Punching tips

Greetings Punch Needle Friends. Wow, it has been awhile since I’ve posted something. But here I am, back again. I see on Facebook many new punchers posting questions about punch needle, so I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way.

One question I see is how do you know how much thread you need for a project. Patterns you purchase should give you that information, but if you come up with your own pattern you might not know. And I guess it is a subjective answer. It depends on what depth loop you make and how close you make your loops. Below is a picture of my latest project. This bunny was a freebie doodle from http://primitivebettys.blogspot.com/ I punch with a Cameo punchneedle set at #1 depth. It is 4×5 inches.  I used one DMC ecru skein for the background on the picture below.  Looking at the progress I’ll estimate using two more skeins of ecru.


I normally use all six strands and never remove the two paper labels from the DMC floss. Just find the end of the strand and pull out 15-18 inches at a time. Removing the paper makes tangling much more likely.  If you aren’t watching you might run out of thread and result in leaving the end exposed on the front of you piece. Once I reach the point where the end of the thread reaches the top of my needle I start counting. Using the #1 depth with DMC I know I can’t count more than 20 punches before my thread runs out. (I added the green foam you see on my punch needle because my wrist gets sore after punching for a long period of time.)


Punching guidelines tell you to never punch over an existing row of stiches. When working in small areas you might become tired of snipping your thread to move a half inch to begin again. What I do is draw out a good half inch of thread at my stopping point and then begin punching again in the next area, leaving a loop. You can then return and snip the little loop you formed in that process. The picture below shows the two ends to snip. (Something else I just thought of. I don’t cut my tails close to the fabric until I am finishes punching. When you have multiple colors is a small area it is nice to have that tail to push to the side as you come close with a different color)


Sometimes as you are punching you might have one loop fail to stay in place. The first photo shows is from the front of the piece and shows the space created. In the second photo I inserted the threader to show where the loop didn’t stay. You can cut the thread at that spot and on your next round of punching fill in that spot. (Hope that makes sense. If you don’t fix it until the whole piece is done it is more difficult to find that gap.)


This next photo shows one way your thread might get hung up and prevent your loops from staying in place. I punch by holding my hoop in my lap and letting the thread fall by my side on my chair. I will sometimes get the thread hung up on a button on my cuff also.


Some of these tips might seem like no-brainers, but I hope I was somewhat helpful. Visit my site while you are here and consider becoming a follower. Happy punching!

Starry starry night

Hello Friends,

It has been a dry spell for posting, so here is a little something. It is so nice to see the thermometer climb up to 60 some degrees. We lost power a week ago today and went without until Tuesday afternoon around 1pm. The house hit a low of 48 degrees and it took three hours for the furnace to get us back to 68. No punching on those days and nights.

Here is something I’ve been wanted to try for some time. I finally got it drawn up and on the weaver’s cloth. It was a great piece to punch. I still need to decide how to finish and frame it. It’s difficult to draw something to fit a standard size frame and this was no exception. I think I’ll either mat it or attach it to a piece of wool. (As soon as I decide on that color.)  So here it is.


Early Homestead Show March 18

Greetings Friends. Welcome to Yooper Trails Needle Punch. It’s just three days until the primitive show in Holly, MI. I have been punching away on many new projects which will be available on Saturday. I hope you can stop by. Here are a few photos.

Thank you to Betty Dekat for the sweet freebie pattern
This design comes from Lori Brechlin of Not Forgotten Farm
This is my pattern. I’ve always been partial to this little bunny and I’ve punched it three times.
This is also a Betty pattern.
I wanted to capture the Warren Kimball style with this one, which is my version.
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A few little Easter egg lollipops along with ‘Little Harry’ bunnies. The basket is adorned with Teresa Kogut’s bunnies.
My little primitive pup sits on a hornbook I found at Kathy Maker’s shop in Frederick, Maryland
This Fraktur sits on another hornbook from Kathy’s shop. Her dad makes all of her hornbooks. This is also my design.
Thank you, Doreen Frost for another lovely design.

In like a lion or like a lamb

We have enjoyed a few lovely days of warm sunny weather here in Michigan. Tomorrow is March 1 and we all know better than to lower our weather guard. However, spring is coming. I have been dabbling in a bit of spring cleaning and de-cluttering. Like New Years Day or the first day of school, spring is a motivating time for me.

Allow me to share some thoughts on aging. I’m really ok with the process, but I wish I could have 20-year old eyes. I wear glasses, but historically only away from home. I just feel better without them…like shoes I take them off as soon as I get in the house. (Added bonus, this gives me one more item to search for later) Well, the other day I was trying to thread the pointy part of a needle. After several attempts and a bit of grumbling I put on the darn glasses and it was like a miracle. The thread went through that little hole like it was magnetized. I don’t have any deep earth-shaking realization from all this. Just wanted to share the story.

I am getting excited for the Early Homestead Show at Holly, Michigan on March 24. This is a great place to find those prims we all love. You can find details at the Holly Hills Primitives by clicking here. I will have a booth there with my punch needle creations. Stop on by.

These two bunnies are from Betty Dekat at Primitive Betty’s, click here. The hornbook bunnies was a freebie and the little guy posed on the doorknob was a pattern.


I drew up Rabbit and Flowers. It is one of my favorites and I’ve punched it three times. I used Valdani variegated threads and punched in circles randomly throughout the rabbit’s body and the background. This is a technique suggested by Doreen Frost. It creates a nice finish. It also breaks up the repetitive action of the finishing the background.


Just so you know, I can punch other things than rabbits. This one I drew to reflect the Warren Kimball style. I painted the frame with my favorite burgundy. This great frame reminds me of a barn wall.


