A felted chess Set April 13, 2015 00:00

As mentioned in the previous post we were invited to create an art piece for the gallery at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC.  We decided to create a felted chess set, with the pieces consisting of Gnomes (obviously) vs. Vikings. 

Viking King and Queen

Gnome King and Queen

We wanted the set to be larger than life so we chose to make it a 4ft. x 4ft. board with the pieces averaging around 12-14inches tall.  It was a challenge to create pieces that people would be able to recognize as their traditional counterparts. Mushrooms were an obvious choice for the pawns on the gnome side,  as were a gnome king and queen and viking king and queen.  Bishops presented a bit of a representation challenge, being settled with tree gnomes on the gnome side and howling wolves on the viking side.

Gnome Bishops

Viking Bishops

Viking dragon riders and gnome bear riders were fun to make for the knights. 


Viking Knights

Gnome Knights

The most frequently asked questions about building this felted chess set were: How long did it take?  Did you each make a side?  Can i make a move?  We spent a total of about 200 hours working on the set, and were thrilled with the results!  We both worked on both sides, though one of us made each set of companion figures (ie I made both wolf bishops on the viking side and gnome king and queen, Jen made both dragon rider knights and the viking king and queen.  We both spent many hours making mushroom and rock monster pawns! We did let people (carefully) play the game both in NY and in Seattle - boy are there are a lot of chess enthusiasts out there!!  Most were thrilled that the set was complete with a chess clock and and a gnome time keeper!

New ideas for new large scale art pieces are always swirling around.....stay tuned....


New Gnome Photos September 20, 2013 12:46


With all the rain we've had mushrooms were springing up all over the place! what better inspiration for a gnome photo shoot could there be! Here's a few of the shots we got.  We are felting away getting ready for the busy busy show season which begins in (gulp) 2 weeks.  The ever present million dollar question remains - can we make enough stuff? Better get back to the felting, more to come.........

30 Gnomes in 30 Days January 10, 2013 17:16 2 Comments

 What an amazing, record breaking year 2012 was!  We felted our fingers swollen and bloody, our necks and backs ached with fatigue, our right biceps began to resemble one of Popeye’s forearms, and despite not being able to find anything on the internet related to “felting injuries” I’m quite certain I had a severe case of Felter’s Thumb.  All that and we still sold nearly every piece we made!  And then came the end of the show season and a welcome break for our over felted souls.  I could neither fathom how to fill my days without felting, nor bear the sight of my felting pad.  Fortunately the busy chaos of the holidays helped pass the days, and I finally recalled that I used to do things like vacuum, cook meals, and um….dust?  After tending to some much needed regrouping we find ourselves only weeks away from our first event of 2013 with no felting stock to speak of, and the list making begins….What will we need for the show?  How much felting can a person actually do in a week? Jennifer and I discussed all this while bemoaning our feelings of having out felted ourselves.  And then Jen asked: “What if we had a picture of every gnome we had made?”  I can say with certainty we could wallpaper our studio with them!  And as we searched for inspiration to carry on and promised our fingers we would be more careful with them, the idea came: 30 Gnomes in 30 Days.  We will make a gnome a day until our show on February 9th and post a picture of each one.  Some may have a story to tell, or thoughts that go with them, some may just be a photograph…SO here we go….

 1/10/13 - Jen and I have long struggled with making girl gnomes, it can be so difficult to make their faces sweet, and they often turn out witchy. Sometimes there is nothing to be done but to give the poor girls beards and make them dudes! I decided to start the 30 days with a girl gnome in lovely girly colors as a commitment to myself and to my gnomes to love the girls that need chins and smiles.

Day1 - January 10th:

 And lest you think we will only be making gnomes for the next 30 days, rest assured there are plenty of sheep and foxes and bears being made as well – oh my!

1/13/13 - Jennifer and I and our husbands managed to escape our store, jobs, and kids and get away for a night!  It was a wonderful trip our parent's had given us (it only took us a year to find a time to go) to Howe Caverns in NY for a lantern tour and wonderful dinner at a 1700's tavern.  So here are gnomes 2, 3, and 4...

