Well where might I spend my free weekend last Spring when not off in the Cape Mobile... a craft festival of course! Left my trusty sidekick at home and ventured off to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds in western Maryland. I happened upon a magical booth filled with felted gnomes and other woodland critters.
Going Gnome began quite by accident in 2008 by two sisters, Jennifer and Melissa VanSant. They had been running their bead and scrapbook store since 2005 and frequently spent time needle felting in the shop. They grew up knitting, sewing, crocheting and had a lifelong love of fiber. Jennifer and Melissa's love of gnomes seemed to want to manifest itself in needle felting. How well gnomes and wool go together! People would come into their shop and ask if they could buy our gnomes, could they teach them how to make them, and could they carry felting supplies in the shop.
On a whim Jennifer and Melissa applied to the NY Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY and managed to get a booth! They designed 3 kits, made a whole bunch of gnomes – and sold out what they brought! They were so excited and energized - they moved the shop, dropped the scrapbooking supplies and moved the felting supplies in.
Over the past 10 years Jennifer and Melissa have expanded their line of needle felting kits to 25, they offer 2 limited edition kits each year that change in October, Gnome of the year, and Holiday of the year. Going Gnome attends 15 retail and wholesale shows around the country each year, wholesale our kits to yarn, toy and gift stores, and spend many evenings and weekends teaching.
It has been exciting for them to introduce so many people to needle felting thought these channels. Three years ago they closed the doors of their brick and mortar store to focus exclusively on Going Gnome from their studio. These two talented sisters feel so honored that people have embraced this sweet and sometimes scary world they have created.
Going Gnome is active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Find their kits for sale at http://www.goinggnome.com