right off because they are either my design and/or hooked by one of the Parris House Hookers/Tuesday Group members, but others I’d need to make a few contacts on.
Were you there at the Fifth Annual Paris Hill Hook In? We’d love to see your pics and hear your comments too. Remember, if you are using social media to post about the event, include the hashtag #parishillhookin so that we can all find one another’s posts.
Thanks to all, again, and keep an eye on the website’s Paris Hill Hook In tab for information about next year’s event.
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.
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…
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!
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 HookIn 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.
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.
The Fourth Annual Paris Hill Hook In is not yet filled! Join us on November 5th for a hook in that past participants describe as one of the best (and sometimes they say “the best) hook ins they have ever attended. I chalk this up to our warm, welcoming, and historic venue, our amazing locally catered fresh food, and, of course, the good company of over 60 hookers coming together for a wonderful fall day. We also have an informal rug show, the ringing (by you!) of the historic Revere Foundry church bell, and this year only we will pull the winning ticket for our Maine Medical Center raffle rug. Don’t have a ticket for that yet? No problem. You can buy them now by clicking here or you can even buy them in person the morning of the hook in. Once again we will be welcoming Kim Dubay of Primitive Pastimes and Cherylyn Brubaker of Hooked Treasures as our vendors, along with, of course, Parris House Wool Works. There will be door prizes as well (it’s not a hook in without door prizes).
You can get a hook in registration form HERE, but there’s a doubly fun way to sign up. You can join us this coming weekend for Maine Craft Weekend! We will be participating by having the Maine studio open both days, Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Here is what you can expect: Parris House Wool Works is located in the beautiful Paris Hill National Historic District of the Western Lakes & Mountains Region of Maine. You can find us at the 200 year old historic Parris House at 546 Paris Hill Road, Paris and we will be open both days to introduce you to the heritage craft of North American wool-on-linen rug hooking! Join us for refreshments, demonstrations, lessons in rug hooking, and a studio filled with everything you need for the craft, including hooks, frames, original patterns, and wool, as well as assorted finished decor pieces to purchase. You will also be able to buy a raffle chance on a 3’x5′ hooked rug to benefit the Maine Medical Center Kidney Transplant Program; drawing November 5th. Feel free to walk the historic village while you’re here! Walking tour maps will be available.
We have recently added a variety of classes and events to our new calendar, and you may notice that the website is completely, beautifully re-imagined. This creative work was done by Jacks McNamara of Root & Blossom Design. Her services were extremely professional, but also warmly collaborative so that the site ended up looking like Parris House Wool Works, not a cookie cutter version of other sites. I highly recommend her!
So, hopefully you will join us for Maine Craft Weekend, the Paris Hill Hook In, or any of the other fun classes and events we have scheduled for the fall and beginning of winter.
It’s time to save the date for the Third Annual Paris Hill Hook-In! We had such a great time the past two years, and especially last year in our new venue, the First Baptist Church of Paris. You can read about last year’s event HERE.
Registration is limited to 60 attendees so please register early. You can find a registration form by clicking HERE and download a flyer HERE.
While Jen’s been visiting this week, she decided that the floors in the Parris House were video worthy. Here is her video tour of the creaky old floors in their full noisiness, since it’s winter. In summer, the floors swell with humidity and tighten up, but mid-winter it’s a creak fest here. Let’s just say we can’t even have stealthy pets let alone stealthy family members in this house.
We’re expecting another snowstorm too. This is what Tuesday’s blizzard looked like on the village green, Paris Hill Village. I shot this video while Jen and I were walking (staggering?) around in the storm.
If you’d like to follow all of our videos as we add them, hopefully increasing our videography skills considerably, just subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
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:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
As the holiday season is upon us and the year draws to an end, we would like to thank our friends, customers, faithful Tuesday group in Maine, suppliers, retailers, and business associates for all of the support and enthusiasm that has contributed so importantly to the growth of our enterprise in 2014. It is with extremely grateful hearts that we thank ALL of you and sincerely wish you love, peace, joy, and especially, happy hooking, this season and all through the coming year.
In Season Magazine is a beautiful lifestyle magazine that you can subscribe to on-line covering food, recreation, product reviews, natural and healthy living, homesteading skills, and more. The photographs are lovely and inspiring, and the accompanying articles are interesting and helpful.
So, take a look! Supplies of our soap are currently limited because of the nature of our small batch production method, however, we are always making more, and will be increasing the number of batches in 2015. If you’d like some of what we have on hand, in a wonderful variety of natural scents, please follow the link in the In Season article to our Etsy shop and order before Christmas!
Our second annual Paris Hill Hook-In seems to have been a great success, thanks to both the attendees and all of the people who helped bring it together! I am very grateful to everyone who was a part of this event. I think it’s generally agreed that although our first hook-in last year was also great fun, this one was even better.
My husband, youngest son, and I worked with Reverend Mary Beth Caffey of the First Baptist Church of Paris to set up the venue. This is a new venue for us. Last year we used the 1853 Paris Hill Academy Building, but because of handicapped accessibility issues, we thought we’d try the church this year. The church is situated at the very center of historic Paris Hill village, and commands fantastic views of the village “loop” and the White Mountains in the distance. It’s beloved by us, and we think by the time Saturday was over, it was beloved by many more.
Reverend Caffey gave the group a nice presentation on the history of this building. If you are interested in a brief history, please click here. This building requires a great deal of tender loving care to keep it as beautiful and intact as it is. I would be remiss if I did not mention that there is a stewardship organization called Friends of the First Baptist Church. If you, or anyone you know, would like to make a donation to its care, please contact the church on its contact page.
We were so happy to have the same two wonderful vendors return this year for our hook-in. Cherylyn Brubaker of Hooked Treasures in Brunswick and Kim Dubay of Primitive Pastimes in Gray. So talented, so nice. It is always a joy to work with them.
So, aside from beautiful scenery and tempting vendors, what else is important to (hungry) hookers? The food! This year we had Jennicakes Bake Shop of Norway cater our hook-in and wow…well deserved rave reviews all around. Jennifer and her staff created and served wonderful pastries for breakfast and dessert, including gluten free options, and a savory lunch of pumpkin soup, vegetarian baked beans, turkey pot pie, salad, and fresh breads. There was so much left over of the sweets that we donated some to the church’s coffee hour for Sunday morning!
And, of course, we had our annual rug show. So much talent in one space. Ellen Marshall off Two Cats and Dog Hooking kindly and ably coordinated our rug show, which was held in the upstairs sanctuary of the church. Here is your virtual tour of our rug show…
I took a little climb up to the balcony space to photograph our attendees viewing the rug show…
One little surprise discovered by one of our rug show attendees…a hooked foot stool beneath a pew toward the front of the church. It is very old, hooked on burlap and affixed with the kind of hand wrought hardware that is also displayed, albeit in much larger form, in a glass case from when the church was renovated. Any guesses as to the age of this foot stool? Insight welcome!
If you would like to view all of the photos in larger format, click here.
Thanks again to all of our attendees and helpers! We will definitely be doing this again next year. Please watch our website and our Facebook page for details once I am able to come up with a date for next year. Also, do come see us at the Maine studio on December 6th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for our annual Holiday Open House. We’ll have refreshments, a prize drawing, open hooking, and 10% off all wool purchases. Hope to see you then and happy hooking! – Beth