Day 2: January 11th

Day 3: January 12th 


Day 4: January 13th









1/14/11 - We recieve calls or emails from time to time from people with gnomes of ours that have met an untimely demise due to dog attack!  I recieved just such an email just last week - In great distress, I was informed that a 7 year old girl's gnome had been all but destroyed by a lovely but exuberant golden retriever. Could it possibly be replaced?  Well, no gnome can ever be completely replicated, but we do try.  I asked if she could describe her gnome, which she did very well, and could she send me a picture of the remains so I could try and make a close match, sadly there was only a tiny bit of green fluff left....So here's her replacement:

Day 5: January 14th


1/15/13 - Wow, I was joking about being bad at this but... i am worried that this next cutie is going to be sideways... here he is in all his glory.

Day 6: January 15th


Day 7: January 16th


1/17/13: Sometimes the felting just goes so slowly! Is it the wool? Is it dull needles? Or is it me??  I have gnomes that just refuse to get their arms on, bugs with no feet, rocks that need eyes, and cones that are sadly just cones....Here it is 5:05pm, past closing time, and today's gnome is finally finished, by the skin of my teeth. Lucky gal has a newly renovated strawbery to live in!

Day 8: January 17th


Day 9 and 10: January 18th and 19th


1/20/13 - Felting tip: When making lady gnomes it is very important to create neck definition when forming your cone.  This will really help create a cute face.

Day 11: January 20th


Day 12: January 21st


1/22/13 - Today was fiercely cold and I couldn't help but wish for Spring... the result was this bright fellow with his band of ladybugs to cheer me up with the promise of warrmer days.  May add spots to his hat...

Day 13 - January 22


Day 14: January 23rd

 Day 15:  January 24th

1/25/13 - things are going well here at Going Gnome, we are preparing for a weekend of teaching at a women's wellness weekend in Becket, MA.  Last year we had a blast, and we are looking forward to the two classes we are teaching.  Here is my gnome for today...
- Jen

Day 16: January 25th


1/26/13 - what fun we had, our classes was full, 30 women in each class and they made 60 adorable gnomes between them.  thanks for all the good times, todays gnome is featuring his rad house, complete with detachable rock monster friend. enjoy! -Jen

Day 17:  January 26th


Day 18: January 28th


1/31/13 - Ok, Ok it's been 2 days with no posting - What excuse could there possibly be....Well - have you ever done inventory in a bead store?  I know I know - don't we just sit around and felt all day?  Sadly no.  There is this store we own that requires all kinds of work, and maintenance, and this time of year that includes the dreaded taxes!  One of our least favorite jobs is inventory.  I thought my brain would explode from counting beads for hours upon hours.  Suffice to say it is done, and despite all that we did make our three gnomes, so here they are.  -Melissa

Day 19, 20, and 21 - January 29th, 30th, and 31st


Day 22: February 1st


2/3/13 - Sometimes you just have to make a whole army of pocket gnomes!  Here is evidence of how Jen spent her weekend - 20 finished, and still making more!  Nice job Jen - keep up the good work! - Melissa

Days 23 and 24: February 2nd and 3rd


Day 25: February 4th

2/5/13 - Well this journey is coming to a close.  This tree man is a favorite of mine, I especially love his bald spot, bald gnomes are under-represented. - Jen

Day 26 - February 5th


Day 27: February 6th


Day 28: February 7th


             Can you find the new gnome on our table, I'll give you a hint, he is tall and has a green beard...

Day 29 - Febuary 8th


DAY 30!!!- Febuary 9th

2/9/13 - 15 inches of snow last night, and this guy is ready!  Making 30 gnomes in 30 days has been fun - maybe 365 in a year next?  shhhh... don"t tell melissa

2012, June??? June 12, 2012 12:59

Greetings from Going Gnome!  This blog entry has been waiting to be written since January, I am amazed and somewhat horrified to see it is now June!  I had great intentions for posting my thoughts and reflections on 2011 and all that happened for Going Gnome.  Well, now that just seems like old news.....seeing as we're already in full swing with 2012 felting and show season. 

