I have been so busy with the cattery over the Christmas period, that I have neglected to do any crafts the last couple of months, except for some more wet felting for my friend. Unfortunately, or stupidly, I did not wear gloves, so my hands are in a disgusting state and are permanantley covered in moisturiser!!! So I have spent time surfing and looking at my fav subject…crafts.
I came upon Punch Needles. Not an expensive tool, very easy to use and makes little loops on the fabric just like a mini floor rug. And looking at videos and punchneedle artists on the net you can make up some lovely things, big or small.
My first punch needle was a cheapy one from Ebay, but most of the (US) artists recommended the Cameo, I found one on Amazon, from the US. And there is a difference, the Cameo doesn’t feel as sharp so it doesn’t rip the fabric like the cheaper one did. (I do punch quite tight, I don’t like to see any background fabric showing).
The next thing was finding Weavers Cloth, that everyone said was crucial for this type of embroidery. But I found a site that said any fabric, as long as it wasn’t 100% cotton would work. You need a manmade fibre and cotton mix, as just cotton would break eventually with all the punching, whereas the manmade fibres stretch around the loops you make. So I found Poly Cotton High Density Sheeting fabric on Ebay. It is 45% cotton and 55% polyester. It comes in 94 inch width and cost me around £8 for a whole meter! Loads of little punchneedle projects.
Next I needed a hoop that would hold the background fabric really, really tight. Ordinary embroidery hoops won’t work as the fabric will slip and you will spend all your time tightning up as your loops won’t catch properly if the fabric is loose. The hoops recommended were sooooo expensive and again hard to get in the UK. But with a bit more research I saw one that was easy and cheap to make at home. I bought a set of what they call Stretcher Bars. They are just picture frames that you put together yourself by slotting the pieces together. I got 10 inch size. Then my partner hammered in some tacks, eaqually, along each side and cut the tops off. This makes them sharp so you can stretch your fabric onto it keeping it nice and taught. He glued some wood blocks underneath, so the needle doesn’t bang into my knees or the table when I am punching.
I used 3 strands of embroidery floss and my punchneedle was on number two, so my loops were nice and short. I really packed in my stitches and the cotton/polyester sheeting took it with no tears or rips.
I am really pleased how it turned out, I will probably make it into a little pouch to keep my spare punchneedle needles in. But first, as this is addictive, I want to try a bigger picture with my favourite subject, cats!