May 20, 2019
Choosing the right frame and preparing your foundation material is key when you’re planning your punch needle project. There are no knots with punch needle, so the tension of the yarn and cloth is what keeps your stitches from unravelling. A key part of achieving this tension is making sure your foundation material is stretched very tightly across a frame while you punch your project. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to prepare your frame for punching, then transfer it into an embroidery hoop frame for display.
The simplest options for frames are stretcher bars (square or rectangular frames) and no-slip hoops (circular frames). My favourite hoop to punch with is the No-Slip Morgan Hoop. It looks like a regular embroidery hoop, but has a stronger tightening mechanism and a tongue and groove configuration to keep fabric taut. Punch your project in the no-slip hoop, then transfer it to a regular wood or bamboo embroidery hoop (available in any craft store) for display as a wall hanging. While a regular embroidery hoop works well for other needlecraft projects like embroidery or cross stitch, they’re often not strong enough to maintain the tension needed for punch needle.
Preparing your Frame for Punching
To start, you will need a piece of foundation material (such as monk’s cloth) that measures at least 2” larger than your hoop. Loosen the screw on your plastic no-slip hoop to separate the two rings. Centre your cloth on top of the inner ring (the one without the fastening screw), then place the other ring on top. Tighten the screw of the hoop while pulling your foundation cloth taut. Flip your hoop over and work around the ring, pulling the foundation cloth up and towards the middle of the hoop to tighten. Continue pulling and tightening your hoop, so that the foundation cloth is as tight as a drum. You’re ready to start punching! (New to punch needle? Check out my ebook for a full set of instructions on how to stitch with a punch needle.)
Finishing Your Embroidery Hoop Frame
Once you've punched your piece in a plastic no-slip frame, complete your project by transferring it into a wooden embroidery hoop of the same size for display. Remove your piece from the plastic hoop and place it into a wooden hoop the same way you originally inserted the foundation material. Centre your piece in the new frame, and gently pull the edges taut as you tighten the hoop. You don't need to tighten this frame as tight as you did when you were punching your piece.
Next, trim the excess foundation material about one inch from the hoop edge. To prevent fraying, you may want to run a small line of white craft glue all around the cut edge or finish the edges with a zig zag stitch on a sewing machine. If you use white glue, allow to dry before proceeding to the next step.
With embroidery floss, hand sew a running stitch around the seam allowance, going over your first stitch a few times to secure it. Stitch around the whole circle, then pull on the thread so that your running stitch gathers the fabric. Go over your last stitch a few times to secure it, then knot and trim the thread.
At this point your piece is ready for display, but if you plan on gifting your piece or prefer a finished back, consider this optional step.
Use the inner hoop of the plastic hoop to trace a circle onto a piece of light-coloured craft felt. Cut out the circle, then centre it onto the back of your piece. Flip the felt circle over to hide any tracing marks. Pin in place, then whipstitch your circle onto the back of your piece using a coordinating thread.
And...finished! You're a rock star.
Questions? Leave a comment below or check out this blog post on frequently asked punch needle questions. Looking for supplies to get started? Shop punch needle kits here. Thanks for reading!
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November 24, 2019
Back in August, an editor at the U.K. magazine Mollie Makes emailed me to ask if I would be interested in designing and making a trio of punch needle animal stuffies for their December 2019 cover. I’ll admit I was intimidated- the deadline was tight considering my kids were still home with me for summer break, and I had more than a bit of performance anxiety (what if they’re just “meh” about the final product?). In the end I said yes, and I’m so thrilled with how this project turned out!
November 03, 2019
November 01, 2019
This month I was featured in an article by Chatelaine Magazine on bringing punch needle into your home décor. The article touches on the current trend of punch needle, its history, and profiles a number of talented punch needle artists selling patterns, supplies, and finished work. Writer Iris Benaroia interviewed me for the article and included a great little write-up of me and my work. I love the quote she included of me describing punch needle as “the least frustrating craft I’ve ever tried”. Perfectly summed up!