First off how about a shout out to the beloved sheep that provide us with such an amazing substance to work with!! WHoop WHoop! Here are a few I pass everyday when I drive my kids to school, lambing season on a sheep farm is a wonder to behold, with new tiny babies arriving every day:

For my second shout out I'd like to thank my Aunt, Uncle and cousins for hosting us for the weekend of the PA Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm!  It was at this event that we debuted Going Gnome's latest new creations: DRAGONS! In a burst of creative inspiration 4 dragons were born and travelled to the Fair and were loved by many:
Give me a " Huzzah!" for 30 pounds of wool not blowing off the top of the car on the return trip from PA.

And my third and final shout out is to my sister and partner in gnome crime - Jennifer!  I can't really begin to describe how amazing it is to have your work (and i use this term loosley since having as much fun as we do it can hardly be called work) be so fullfilling.  We really have more fun than should be allowed, she keeps me inspired, and Going Gnome wouldn't be here without her. 
Next stop: the Stockbridge Arts Festival.....Keep an eye out for more new creations, Melissa

Top 10 reasons to own a Gnome: October 12, 2011 11:21

10.Gnomes bring good luck.

9.  Gnomes will help care for your pets (except your cats whom they do not like!)

8.  Gnomes like to party, and if you are lucky might invite you to join them.

7.  Gnomes are a conversation starter (people invariably will ask why on earth you have a gnome in your house!)

6.  Gnomes are good for your yard and garden - if you think you have a “green thumb” think again, and count yourself lucky that you have some Gnomes helping you out!

5.  A Gnome is bound to make you smile (and
really, who doesn’t need more excuses to smile?)

4.  Of all the various types of wee folk, Gnomes are some of the easiest to co-habitate with.

3. There is really no good reason not to own a Gnome.

2. Gnomes are just so darn cute!

1. The #1 reason to own a Gnome - it keeps Going Gnome going!!!

Getting ready for NY Sheep and Wool October 10, 2011 12:42 1 Comment

So here we are, less then a week from the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck NY! 
Saturday October 15th from 10am-5pm and Sunday the 16th from 10am-5pm.
The felting needles are in high gear, our fingers are covered in band aids, and the shop is full to bursting with gnomes, animals, and kits galore!  Jen and I are especially excited for the fair this year as we are debuting Going Gnome, several new kits, new kit packaging, and lots of new felted goods (look for the rock monsters - they are awesome!).  It’s hard to believe it’s just a few days away....

Things we look forward to at the festival every year:

    1. Seeing our booth neighbors (I need to restock on Heal my Hands)
    2. Maple flavored cotton candy - It is white and looks exactly like wool batting - If I had a dollar for every person who sees us eating it and thinks we are eating wool I could go ahead and take early retirement!
    3. Chicken pot pie!  It takes a good hour wait in a VERY long line to get a pot pie, and often they run out before you get one, but they sure are worth it!
    4. The parade of the fair goers woolly finest. You would be hard pressed to find a better sampling of fine knitted, woven, felted, and crochet goods being worn around in one place - it is truly inspiring.
    5. Listening to the sheep bleating, seeing the llama parade, admiring all the wonderful yarns and wool goods for sale are just the icing on the cake!
    6. And last but certainly not least, seeing customers form previous years, hearing about the things they’ve made with our kits and other adventures in felting, and meeting lots of new faces that are as charmed by gnomes as we are!

So, for now I better get back to my felting - 6 mushroom caps are staring me down and wondering when they will get their stems.  I’m so excited for Friday’s set up, and the opening of the fair on Saturday.  If you’ve never been you should really check it out, it is a great event!!!  

Remember to stop by booth T in building 36 - look for the mushroom topped tent - it’s hard to miss....