1. Read through the needle punch instructions first before you start. This helps give you the whole picture of what is involved with your project. The first important tip for success.
2. Make sure you have all the items you will need to complete your needle punch project. Nothing is more frustrating when you start a project and realize something is missing. Having to stop until you get what you need is a fun killer.
3. Use the correct fabric for the base of your needle punch project. This is what you will punch through. If you intend to needle punch with yarn, use a Monk’s cloth with 12 holes per inch. This will hold the yarn tightly. Craft stores tend to carry a Monk’s cloth with 7 holes per inch which the yarn may slip. If you use embroidery floss to needle punch with, then the fabric should be a Weaver’s cloth. This is a poly cotton blend fabric with an even weave and some weight. This cloth is available here on Handmade Jules (Link coming soon) and at Joann’s Fabric.
4. Use the correct weight yarn or threads of floss for the needle punch tool you are using. The yarn needs to be thin enough to flow through the tool but thick enough to hold in the holes of the cloth. If you are using an Amy Oxford punch needle, work with a 3-ply rug yarn or bulky-weight knitting yarn. Two strands of worsted-weight yarn held together can also be used, or even 3 or 4 strands of sock-weight yarn held together. If you are using a fine needle punch, such as the Ultra Needle Punch, make sure you use the correct number of strands in the needle for the size you are using. An example would be the Ultra Punch large needle uses 6 strands of floss or 2 strands of acrylic yarn. The small needle works with 2 strands of embroidery floss.
5. Remember you will work on the back of the fabric with most Needle Punch patterns.The design is printed in reverse on the back of the fabric. As you punch from the back, the design comes through to the front. When the fabric is in the hoop, the back of the fabric faces up and the design is facing down. If the pattern calls for embroidery stitches you will work these stitches from the front of the fabric. Words, when working from the back of the fabric, should be mirrored. You should be able to read the words from the front.
6. When needle punching, it is important to keep the fabric taut or tight like a drum while you stitch. When Needle Punching with the larger yarn and punch, it is very important to use a sturdy frame to hold the fabric. The basic wooden hoop will not hold the fabric tight enough while punching. Some of the best frames are gripper strip frames or a Q-Snap Frame. Because I needle punch with a Ultra Punch and embroidery floss, I like to use a plastic Morgan plastic no slip hoop with a tongue and groove design on the rings. This holds the fabric nice and tight. I have tried many types of hoops and a good hoop makes all the difference.
7. Keep the fabric tight in your hoop or frame. Tight like a drum or tight enough to bounce a coin on. This will ensure the needle can properly form neat stitches.
8. Use a hoop that is large enough to show the entire design. It makes stitching easier and you can see the whole project. If this isn’t possible, be careful when moving the hoop to a new section. Open the hoop as big as it will go, position the fabric where you want it over the lower hoop. Put the upper hoop over the fabric, being careful not to pull the stitches down. Then tighten the upper hoop. The tightened hoop shouldn’t damage your stitches. When you remove the hoop the stitches should fluff right back up.
9. Keep loose tension on the yarn or thread. If there isn’t slack on the thread or yarn, the tension can pull the stitches right out.
10. Pay close attention to the direction of the needle when stitching. The opening of the needle should always face the direction you are stitching.
11. As a beginner, when you change the direction of your stitches, turn your project, not the needle.
12. For even stitches, in other words, loops, be sure to punch your needle all the way to the wooden handle or with a fine needle punch, the plastic handle. The length of the needle determines the length of the loop. Punching down to the same depth on each stitch makes the loops the same length.
13. Graze your needle over the top of the fabric. Do not pull your needle all the way up or away from the fabric. Pulling the needle away from the fabric will pull the previous stitches out or make them shorter.
14. Start with the outlines then move to filling them in.
15. Always wash your hands before working on your project. This decreases the risk of getting dirt and other stains on the fabric while working on it.
16. Take the project out of the hoop when you are not stitching. If the project is left in the hoop for a long period of time, it is difficult to remove the imprint of the hoop. Also the edge of the material becomes worn where it is handled and there is a big risk of staining from the oils in our hands.
17. If your fabric stretches or loosens while you are working, tighten it back to taut or drum tight. If your fabric keeps slipping, consider wrapping fabric strips or bias tape around the inner ring or both rings. The strips of fabric help grip the cloth you are punching on.
18. If you aren’t happy with the stitch, just pull it out and restitch.
19. Needle punch embroidery can be washed if your yarn or thread is colorfast. To dry press between two towels.
20. Place a dab of Fray Check on each thread tail on the back of your work to secure your work if you are nervous the loops will pull out. Needle punching is pretty secure and hardy, but this is an option if needed.
Enjoy Needle Punching now you have the 20 tips! Share pictures of your projects below or email them to me!!