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Heather Ritchie Retreat 

Hook & Stitch a Picturesque Scene


Heather Ritchie
Reeth, England

“Hook & Stitch a Picturesque Scene”

4 Day Retreat: 

Tuesday – Friday, August 17 – 20, 2021
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$400.00 / Sauder Village Members $380.00
Heritage Inn – Homestead A



Hook and stitch a story, an English garden, or perhaps the view from a cozy cottage window or a drive through the beautiful countryside.  

The focus of this Retreat will be to incorporate a number of techniques and materials in your project. Heather’s philosophy… No rules! But the more the merrier, when it comes to creating texture. Heather will work with students in advance, so they can select either one of Heather’s sketched scenes or one of their own.


Ritchie-2Heather’s own work features the mixing of textures through the use of many different fabrics and techniques. Proddy is a favorite technique of Heather’s, combined with hooking, it adds wonderful dimension. Over the last few years, Heather has also added appliqué and then hooked around it to create delightful pictures or pillows. She will show you how to embellish and embroider on the appliqué too. Appliqué requires scraps from your scrap bag, such as cottons, silks, woolen fabrics, sewing and embroidery threads along with embellishments. This is a great way to use up supplies from your own projects, borrow supplies from friends who are textile artists, and recycle too!

Since Heather can’t bring lots of fabrics all the way from England, students will be given suggestions of what supplies to bring and then everyone can share their supplies during the Retreat. Students may also source supplies from our extensive and diverse Vendors and the Sauder Quilt Shop too.

This will be a fun and relaxed Retreat, with no stress, and no rules.



Basic - Students must have basic rug hooking knowledge and experience.

Basic hooking supplies: a frame, scissors, cutter, cutter blades, and a hook. Heather will provide a list of suggestions for additional fabrics, tools, threads and embellishments.


Heather Ritchie lives in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in England. She has been hooking since 1971, when a local farmer’s wife showed her how to make rugs to warm up her old stone cottage. Her first rugs were made from lisle stockings on old sacks. Many years later she was introduced to fine hooking and wool dyeing. From then on, she was thrilled to be able to replicate the beautiful country scenes of her beloved Dales. 

In 1997, Heather was a student at the Green Mountain Rug School in Vermont. She found she was spending all of her free time demonstrating proddy techniques. At that time, few American rug makers knew about this technique. Heather uses proddy to introduce mixed textures into her work. Many friends were made in Vermont, and soon after, Ann Ashworth rang her from America. Ann invited Heather back to Vermont to teach a class the following year. Heather was so excited - it was like winning the lottery! That was the start of Heather’s many years of traveling to teach in many US states, Canadian provinces and Australia too, including Sauder Village in 2009. She reckons the students like to listen to her soft northern England dialect. Heather also has a video and book called Rug Hooked Story Telling. 

In 2004, Heather read about the plight of blind people in the African country of Gambia. The blind were having such a dreadful time, with poverty and begging as a big part of their lives. As a former social worker and occupational therapist, Heather felt compelled to travel to Africa to see if she could help them. So, with her daughter Chrissie (who is a rehabilitation officer for the blind) they set off to Gambia to see if they could teach them rug hooking. Hooking enabled the blind to provide for their families by selling their rugs. Rug Aid (a not-for-profit organization) was started. Heather’s goal was to make a difference to some of the poorest communities in Africa by providing people with the opportunity to bring about change in their lives “from the bottom up”. Every year since, Heather and Chrissie travel to work with the blind students. A workshop was established, where students could meet, work, and sell to the public. Rug making is helping blind families pay for essentials, like food and school fees.


Registration starts at 10 am on November 18, 2020
Follow this link for information on the registration form:
Retreats Registration