Many crafters have been doing cross stitch for a long time and came up with unique creative ideas. One of these fantastic ideas is using punch needles for cross-stitching. Yes, you can cross stitch with a punch needle! But there are factors to consider before you do so.
Although you can use cross stitch patterns for punch needle crafts, you cannot use cross stitch fabric. It has holes that are too large to anchor the punched stitches in place. Instead, you need to fill in the areas of each color with pitched stitches on a more suitable fabric.
List of Contents:
What is a punch needle?
If you want to try doing cross stitch with a punch needle, you must first understand what it is. A punch needle is a long needle with a large eye, a beveled point, and a hollow stem.
You thread your yarn through the hollow stem and insert it through the eye. The needle’s point then creates yarn loops by punching through a woven foundation fabric.
There are different types of punch needle tools, and they come in various lengths and thicknesses. Some even have adjustable depth gauges to control the yarn loops’ length.
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What is punch needle embroidery?
It is a technique that goes back to hundreds of years when people used it to decorate medieval garments. A punch needle embroidery is a form of embroidery closely related to rug hooking.
Instead of stitching through the fabric, your punch needle pushes the thread or yarn into the fabric. It punches the stitches as it keeps the needle on the surface.
There are so many patterns and kits you can choose from when using punch needle tools. You will see that you can get a highly textured design made of loops that shows off its connection to rug making.
Is punch needle embroidery easy?
Although it may seem primitive, punch needle embroidery remains popular and offers looks from antique to modern. Punch needle embroidery is simple, fun, and can be easy. But like other crafts, you will need to spend time practicing to master the technique.
Punch needle embroidery is a technique that both experienced crafters and beginners can enjoy. It is easy to get started with punch needle embroidery. Please continue reading to know what you need and how to use punch needle tools.
Can you use any yarn for the punch needle?
One of the best things about punch needle embroidery is you can experiment with yarn types. You can use wool, wool blends, cotton, or 100% acrylic yarns. You can try different types, but remember that you need the yarn that flows easily through your punch needle’s shaft.
You will want to avoid using slippery yarns because they will fall out of your foundation fabric. You also need to avoid bumpy novelty yarns because they can get caught in the needle’s eye. The best and most traditional option is wool, so you might want to start with that.
What do you need for the punch needle?
Now that you know how easy it is to get started with needle punch embroidery, you need to know what supplies to buy. Here is a list of what you need for punch needle embroidery:
- Punch needle tool
- Foundation fabric
Some shops sell a complete punch needle kit. They may come with all the materials you need to complete a project to save time and money. But, if you prefer buying the materials piece by piece, you can also freely do so.
- Punch needle tool
The first and most important material to buy is your punch needle tool. It is a hollow needle that punches yarn loops through the fabric when threaded with yarn. You can create beautiful, complex designs with this simple tool, your skills, and imagination.
There are two main types of punch needle tools you can use for your projects:
- Punch Needle Embroidery
This type uses a small gauge needle tool to punch more delicate threads through a tightly woven fabric. Some crafters do not recommend using this punch needle tool because it can be too thin to hold the yarn.
- Punch Needle Rug Hooking
Compared to the punch needle embroidery, this type is more like rug hooking. It uses a larger gauge needle tool to punch thicker wool yarns through a loosely woven fabric called monk’s cloth.
There are also various brands of punch needle tools on the market with different pros and cons. They may all thread differently and come in various lengths to make different loop sizes. Here are some punch needles most recommended by crafters, and their pros and cons:
- Adjustable Handle Punch Needle
Punch needle tools with adjustable handles offer a relatively wide range of loop lengths. It is probably one of the best supplies you can buy!
- One tool for six different loop lengths
- It has a wood handle with a stainless steel needle made of sturdy construction.
- It is a quality tool to use for your projects.
- The stainless steel needle goes smoothly into the foundation fabric, making a relaxing sensation.
- Your yarn stays in the needle because it has no open slots. It is a full hollow needle, so you do not need to worry about pulled or stuck yarn.
- The handle is smaller than other punch needle tools and will not fit your hand’s length. Although it is a minor concern, you need to work with comfortable tools to use.
- Because there are no open slots on the shaft, you will need a threader to get the yarn through the needle.
- Oxford Punch Needle
Another punch needle tool most recommended by other crafters is the Oxford Punch Needle. It has a larger handle that fits well in your hand, and you do not need to get a threader when you use it.
- The handle has an open slot so that you can thread it easily.
- It has a wooden handle and a steel needle made of sturdy construction.
- Its steel needle will let the needle into the foundation fabric smoothly.
- It has an ergonomic handle with a large stopper end. It also possesses a skinny shaft with a well-placed bump that provides the right resistance in your hand.
- This quality tool offers a comfortable fit and ease when you work on your project.
- Unlike the adjustable handle punch needle, this tool lacks a variety of loop lengths. You need to get many needles to get different loop lengths, which can be costly.
- Craftsman Punch Needle
The Craftsman Punch Needle has been around for a long time and offers different loop lengths. It also has an open slot for easy threading, which is not always the case. Its locking mechanism does not always stay in place and can cause you trouble.
- Its center slot will let you thread without a threader.
- You can adjust the loop lengths this tool produces. So it probably has the most variety in loop lengths on the market.
- Its steel needle enters into the foundation fabric smoothly, like the adjustable and Oxford punch needles.
- Although it has an open slot, it is not so easy to thread. You need to run your yarn through the hole on the bottom, then through the needle’s eye. Maybe you can master it with practice and over time, but it can be too much for a beginner.
- Its locking mechanism is sometimes unreliable. It should hold the main needle in place and slide up and down easily. But it does not stay in place all the time as you thread your needle.
- Your yarn can easily fall off.
- Like the adjustable punch needle, it has a small handle that will not fit your hand’s length.
- Foundation fabric
The next thing you will need to buy is your foundation fabric. Monk’s cloth is probably the best type of foundation of fabric for punch needle projects. It is a woven fabric, made of 100% cotton, that is sturdy and flexible. I would recommend this fabric to beginners!
This type of foundation fabric is available in a few different sizes, known as counts. The fabric’s weave count refers to the number of threads per inch. The most common monk’s cloths used in punch needles are 7-count and 12-count. You choose between these two if you are a beginner.
But, if you want to try punch needle embroidery, these fabrics’ holes may be too big for your thread. You will want to buy weaver’s cloth instead if you are working with embroidery floss. This foundation fabric will ensure that your thread will not slip out too easily.
As I mentioned, you can experiment with yarns that flow easily through your punch needle’s shaft. One of the best types of yarn you can use is wool rug yarn. This fleece-spun yarn is durable enough to create projects that will see a lot of wear.
Although wool may be the best option, you can still use other types of yarn. You can use bulky and worsted weight yarns, wool blends, cotton, and 100% acrylic yarns.
But remember that you need to avoid slippery yarns as much as possible. They will fall out of your foundation fabric and are almost impossible to use for punch needle projects.
Another helpful material to use while working on punch needle projects is a frame. You can use an embroidery hoop or a wooden stretcher frame to hold the fabric taught as you work on it.