Punch Needle is a very easy technique to learn. It is possible to create projects with amazing textures and colours. The traditional side for punch needle is the loop side, but many modern projects combine both flat stitches and loop stitches. A punch needle works by forming continuous loops which grip into the weave of the cloth. The loops keeps your project from unravelling.
There are many of punch needles to choose from. First, consider the type of thread or yarn you would like to use.
Ultra: up to 6 strands embroidery floss | Weavers Cloth
Rico Adjustable Fine: 2-3 strands embroidery floss of DMC up to double 6-strands embroidery floss | Weavers Cloth (2 smallest needles), Monks Fine, Floba, Belfast
Lavor: 6 strands embroidery floss of DMC up to a fine yarn (1-2 weight) | Weavers Cloth (2 smallest needles), Monks Fine, Floba, Belfast
Oxford fine: medium weight yarn | Monks Cloth Fine (preferred), Tula, Floba, Belfast
Lavor Medium: medium weight yarn| Monks Coarse/Fine (preferred)
SKC: heavy weight yarn | Monks Coarse/Fine
Oxford regular: heavy weight yarn | Monks Coarse (preferred)/Fine,
Lavor Chunky: heavy weight yarn | Monks Coarse (preferred)/Fine
*some chunky wool may not work well depending on its composition and how tight it pulls in the needle.
Our most popular fabric bases
Monks Cloth Coarse works with… SKC, Lavor Chunky, Oxford Regular.
Monks Cloth Fine (Zweigart / Unbranded) works with… Lavor, Oxford Fine, Oxford Regular, SKC
Prestretched Monks Cloth Frames works with… Oxford Fine, Lavor Medium, Oxford Regular, SKC, Lavor Chunky
Weavers Cloth works with… Ultra Punch, Lavor (smallest needle)
Belfast 32ct works with… Lavor (2 largest needles), Oxford Fine, Lavor Medium
Threading SKC, Rico, Ultra, Lavor
1. Put the threader through the end of the needle up out of the top.
2. Place the yarn inside and pull back through the needle.
3. Put the threader through the curved side.
4. Place the yarn inside and pull back through.
5. Leave a 2 inch tail coming out before you punch.
Punch needles are fussy with what materials they work with. Thin punch needles work on different types of material than wide ones. View our punch needle guide above to check which material we have works with your punch needle. No punch needle works with aida.
Fabric needs to be very taught when punching. Prestretched frames are ideal as there is no slipping of material. If you prefer a hoop, it is worth investing in a No Slip hoop. Using a regular hoop can be frustrating when needing to retighten the hoop.
Flat & Loop Stitches
When you punch on the front of your frame, you will punch to display flat stitches. Turn over your frame to display loop stitches.
How to Punch Flat Stitches
Once you have threaded your needle and have 3cm of yarn tail through the eye of the needle, gently punch the needle into the fabric at a slight angle and as much as the handle will allow. Once the eye of the needle is through the fabric, turn your hoop over to pull the tail of the yarn through to the back so you have 3cm of a yarn tail. Once you have pulled the yarn tail through to the back turn your hoop back over and gently lift the needle back up until you see the tip of the needle. “Skim” the needle forward approx 3mm (aim for 4-6 stitches per inch) and punch your needle back into the fabric. Repeat this motion so that your stitches just touch one another. When you punch your next row, aim to punch your stitch half way between the previous row stitch to get the staggering effect.
How to Punch Loop Stitches
Put in exactly the same way of flat stitches but for the first stitch, don’t pull yarn tail through.
Stitch Length Depends on a Few Factors:
1. Yarn thickness. The thicker the yarn, the longer you can make your stitches for the loops to be bulky enough together.
2. Design. Some designs require long flat stitches for different purposes within the design. For extra long stitches, hold the yarn loop at the back of the hoop to stop it coming out.
3. As a general rule, you should begin by outlining your shapes and filling in approx. 4-6 stitches per inch. Adjust length depending on these other factors.
- If your yarn should come loose, just pull it tight again through the top of the needle then start to punch again.
- Rather than punching over stitches, cut off your yarn, rethread and start again in the new section.
- Make sure you have plenty of slack in your yarn when punching.
- If your yarn doesn’t stay in the fabric, give it another go by gently pulling the yarn back up through the needle.
- Do not lift your needle too high up as this will release the yarn. The needle should not lift off the fabric.