I had a very good question asked today by a person starting out with Punch Needling. They were searching for the two most common fabrics used for punch needling and of course when to their local fabric store. Unfortunately, if you ask for weavers cloth or monks cloth at their fabric store you will get a lot of funny looks! These cloths are only becoming more popular now that they are used for punch needling.
To my knowledge there is no supplier of monks cloth in New Zealand. I have some available in larger pieces then 8x8 squares and will soon be getting more in.
Today I received the Ultra Punch Needles! They are now available for purchase. Again these are great for punch needle embroidery and are adjustable for various loop lengths. This order came with 10 lovely yards of weavers cloth, so i'm excited to be providing this fabric in different quantities as well!
When starting out with punch needling, I realized several very important things that were not obvious to me despite the blogs and videos I watched.
1. Your fabric must be very tight! Get it as tight as humanly possible. It will make it easier to punch.
2. The open side of your punch needle must be in the direction you are punching. I've attached a drawing below which will hopefully help clarify what i'm saying. You can change the direction in which you are punching at any time, just make sure you are leading with the open side of the needle.
3. It doesn't matter what side of your project you choose to display. It can be the loopy side or the stitched side. There are no rules. When you finish a project, you might turn it over to see your looped side and think..."wow, what did I do wrong?". The answer is nothing. Some of the loops along the edges of where two colours intermingle often get caught up around each other.
Take your piece out of it's frame and work your way along the lines where colours connect and using a tool of choice separate the colours. I will post a video of me doing this very soon. You definitely don't have to do this, but the end result will look so good and feel well worth the time.
4. When you take your piece out of a hoop or off a frame. It may curl. Don't worry. Simply steam iron the piece to get it flat and looking lovely.
If the top seems a bit fuzzy use and electric clothes shaver to softly clean the surface of your project.
Hope that helps!