Archives for the month of: November, 2012

On Saturday, November 3rd, the ladies of the Piedmont Quilters Guild met at the Friendship Hall at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Greensboro for the workshop on punch needle. It was a crisp and sunny morning outside and cool inside the Friendship Hall, where the sun was pouring in through huge windows. Tables and chairs were arranged in front of the windows and it was n’t long before the warmth from the sun made it positively toasty!
This workshop focused on design considerations based on personal artwork and/ or inspirational materials and punch needle technique. The ladies are accomplished quilters and very knowledgable about fabrics, pattern and color and immediately started on some sample work.

Here are a few of their samples:

Michelle used a punch needle that could make different loop sizes. She worked the details of her design in a bigger loop length and the ground design in loops that were half the size. It gave a very nice contrast between the foreground and background.She used 3 strands of the cotton embroidery floss.

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Judi used a needle that I had never seen before- wish I had taken a photo of it!
It was a punch needle that was attached to what looked like a tiny paint roller, and the yarn was wound around a tube, that fitted on to the roller. The yarn was an acrylic, not cotton embroidery
floss and had a “hairy” surface, giving a completely different look to her punch needle piece, almost like a carpet.

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Donna used a basic punch needle which could only do one loop size. However, she used some lovely cotton that was pearlized (ie the thread was spun in the opposite direction and had a high luster) which gave a heavier loop, almost like a tapestry look.

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It was very exciting for me to have the opportunity to work with such talented and dedicated ladies. I came away from this workshop with an even greater appreciation of the skills involved involved in quilting, and how these skills can seamlessly (pun intended!) transfer to punch needle.

One thing I love about doing Punch needle is that it requires very little materials.

As long as you have a punch needle, needle threader, embroidery threads, embroidery hoop, a base fabric and scissors, you are ready to go.
It reminds me a lot of knitting- you work with a continual loop and your materials are small enough that you can to carry it around with you and work on in your studio, in the living room.....in the garden...

There are different sizes of punch needle available, I work with a fairly large needle which has 12 different settings for modifying the size of the loops. A large needle means I can thread the six strands of embroidery floss at once which makes threading the needle faster and punching faster. For the best range of punch needles and threaders, shop on-line.
Embroidery hoops and embroidery threads or embroidery floss, are fairly easy to find in your local Michaels, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, Jo Ann fabrics and sometimes Wal Mart.
The base fabric is known as "weavers cloth" and it can be found at a fabric store such as Jo Ann fabrics.

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Embroidery threads

Embroidery Threads are your palette and you can never have enough colors!

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I search through thrift shops and ask friends to keep an eye out at thrift stores, quilt guilds and flea
markets for embroidery threads for me. I know one day I am going to start dyeing my own threads, I won't be able to help myself but I am trying to resist that compulsion!

My artwork tends to have a lot of color, and I try to capture that same richness and texture with the embroidery floss. I particularly love how the different height of the loops gives movement to the color.