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Trimming the Tree

An explosion of festive colors and creative techniques

By: Staci Shuck

Tannenbaum Technique Sampler, designed and hooked by Staci Shuck, 2018.

Design inspiration finds me in the most unlikely places and when I am least expecting it. In August 2017, I was one of the lucky students in Gene Shepherd’s Wide Cuts retreat class at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week. It was my first class with Gene and inspiration was all around, as it always is at Rug Hooking Week. I had direction for my class project, had color planned it, learned a few new techniques, and even shopped Gene’s great selection of wool. But I was distracted—no, I was fixated—on a class sample Gene had shown us, demonstrating the different sizes of hooking cuts.

Instead of a sample of hooking cuts, in my mind I saw a triangular shape of bright colors that would make a great holiday tree piece, filled with techniques to create texture and dimension. By the end of the first day of class I had purchased two rainbow packs of brightly colored wool from Gene and had sketched ideas for this holiday piece. 

Now I’m sharing it with you! Use a variety of techniques and mixed methods to create texture and dimension as your tree grows from trunk to treetop. Experiment with different size cuts, add embroidery stitches, and incorporate methods you’ve never used before to make a colorful Christmas tree sampler. 

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