Here’s one last photo and I’m off to start my day. Thanks so much for stopping by.

January punching

Hello Friends. I hope you are filling your winter days with warm and cozy activity. Now that the holidays have passed I’ve been doing a bit of punching myself. It won’t be long until spring arrives and with spring comes the Early Homestead Show in Holly, MI. On March 24 look for Yooper Trails at the spring show. Dick and Dawn do a spring and fall primitive show filled with wonderful primitives and great vendors. Mark your calendar.

Following the primitive theme, which I love, here are a few new pieces. Bird and Tulip are reminiscent of the Fraktur style. I punched Little Dog to recall the hooked rugs of the 1800s.

The hornbooks are from Primitive Homespuns in Frederick, MD.  I have tried different methods of attaching my pieces. In the past I’ve sewn a backing onto the punched piece and then glued that to the wood. While that works all right, it sometimes doesn’t fit as flat against the wood as I would like. This time I cut the weavers cloth about 3/4 inch around the piece and then folded it back and sewed it leaving the back of the piece exposed. Fold back the corners first and then the sides. This gives you a nice crisp corner. I use Allene’s Tacky Glue.


Olde New England Garden is yet another awesome creation from Doreen Frost from Vermont Harvest Folk Art. This little pouch just needs some rose hips or dried flowers.


Thanks for stopping by today. Keep warm.

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello from Yooper Trails.  The days don’t pass any slower, do they? Here we are on the back side of November. I’m sure you are all busy preparing for Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with family and friends. Here’s my first step.

I have been tackling the finishing of a lot of projects for the Elf Shelf at the Troy High School this Saturday, November 25. It is so easy to get things punched, but the finishing seems to pile up. I did this Santa and reindeer from a pattern from The Simple Quiet. You can visit Rebecca’s website by clicking on the name above. I mounted the piece on a chair back, using Tinker Toys for balance.


These little pouches are from Doreen Frost.

Aren’t they lovely? She is such a talented artist.



These cookie cutters from an Indiana antique store found new life.

Reduce, reuse and recycle.


This little guy, a freebie doodle from Ginger Jackson, Prairie Moon Primitives, will be the project for my next class at the end of the month. I think he will be well received.


Thank you for stopping by. Come again.


Wow, can you believe it is already October? We have been having August weather here, although the last few days have been nice. Busy days here, with the Spring Run Farm show and a conference in Boyne Highlands and this weekend my husband and I celebrated our 45th anniversary by seeing the Million Dollar Quartet at Caesars’ at Windsor and then enjoying dinner and spending the night at the MGM in Detroit.

The Million Dollar Quarter is a re-enactment of a jam session with Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. It was an entertaining look at the early days of rock and roll.

I still find time to continue punching. Here are a few photos of some wintery pieces. After the Spring Run show my sister and I did some antiquing, where I found the cookie cutters and the cupboard.

Thanks for visiting today. Let me know what you are working on. I have a few more things ‘almost completed’ that I hope to show soon.

Spring Run Farm Fall Festival

Well, tomorrow morning I leave for my sister Carole’s home. Saturday morning we’ll wake the birds and head out to Lowell, Indiana for the Spring Run show. It is always exciting to meet with people and share my love of punch needle. The weather looks to be perfect. I like to have a project started to demonstrate punch needle. This is what I came up with.  Enjoy this lovely late summer weekend.

winter runner rabbit

September is here

Summer visited with some great sunshine, lazy days, sweet corn, tomatoes, morning coffee on the deck, evening wine on the deck. I blinked my eyes and summer is gone like a melted Frosty Snowman.  Reading posts on Facebook this morning I found multiple pictures of youngsters heading of to the first year of school and the last year of middle school. Exciting times for both children and parents.

Preparation here continues for the Spring Run Harvest Fest on Sept 16. Spring Run Farms is in Lowell, Indiana. I’m looking forward to doing the show with my sister, Carole who will have a booth also. Visit Carole’s Picture Trail by clicking here to see her beautiful cross stitch and quilts.

I have a few finishes to share with you. The first is Mr Turkey standing on a pumpkin. This is a Cathy Sowers design, that I hope I did justice to. I used crushed walnut shells to stuff this.



Halloween cat arrives on her little whisk broom, ready for the season. Not all that scary, but full of fun. I sewed on a brown plaid cotton backing. I was able to just tack in onto the broom with a few stitches on each side.



Pretty Tressie inspects the work of the human. She hasn’t yet given her nod of approval. She just wonders why her favorite spot has been invaded. (Note the dog collar. Corky has been gone for many years, but his memory remains.)

Now I put punch needle aside and prepare for a pre-anniversary get-away with my wonderful husband of 45 years.

Thank you for stopping by.



More Halloween Fun

I need a day to ‘rest the wrist’ so it is a good time to post a blog entry.  I love the fall colors for punching. The oranges and golds and browns… I remember reading once that the change of colors was the tree blushing before dropping leaves for her winter sleep.

So I finished Lori Rippey’s Little Jack. I tried make the background reminiscent of the Magdalena Briner style. Little Jack will become a cupboard hanger and will be available at the Spring Run Farm on September 16. Lori’s patterns are available. Click here.


This is a second version of my Three Witches.


I found the antique cookie cutters at Kathy Makers Primitive Homespuns when we visited Frederick, Maryland. All you punchers know that you need to be careful to reverse your image when punching or else you will end up with a mirror image. I’m happy to say that by pure luck that didn’t happen to me.


My next focus will be finishing Cathy Sower’s Turkey on a Pumpkin make-do. Stay tuned for more pictures.

Thanks for the visit. What are you working on today?