Guide to Punch Needle Crafting

Discover how to begin your journey of punch needle crafting with this guide. Learn about the ideal stitch spacing, how to select yarn, and more.

| October 2019

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The best way to hold the punch needle is to hold it as you would a pencil.

Depending on how deep your frame is, you may need to adjust your hold of the frame to keep the needle from hitting your work table. I prefer to work with the top of the frame leaning on the edge of the table and the bottom of the frame resting on my lap. Experiment with your working position to discover what you find most comfortable.

In most instances, I prefer to start a piece of punch needle by working the motifs. I start with the main image within the design, which I finish before moving on to the background and any negative spaces or in-between shapes. After choosing a spot to start, punch the needle through the Pl base cloth as far as the tool will allow. Without pulling the tool up, check whether the loose end of the yarn coming from the tip of the needle is still visible from the front. If so, reach underneath and pull so that the end hangs down on the back side.

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The point of the punch needle will find the openings in the base cloth so you don’t really need to aim the tool. Simply apply enough pressure to push the needle through and continue pushing all the way down until the base of the handle touches the cloth.



There are a few key things to pay attention to here. As you pull the needle out all the way, leaving the yarn in the cloth, you do not want to lift the needle too high. In fact, you want the needle only to graze the surface of the cloth as you move it to the next spot, which should be approximately 3 holes away, rather than every hole. When stitches are too close together, the tension will be too tight. However, if your stitches are too far apart, the tension will be too loose. With a little practice you will learn how close to punch your stitches to achieve the perfect tension. Also – and this is important – keep the channel of the tool facing in the direction of your movement. If your line of stitches changes direction rotate the frame so that the tool remains comfortable to hold.

If you find that your stitches are pulling out as you punch, make sure the yarn supply from the ball to the punch needle tool is loose, free-flowing and not caught on anything. In addition, check that the weight and content of your yarn is suitable to use with your base cloth. For instance, cotton may be too slick, whereas a wool or acrylic has more texture and therefore might work better.






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