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Craft Box Club – Needle Punch Tote Bag

It’s been a little while since I did a punch needle project so I was quite looking forward to the latest Craft Box Club, embellishing a jute shopping bag with a Spring-themed motif. 

Included in the box was:

  • Jute shopping bag
  • Green yarn
  • Yellow yarn
  • Punch needle
  • Chalk
  • Paper template

Also included was the link to the ‘how to’ guide on the website. As well as the video tutorial they have also started to include a basic step-by-step photo guide for how to complete the project. I find this really useful, especially when I already know how to do the craft technique. However, the video for this project was quite short and worth a watch as the technique was slightly different to normal due to the lack of embroidery hoop to keep the fabric taut. The first stage was to cut out the paper template of the cheese plant leaf and draw round it onto the bag using the chalk.

Then all that was left to do was punch! I did the outline of the leaf and some veins in the middle and then free styled some daffodils around the edge. The instructions said to do five, but that upset my sense of symmetry a bit so I decided to stick to four, one in each corner! Once all the punch needling was complete I ironed it on the back which apparently helps to relax the fibres to keep the design in place.

Although I liked the project in principal (I always like making useful things and being eco-friendly) I did find the execution of it a little bit problematic along the way. I found the jute material very difficult to punch through and without a hoop to keep the fabric taut I found that several of my stitches fell out after I was too far past them to unpick all the way back to redo them. I also thought that the yarn was a bit too thin for this project. It kept falling out of my needle, which was a little tricky as I needed one hand to hold the needle and the other on the reverse side of the fabric pulling the stitches through. If the yarn had been a bit chunkier I feel that the stitches would have stayed in place better. The problem with only doing a single line of stitches is that usually with a larger area of punch needle the stitches on either side will help to hold the whole design in place. Without any neighbouring stitches the design felt a little precarious. I will be interested to see how long the design lasts once I have used the bag a few times.

Nevertheless, it was good to try a different technique of a craft I am already familiar with. I’m always keen to expand my skill set and try new things. And I love the Spring-like feel of the design, it makes me feel joyful and ready for the new season!

craft kit

Punch Needle Embroidery Rainbow

I haven’t done any punch needling for ages, so when I saw this new punch needle embroidery kit from The Modern Crafter (https://themoderncrafter.co.uk/) I just had to buy it! I always really enjoy their kits as the designs are well thought through and the materials are always great quality. This kit was £29 with free shipping (UK based, may be more for international).

Included in the kit was:

  • Punch needle embroidery tool
  • Pre-printed fabric
  • Yarn x 3 colours 
  • Embroidery hoop

This particular kit caught my eye because it was punch needle embroidery using a Lavor needle as opposed to the regular Oxford needle. The Lavor tool has three interchangeable needles and is a lot smaller than the Oxford, meaning you can do more detailed and intricate designs with it. The ladies at The Modern Crafter recommend using an Aran weight yarn with the largest size needle and embroidery thread (all six strands) with the other two smaller ones. I am interested in doing some experimenting of my own though to see what other kinds of yarn and thread work well with this tool.

The pre-printed design is a rainbow with a sun using three different coloured yarns, which is also available in the main punch needle range as well. The guide is really useful and contains plenty of information about punch needle generally and how to complete this kit specifically. I thought that the section on threading the needle was particularly good with clear step-by-step photographs. I also really liked the close up photo of the difference between loop and flat stitches and the trouble shooting page at the back that had lots of handy hints.

The project itself was quite quick to complete. It is smaller than the usual punch needle kits with a 6 inch hoop rather than an 8 inch hoop. As with most punch needle projects (and my favourite thing about it) you could see your progress really quickly, which is very satisfying. 

I’m really keen to have another go with the Lavor needle. It produces a lovely texture that is so soft and tactile and you can get in smaller spaces than you can with the ordinary Oxford needle. As soon as I finish typing this I’m going to be ordering some fabric and yarn so I can have another go!