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‘Folksy Punch Needle’ MakeBox

This month’s MakeBox was a punch needle project with a folksy theme. I’ve been quite looking forward to this as I’m keen to try out my newly acquired punch needle skills. I have a few designs of my own I’d like to try soon but it’s always good to practice first!

In the box there was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Grey, red and sage green yarn
  • Navy blue thread
  • Punch needle
  • Sewing needle and pins
  • Round cushion pad
  • Hessian fabric
  • Cotton lining fabric
  • Felt backing fabric
  • Paper template and transfer sheet
  • Postcard

The main project was to make a punch needle cushion. I started off by applying the design to the fabric using the waxy transfer paper, tracing over the flower and bird design with a pencil. This left a white mark on the hessian fabric. The hessian fabric was chosen as it has quite a loose weave to allow the punch needle to pass through it easily. Once I had traced the design I fixed the fabric in the embroidery hoop. It needs to be as taut as possible and I found I was constantly pulling it tight again as the process of pushing the needle through easily makes the fabric baggy. I was a little disappointed that the waxy transfer paper was smaller than the actual design which meant I had to do a bit of jigging around trying to line the pattern back up once I’d moved the transfer paper. Although it wasn’t much of a problem I do find small details like this a bit annoying as it seems like something that should be checked and measured when putting the box together.

I really enjoyed the actual punch needle part of the project. It’s a really satisfying craft that gets quick results. You can see the effects of your work straight away and it doesn’t take long to fill in an area. Most of the design was filled in working from the front to the back using the flatter stitch to create the blocks of colour. This meant it was important to be neat and work the stitches closely together. The smaller flowers and anthers of the larger flower were created working from the back to the front to achieve the looped stitches, which gave it a nice 3D effect.

There was the option to leave it as a wall hanging but I wanted to complete the project so I followed the next steps to turn it into a cushion. I marked out the 12 inch circle from the pattern onto each of the three pieces of fabric and then added a 1 inch seam allowance. After cutting out all three I pinned the hessian and lining cotton together and sewed around them. The navy lining cotton is to prevent the white cushion pad showing through the hessian. I then pinned the felt backing to the front of the hessian so that the design was covered over. After sewing these together, leaving a gap to put the cushion pad through, I then trimmed the seam allowance down to 1cm and cut notches in it so that it wouldn’t be bulky when I turned it the right way round. Once I had pulled it through so that the design was showing I stuffed the cushion pad inside, making sure it was pushed right to the edges. Lastly, I pinned the two sides together and sewed up the gap.

There was also a mini project in the box as usual. A ‘peace and dove’ postcard to embroider. There were no holes pre-punched in it, so it was up to me to choose where to place them, which was unfortunate as some of my holes were too close and ended up merging together! It still looked ok in the end though. Another one for the wall!

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