Punch Needling Guide

Punch Needling Basics for Beginners

A QUICK GUIDE FOR JUST STARTING OUT

Before we get started, let me start out by saying- “HI!” I think it’s pretty rad you have an interest in punch needling. In turn, it must mean you’re one of my people and I am honored to be given the opportunity to share a little bit of what I know of punch needling with you. It’s not only a rad art medium but it’s a great way to release endorphins in your brain! Hey there happy feelings…let’s keep those jugging along!

“The reward center in your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine when you do something pleasurable. Dopamine, in and of itself, is our natural anti-depressant. Any time we can find a nonmedicinal way to stimulate that reward center … the better off we’re going to be.”- Catherine Carey Levisay

Now that you what your brain looks like on making let’s get into the good stuff; Punch Needling for Beginners!

I’ve been at this for a few years so I’ve tried and tested the best of the best for you when it comes to materials. Stick with these and I promise this will be a craft you’ll love!

Learning To Thread Your Punch Needle

STEP ONE: Insert the end of your yarn through the back of the needle eye. If using the AO #10 Fine- Insert the end of your yarn through to the back of the eye screw first then down through the back of the needle eye.

STEP TWO: While holding the yarn at the end you’ve just inserted, use the other hand to pull the yarn into the slot at the end of the wooden handle.

STEP THREE: Once the yarn is in the barrel, you will pull it back and forth to help ease the yarn through the entire slot of the punch needle. Leave about a 1″ tail out from the needle eye.

3 Basic Punch Needle Stitches

LOOP STITCH: Punched from the back of the hoop.

FLAT STITCH: Punched from the front side of your hoop.

LONG STITCH: With each punch, pinch your yarn on the back side to hold in place while stretching across to the other side.

Ready to Punch?!?!

STEP ONE: With the open side of your needle pointed in the direction that you’re are punching, insert your needle from the back of your hoop straight down until the wooden handle hits the cloth. I hold my punch needle like I hold a writing utensil, but you do what feels most comfortable for you.

STEP TWO: With your first punch only, while your needle is down,  pull the 1″ tail of your yarn through the cloth to the front looped side (we’ll trim these tails later).

STEP THREE: Lift your needle just high enough to exit the cloth, drag your needle over the cloth and reinsert it right next to the initial punch. The distance between your punches shouldn’t be greater than the needle head itself. It’s important not to lift the needle too far out of the cloth otherwise you’ll end up pulling the loop out.

STEP FOUR: Be sure you keep slack in your yarn. If there’s no slack, there’s no yarn being fed through your punch needle. Keep in mind, the opening of your needle always needs to point in the direction in which you are punching!

That’s it, Now you’re ready to punch away. YAY! It’s best to do straight or detailed stitches first. then go back and fill in the surrounding areas.

TIP:

You can check your stitch lengths with a ruler.  You’re wanting 5-6 stitches per inch for straight line work, outlines, and borders. 4 stitches per inch for fill-in work.  If your stitches are too big you’ll see your cloth on the loop side of your hoop.

Taking Your Design Off Your Hoop

Most likely, when you remove your design from the hoop, you’ll see the cloth curl up. This is caused by the tension placed on the cloth while it was in the hoop. You can do what’s called ‘blocking’ and steam press your design to help it lay flat.

Blocking: Lay your design loop side up on a flat protected surface; preferably an ironing board but if you don’t have one handy, any flat fire-safe area will do. Use a clean damp tea towel and drape it over your design. Put you iron on the highest setting (no steam is necessary) and press for roughly 10 seconds all along your design. Keep your design flat until it’s dry.

*If you’re transferring your design to another hoop to hang, there’s no need to block.

Changing yarns, and cleaning up your design.

When you finish with your yarn, whether it’s to change yarn colors or to end your punching project, (1) make your last punch to the font of your hoop (the looped side), (2) pinch the yarn to hold in place while backing your needle out of the cloth.

Cut your yarn on the front, looped side. If you don’t hold your yarn in place while backing your needle up, you’ll end up pulling the yarn back through to the punched side. If this happens you can always use an embroidery needle or crochet hooking tool to pull the tail back to the loop side.

If you’re changing your yarn simply repeat the “threading your Needle” section.

To clean up the looped side where you have either started punching and pulled that 1″ tail through or switched yarn; simply trim those tails to match the height of your loops. They’ll blend right in. You can also take your punch needle and align loops back into place by pushing and tucking in stragglers. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference in the appearance of your design.

Voila, you’re done!

Now go display that beauty somewhere special and take in all those feel-good endorphins!

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