Introduction to Punch Needle

20 March 2024
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In the first of our two-part series on punch needle, Sahm Jalbert takes a deep dive into the history and dynamics of this fascinating craft. In Part Two we’ll learn how to create a small pillow decorated with a simple punch needle design

Punch Needle. You may have heard of it or seen videos of it: people poking a tool into a backing fabric and embroidering patterns with yarn. It can be hard to figure out what’s going on and how it works. I’ve been doing punch needle for five years, and teaching for four, and the questions are always the same. Are there knots? How do the stitches stay in? How do you finish it off?

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People often don’t trust what they are seeing because it looks too easy. There must be more to it! The truth is, it really is as simple as it looks. There are no knots and, if done with the right materials, no need for glue. But there are four important rules to follow in order to be successful. Once these four rules become second nature you’ll be able to make any kind of punch needle project you like, pillows, wall hangings, purses, coasters, baskets, and rugs of course!

I love this craft not only because it is endlessly versatile, easy to learn and quick to master but also because punching has a calming, almost meditative quality. After a rough day you can destress with a little directed stabbing action, but soon the lovely, soft, shush-shushing sound of the needle and the repetitive movements will soothe you into a quiet, creative flow state.

All photos by Sahm Jalbert

Copyright © Sahm Jalbert except as indicated.
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About Sahm Jalbert

Sahm Jalbert has been teaching the relaxing and versatile craft of punch needle for five years. Although originally most comfortable with a pencil and paintbrush, Sahm was interested in trying a fibre craft and was intrigued by rug hooking. After trying various methods, she fell in love with Punch Needle rug-hooking because it is highly adaptable and suitable for a wide variety of beautiful and practical objects. At the request of friends, Sahm began teaching workshops and now maintains an Etsy shop where makers can buy tools, kits and original designs. She teaches in person and online, attends markets and creates videos for her informative YouTube channel.

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