In the original recipe, the trees are just stuffed with toy stuffing. I wanted something a bit more sturdy and flexible, so it’s easy to adjust the branches later. So, here’s a walk-through on how to stuff your tree using chenille sticks (and other stuffing of your choice).
You’ll need half as many chenille sticks as your tree has branches, and a crochet hook that’s long enough to go all the way through the branches and small enough to insert at the top of the branch without breaking anything. My normal standard crochet hook does nicely, but the new ones with the ergonomic handles are probably not a good idea for that particular use.
So, here’s what you do: Take a chenille stick and fold it in half if it isn’t already. At both ends of the stick, turn the last bit of wire around so there’s something for your crochet hook to grab. You may also want to turn the trunk of your tree to the left side to make things easier. Now insert the crochet hook from the end of one of the branches and guide it down until it comes out at the trunk. This will look something like this:
You can just see both ends of the grey crochet hook: The handle sticks out of one set of leaves, and the tip just peeks out of the trunk. The crochet hook now sits exactly where we want the chenille stick to end up. Next the tip of the crochet hook is inserted into the turned end of the chenille stick:
Now you can gently pull the crochet hook back until it’s almost at the end of the branch. The chenille stick will now be where it belongs, and you can carefully pull out the crochet hook. Repeat for the other end of the chenille stick with another branch. When there’s an end of chenille stick in every branch, turn the trunk back over. Depending on the height of your tree, the chenille sticks might poke out at the bottom. In that case, just bend them over so they fit. Fill in any holes in the trunk around the chenille sticks with filling. And finally it’s time to close that hole in the bottom. I like to use crochet for that since knitting on DPNs with that few stitches is no fun.
And here’s the finished tree, with artistically bent branches: