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Michelle Palmer Retreat 

Rug Hooking with a Painterly Twist


Michelle Palmer
Palmyra, New York &

Rug Hooking with a Painterly Twist

4 Day Retreat: 

Tuesday – Friday, August 15 – 18, 2023
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$400.00 / Sauder Village Members $380.00   
Heritage Inn – Homestead A



Santa-rug-PalmerMichelle was a painter before she became a fiber artist, and it’s that beautiful painterly effect or quality that she has in her fiber art, which this rug hooking retreat will focus on. Students will be exploring the use of highlights and shadows while discovering the importance of negative space and atmosphere. You will also learn to build contrast with color and texture to support the main subject.

Over the 4 days, we will focus on identifying and building your main subject and developing the areas around it. Softening details that are less important by adjusting the strength of color, placements of highlights and shadows or adding texture. We build interest in our rugs by adding details seen in nature to our compositions. Stand atop the tallest hill in the morning mist, as you look across the horizon, notice the subtle tone of each consecutive hill becoming softer, cooler, more muted. The jagged base of old barns, deeper in color and shadows from snow and water continually soaking the wood. Lichen and moss blanketing stones along field edges. Identifying the season through color; tender chartreuse leaves in the springtime that mature to deep green by mid-summer and onto brilliant red, leather-like, blankets in autumn. Using photographs of landscapes or still life, paired with the knowledge of what our eyes actually see, help to develop painterly rugs.


Always hook, paint, draw what touches your heart. What gets you excited? This retreat will explore everything from simple subjects, like an old crock or jug, a patch of daisies growing wild in a field or galvanized watering cans blanketed with an early autumn snow to a rural landscape.

Students will select from Michelle’s pattern collection, her designs are the perfect focus for this retreat and vary from landscapes, still lifes, and seasonal themes; such as old stoneware crocks, autumn pumpkins, and birds perched on snow covered watering cans. Students will be working in cuts # 3 – 8.

Michelle will show you the MAGIC of how to turn your rug hook into a paint brush! 



Intermediate - Students must have good rug hooking knowledge and experience. 


The teacher will contact pre-registered students, starting on March 1st, to discuss your retreat project and supplies (to be purchased directly from the teacher). See DESCRIPTION, above, which contains both specific retreat information and project options. If teacher has not listed specific project info, they will typically offer a range of project designs/patterns and sizes.


Basic hooking supplies: a frame, scissors, cutter, cutter blades # 3 - 8, and a hook. Students are encouraged to bring wool from their stash, including swatches and bags of strips. The wool can be solids, textures, stripes, plaids, mottled etc. and students are welcome to tuck in yarn, sari ribbon and velvet. Mottled wool with light highlights and dark, color-soaked, shadows are always an amazing tool. 



Michelle Palmer has illustrated in watercolor for over thirty-five years. She has translated hundreds of her paintings and ink illustrations into punch needle and rug hooking designs. Her love for designing with fibers began in 2005. Michelle wanted to bring her illustrated characters to life for her children through needle felting with wool roving. Needle felting quickly expanded to punch needle, with embroidery floss, where she could continue to design functional art. In 2017, her passion for rug hooking began.

Michelle’s works in fiber have a painterly quality. She doesn’t stop painting when she sets her paintbrush down for the day. Her teaching focuses on the use of color, light and atmosphere along with the importance of negative space to define and support the main subject. Michelle’s workshops are filled with practical techniques in a relaxed, light-hearted, atmosphere.

You can find Michelle’s patterns and writings in Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher magazine, Rug Hooking magazine and through her Etsy shop. Her licensed designs are available on fabric collections, calendars, greeting cards, garden flags and other home décor and gift items. Michelle is a member of the Rug Hookers of the Finger Lakes and The Chosen Spot Rug Hookers.


Follow this link for

Retreats Registration