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Tracy Jamar Retreat 

Explorations into Shirring, Standing Wool & Coiling

Book about rug hooking written by Tracy Jamar

Tracy Jamar
New York City, New York 

Explorations into Shirring, Standing Wool & Coiling

4 Day Retreat:

Tuesday –  Friday, August 13 – 16, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
$400.00 / Sauder Village Members $380.00   
Heritage Inn – Heritage Room


In this mixed techniques retreat, students will explore a variety of materials and ideas to enhance the possibilities and add interest to their work - focusing on the historic shirring techniques of: chenille, bias, pleating, and bundling, as well as the techniques of standing wool and coiling - that have become so popular.

Different from rug hooking with wool strips or rug punching with yarn, where the surface material is pulled or pushed through a foundation, this retreat’s techniques consist of strips or pieces of fabric manipulated and sewn to the surface of a foundation. They can be used singularly or in combination with other techniques and work especially well when combined with rug hooking.

Important to note: Most all the work will be done with hand sewing, so some hand sewing experience will be helpful. There is also hand cutting and/or rotary cutting of fabric.

Students will explore these mixed techniques with:

  • A project you already have in progress (and you would like to incorporate one or more of these techniques)
  • Select a pattern (8” square) - from Tracy’s collection
  • Make a techniques sampler – as a future reference guide

Students should bring their own fabrics, and if possible, fabrics to share. Tracy encourages students to bring fabrics which may not be suitable for hooking: too thin, too thick or non-wool fiber content. Bring scraps and hooking leftovers, as they are particularly useable in some of these techniques. When she contacts students, Tracy will provide additional info pertaining to these fabrics.

Tracy will have some supplies to purchase, as in stretcher bars (12”) and foundation squares with borders of fabric that can be used with the stretcher bars, her original patterns that are suited for mixing techniques, and will provide an instructional handout, which will be a great resource for current and future projects, along with your techniques sampler.

As each student works on a different project it will be fun to see how everyone uses the techniques and materials! Part of the fun is learning from each other. There will be individual examples of how Tracy used the various techniques, so students can study them up close. She will also have examples of her work which incorporates a combination of these techniques to help trigger your own ideas.

Rug hooking design over metallic jacquard by Tracy Jamar


Basic - Students must have a basic rug hooking knowledge and experience. Students should also have basic hand sewing 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. 


Students may wish to combine retreat techniques with hooking so basic hooking supplies are recommended: a frame, scissors, cutter, cutter blades #8 & larger, & a hook. Additional supplies needed: sewing needles, straight pins, Quilting thread, needle nose pliers, Sharpie markers, pens, notebook (for notes & pattern designing), any size foundation that fits your frame, uncut fabric (new or recycled): cotton (woven & knits), old denim, blends or silk fabric, various yarns, & wool (suitable & not suitable for hooking). Optional, but highly encouraged: extra-long & curved needles, rotary cutter & cutting pad, stapler & staples. (Tracy will have only a few of the optional items on hand in class to share/use.) 

Rug hooking applied to pink shoes by Tracy Jamar


Tracy has over 30 years experience as a restorer and conservator working primarily with American antique textiles. Moving to New York City from Minnesota in 1979 she became head of textile restoration for the America Hurrah Gallery, opening her own restoration studio in 1985. In 2006 she returned to college to complete an undergraduate degree, graduating in 2009 from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. After which she committed her time to creating contemporary fiber works exploring various techniques using a combination of new, old, repurposed and non-traditional materials.

Tracy was the Keynote speaker and a teacher at the ATHA 2019 Biennial in Denver, Colorado. She taught at Green Mountain Rug School in 2018 and 2023 and other locations. She wrote Coils, Folds, Twist and Turns: Contemporary Techniques in Fiber 2017 and taught at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week (2016) in anticipation of the publication of her book. The book followed and was inspired by working with antiques textile dealer Jan Whitlock on their book, American Sewn Rugs: Their History with Exceptional Examples 2012 about antique rugs using various sewing techniques before rug hooking became popular. They had an exhibit at Sauder Village in 2013 where Tracy also gave a short workshop on shirring techniques.

She received “Best Mixed Media” (2014), and “Best Sculpture” (2020) for shirred pieces in the Guild Hall Members’ Art Exhibit, East Hampton, NY. Tracy’s works have been shown in juried and invitational exhibits including the Farnsworth Art Museum’s “Beyond Rugs!” where her piece, “Land Parcels Quad” was used on the exhibit poster.  She has received two Awards of Excellence from the Surface Design Association, as well as Juror’s Choice from the Newtown Hooked Art Show and Juror’s Choice in Hooked Art 2014. Tracy has also appeared on HGTV with Mary Emmerling and twice as a guest on Martha Stewart Living TV show. Several of her articles have been in Rug Hooking Magazine and the ATHA magazine.

Abstract greens and red rug hooked by Tracy Jamar
Abstract many colors and shapes rug hooked by Tracy Jamar

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