What Is Punchneedle?

Originally posted 2006-02-18 05:52:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I did Punchneedle many years ago and am just coming back to it. It makes a great change
from needlepoint and is lots of fun. With the wider variety of threads out there, it is also
easier to use the technique to make great effects.

In punchneedle, a long hollow needle is punched from the back of the fabric to the front,
leaving a little loop. The entire area of the design is punched, making a result which looks
somewhat like a small hooked rug (although the process is different).

The technique has been around a long time, had some flourishing in the early eighties and
is becoming popular once again. Today technology has been brought to bear on the tools
used for this technique, so there are many different needles, often ergonomically
designed, to make punching easier. Threads have changed too, with many more threads
available today then 20 years ago. This means that punchneedle can take on more
sophisticated or rustic looks than was possible with only cotton floss.

The process is simple, you select a design and transfer it onto the back of a piece of
tightly woven cloth. The you decide the thickness of the thread you want to use. This will
determine the size of your needle. Place the fabric, drawing up, into an embroidery hoop
and make it drum tight (that’s important), then begin to punch the thread through the

It’s that simple.

Like needlepoint, you can get lots of variation by your choice of threads, loop length and
color. Unlike needlepoint, there is no grid to guide you in placing stitches and only one
stitch. I think this is where it is a relaxing change from needlepoint.

I’m exploring the technique and expect to have a small series of designs out later this
year; I’ll keep you posted.


  1. Patricia White says

    I am very interested in learning more about this punch needle. Please let me know where I can keep up with what you bring out.

  2. Marlene says

    When I read your comments on punch needles, it brought back wonderful times in the 80s when many of us learned the technique from Jean Cook. Happily, I still have my needles and threaders. It will be interesting to read your evaluation of the newer punch needles that are available.

    I have also seen punch needles made to use with yarn and they might be ideal for use in a needlepoint canvas.Err… did I mention that I have always wanted to make a punch needle coaster using wool yarn to go underneath my teapot? The coaster I have now was brought back as a gift from Nova Scotia. Have a couple of ideas I would like to stitch up.

  3. says

    I love punch needle and have learn to do my own carousel patterns which I posted on my blog.
    Punch needle is such a nice way to express design. I enjoy your website!

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