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Wool & Friends: A Christmas Gathering

Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué & More, the book I co-wrote with my mother, Rebekah L. Smith, is one rooted in friendship and community. So when we were talking about what kind of an event to do as a book launch, we knew it had to involve our friends. So many people worked with us on the book, and so we thought, wouldn't it be fun to get them all together? But we couldn't stop there. So we made space for loyal followers and readers to join us in celebrating the launch. Thus was born Wool & Friends.

We found a cozy venue, Punderson Manor, not far from home, and invited folks to join us for a day of stitching, munching, learning and shopping. Mom and I decked out the beautiful space to give it a merry atmosphere.

Each attendee had a name tag waiting for them as they arrived. At each table, a hand-decorated cookie (made by another friend), a schedule for the day, and some take-home potpourri marked each seat. As a bonus, each person who attended also took home one of the little ivory bottle brush trees!

We started things off with a little welcome, which included embarrassing our collaborators and contributors. They joined us up front so that all our attendees could see who they were, and hopefully get them to sign by their picture in the book! Many who attended did this, much to my delight, and I got quite a few signatures for my personal copy. We did not manage to gather every single contributor, but we had quite a few who are included in the book!

One of the unique things about our book is its emphasis on using multiple techniques in tandem. In order to reflect this aspect of the book, we asked several of our friends to demonstrate the techniques found in the book. It was very casual, set up so folks could ask questions and get their interest piqued in a new technique. Every demonstration was packed! Some of the demonstrators also vended, so that attendees could stock up on supplies and kits.

Knowing that it is fun to see the book projects in person, we also set up a display of them, including some of the alternate color ways pictured in the back of the book. As beautiful as our pictures are, it is always so much better to see things in person.

Between demonstrations and lunch, which featured classic tea fare, the main room was open for stitching, hooking, punching, etc. Everyone brought something to work on, and it was a delight to see in person what all of you are making!

Overall, it was a delightful day for us. It is always a pleasure to interact with those who make wonderful objects with our designs. Our goal for the day was to just have some fun, and we did, indeed, have fun. We hope that those who joined us also had a splendid time, and that those who were not able to make can enjoy it through the pictures taken by my sisters and I. And we thank all of those who contributed to the book and joined us. What a joy to get together and celebrate the final product, which is better for their contributions than if it had simply been our own.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year full of stitching!

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