Sunday, November 11, 2007

Punchneedle madness!

I must admit that I have been quite entranced … okay, obsessed … with punchneedle embroidery lately. I've completed these two designs in the past week! They only take a few hours, are very easy, and the finished result is really charming.

The design at the top is “Fraidy Cat” by Brenda Gervais/With thy Needle & Thread Punchneedle Designs. I dyed the background fabric with instant coffee granules to make it look old and spooky.

The design below is “Angel with White Wings” (although I changed the wings to gold and the background to green) by M. Shaw/Hooked on Rugs.

If you want to try punchneedle embroidery, my best advice to you is to buy the Cameo punch needle and threaders, and the Cameo hoop designed specifically for punchneedle embroidery. When I tried this craft for the first time, I used a regular embroidery hoop and it didn't hold the fabric tight enough, and I was very disappointed in the results. With the right equipment and a little practice, it is really easy and fun to do.

You can use regular embroidery floss you buy at the craft store, but the hand-dyed flosses (mostly available online) create wonderful irregularities in the color that really look wonderful in folk art and primitive designs.

I also love and highly recommend the book Punchneedle Embroidery: 40 Folk Art Designs by Barbara Kemp and Margaret Shaw (a Lark/Chapelle book, 2006). It is a great resource for those new to the craft, plus you get 40 fantastic designs to use, and complete descriptions of how to display and frame the designs once they are done.