I typically begin each year with a page or two of resolutions. While most of those New Year’s plans eventually fall
into the “meh” pile; there is one resolution that I have adhered to for the past 16ish years (since I turned 40) That resolution is to learn at least one new skill every year.
Six years ago the new skill that I learned was punchneedle embroidery. A local quilt shop offered a class on this technique. Since I have always loved miniatures, country primitive, and needlework … this seemed to be a class geared just for me. I purchased the punchneedle (get a quality one with multiple settings of depth and a set of different sized needles) the weavers cloth (a tightly woven fabric that works every well with punchneedle), embroidery floss and a footed embroidery hoop (it acts to keep your work off of any surface since you will be “punching the needle” through the fabric) and attended the class. The class was superb. The only thing that I did that varied from the class was that I drew out my own design. (I didn’t want to spend the evening punch needling the bland square house with triangle roof that was the learning design) My design is what I used to create the rug featured here.
Fast forward six years later: During a recent episode of morphing that converted my home office / craft / design room into my grand daughter’s bedroom, I unearthed my punchneedle supplies and half finished cat in the moon design.
I spent the next couple of hours looking through my long forgotten purchases. I then spent the next day binge watching any online video that I could find on punchneedle techniques (thank you You – Tube!) Then I spent the next day finishing the project that I started six years ago.
I gathered my supplies and included more floss, my scissors and a new Morgan hoop that I love
And I started punching away. The cat had been completed during the class. The instructor had us use 3 strands of floss which worked perfectly with a more detailed design field. The loop length (aka needle depth) that seems quite popular is a “2.” Since I am working in 1:12 miniature scale, I kept my depth at a “1” (the punchneedle tool will show you the depths) This created a profile that when backed was still less than 1/8 inch.
After completing the cat and the branch, I outlined and then filled in the yellow of the moon. For the background I used all 6 strands of embroidery floss. I took about 4 skeins of floss for this project. While matching dye lots didn’t matter with this piece, I can see where it would definitely matter with other pieces.
After the piece was punched, I pressed (as per you – tube video instruction ) both the front and the back with a steam on iron. (note that the you – tube instructor was fearless with this … I used a pressing cloth cuz I’m a wuzzy)
Apply an anti fray product to the finished edge of the embroidery. Cut an approximate 1/2 to 1 inch seam allowance. Fold the seam to the back of the piece and baste in place with sewing thread.
Now you can back your piece. (if you are going to be using this as an applique, of course you don’t need to back it now) I used a spray adhesive. You can brush on a thinned glue mixture and apply your backing fabric. (I used felt)
To cover the sides of the weaver’s cloth that will be peaking through you can use a paint stick or a sharpie. I used a strand of black yarn that I couched in place as I stitched the back to the front.
I included a chart of the cat that will follow this paragraph. Feel free to use this for your designing pleasure. Keep in mind that you will be working on the back of your embroidered piece, so you may want to reverse the image depending on how you want the cat to face.
I made the chart of this cat to complete a cross stitch project. It is not a stitch to stitch chart for punchneedle. You will punch your stitches at approximate stitch width intervals (or as long as the cloth is covered on the front and there is no fabric distortion for split loops)
Please feel free to message me if you have any questions about this piece. Punchneedle embroidery is a beautiful and fast to create form of needlework. This skill can be translated to miniature pieces worked in floss to larger scale worked in wool to rugs and wall pieces worked in fabric strips. As with most forms of the needle craft; the only creative limits are only the limits of our imagination. Enjoy!