I’ve been intrigued by punch needling for a while but it was Arounna Khounnoraj’s new book, Punch Needle that sold me, just that cushion on the front cover, *swoon*.
It has lots of nice things inside too, this is one of those craft books where if I saw any one of the projects on sale in a shop, I would want it, the cushions (all of them) are particularly nice.
There’s also other homewares such as this gorgeous plant pot cover.
(And that’s another thing, the photography in the book is gorgeous too).
Punch needle though is a hobby that requires stuff, it also seems to require some woodwork skills to make the punch needle frames (I realise that you can buy them but there’s not a great selection and particularly for some of the projects in this book, for example the plant pot cover, the frame seems quite an unconventional size).
Punch needling also, obviously, requires a punch needle, not being an expert (at all), I got the one that was being advertised alongside the Punch Needle book on Amazon, a Lavor Punch Needle, which comes as part of a package with a rather useful instruction booklet from Millicent & Bird (it’s not often you buy something from Amazon and end up getting something nice and Etsy-ish as a result). Anyway as Millicent & Bird’s actual Etsy shop seems quite empty and as if you type punch needle in Amazon lots of different ones come up, it’s this one. It’s not an advert or anything (neither is this an ad for the book, I just like it).
As I’m by my nature an embroiderer far far more than a knitter, I picked my first project from the book using stuff I already had. Most of the projects use wool and Monk’s Cloth but there are a couple of projects that use embroidery thread and linen, you can also use a normal embroidery hoop for those too. I have plenty of embroidery thread but didn’t have any linen. From what I can gather, 100% linen is best for this, I went to the fabric store, picked up I swear a fabric bolt that said 100% linen, get to the cutting table, just as the assistant starts to cut, I notice it seems to have morphed into 50% linen, 50% rayon, I stuck with it.
Once I had all my bits together, I made a start on the brooch project from Punch Needle. Now I’m not actually really a brooch person but I thought it best to start with something small. The design in the book is the one I actually turned into a brooch, the other two are experiments I made up.
So I figured out how to thread the punch needle and got punching and all the stitches kept coming out. This is where I think that 50% rayon wasn’t helping but with some persistence, keeping my stitches really close together and being really careful in making sure that the thread leading into the punch needle was nice and loose, I managed it, although the stitches would still fall out sometimes.
With punch needling, one side is like (in appearance) back stitch and the other side is loops. The Punch Needle book has designs for both sides. I don’t think my not loopy side is currently anywhere neat enough but the looped side was okay, if a little scruffy to my hyper fussy eyes.
The stuff I’ve read about punch needling suggests tidying the loops up afterwards but I tried that and it just looked messier!
(My I’m not actually going to wear this in public face)
(Somehow they all manage to look even messier now that I’ve done something with them)
Anyway, I think things may look tidier with wool and I’m planning next on doing the cushion that’s on the front cover. I am still at heart an embroiderer but punch needling is surprisingly quick and the texture is really satisfying and I love how graphic a lot of punch needle designs are, so I’m going to keep trying!