Friday, September 7, 2012

I love punch needle embroidery but…

Back in the mid-‘80s it was called “Rush’n Punch”.  Do you remember?   Boye Needle manufactured the special needle/ tool and sold kits and books. They also heavily advertised it on television which was rather unusual.  Remember those were the days BEFORE infomercials.

The way Rush’n Punch was done is that the design was transferred onto the back of the fabric and worked from the back.  By plunging the needle up and down you created little loops of thread on the front. 

I can only remember making one item and that was a Santa Claus face that I appliqued onto my daughter’s Christmas stocking. Labor Day Wknd_2012 005 I punched the beard and facial hair with white embroidery floss and used fabric paints for the rest of the features. The stocking was my attempt to make my youngest daughter see that Santa was really a very sweet, kindly little old man who loved children and not the fat creepy guy at the mall.  Eventually she outgrew her fear but I have no pictures of her with Santa before the age of 8!  I still have the stocking but it hasn’t fared well.   I packed it away in the attic one year with a beautiful snow globe for protection—you can guess what happened over the winter in a frigid attic.

So when I  was at Mancuso World Quilt Show a couple of weeks ago and saw several vendors selling patterns, needles and kits for punch needle embroidery.  I sort of got bitten by the bug, again.  BTW,  it’s now called “punch needle embroidery” all references to the Russians have been dropped.

I wasn’t planning on buying a kit, especially since it didn’t relate to any of my other unfinished projects but DANG, I saw this adorable little snowman pillow designed by Brenda Gervais and even though I walked away and tried very hard to not make a circle and come back past that vendor’s booth, I did and I bought the kit too. 

The nice vendor, who took my money,  tried to give me some pointers but I felt like if I’d done it with the Boye needle 30+ years ago, I should be an expert, right?   NOT.   It took me a couple of hours just to get the first stitch in because I wasn’t holding the needle correctly.  Once I got that fixed, then it was quite a bit of time to get consistent stitches and  some of that is because of the weaver’s cloth which is more loosely woven than the cotton muslin I used on my first project.  I did find some great videos on YouTube that were really helpful.

Boye (pun intended) punch needle costs a lot more than the old “rush’n punch” did in 1986!  Geez, the needle is now $18.00 (I think I paid $2.99 for the Boye needle), the pattern and pre-marked fabric cost $13.95, I needed to buy an embroidery hoop but I got 090708 003one at Jo-Ann’s for $2.99 and the thread was $3.45 per ball.

I can’t wait to get this pillow done.  It’s not large—most of the punch needle embroidery designs are under 12 inches so they’re very portable.  I take mine to work and spend some of my lunch hour working on it and I like to sit on the porch in the afternoon and stitch.  I hope to have it done by October.  I’m trying to keep up with Bonnie Hunter’s hour a day of hand stitching.  I hope this counts.

Well T.G.I.F. Everyone….Tomorrow I’m sleeping in till 8:00 am and then the Garden Club is hosting a mushroom walk with a mushroom specialist.  I’m hoping to be able to share some of that with you as well. 



  1. Your Santa stocking was very sweet....and I really like this snowman! I saw booths at the last big show I was at, but didn't get anything there. I've never done it before, and couldn't justify $75+ for a new craft I might not take to. But at a thrift store I recently found a kit for $10, so now I have a chance to try it without breaking the bank! Can't wait to try it!

  2. I love punch needle and do them in between my other projects. Brenda does wonderful designs and I love to make my own too, so very versatile.



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