Rugmaking with Punch Needle

#design, #rugmaking

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of making my own rug and using leftover yarns (of which I have plenty) to create something with pattern and colour. I watched many videos on punch needling, ordered some supplies and got to work.

For the backing fabric, I used woven polyester material gifted to me. It was from a swatch book of interior upholstery fabric and though it wasn’t as open a weave as Monk’s cloth or linen, I was able to use a No 14 Mini Oxford Punch Needle to punch through it.

The yarn was a combination of hand spun wool (two flowers and seeds), commercial wool/cotton (one flower), hand dyed commercial wool (leaves) and commercial wool (background).

I made up the design, aiming to keep it as simple shapes that could use the yarn I had and would fill up the space without too much of any one element. I did encounter problems with keeping the material pulled tight, as I didn’t use a rug hooking frame, but rather a combination of embroidery hoop frame and old wooden photo frame (with staples). As you can see from the photos below, I didn’t allow enough of a border around the design for the piece to fit nicely into the frame, and so I even sewed it into the frame for the final punching.

This is all part of the learning curve with the project. Other lessons include whip stitching the border with only a single strand of wool (definitely should have doubled it to make the process faster) and steaming/ironing the piece on completion (which made it look flat and so ended up handwashing it and it has come up well).

I’m really happy with the end result, but now I’m not sure where to put it or whether I can bear to wipe my feet on it. Maybe once I have made another rug, this one can actually be used as intended.

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Punch needle project in wooden photo frame

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Punch needle project in embroidery hoop

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Completed punch needle mat at bottom of the stairs

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Detail of punch needle mat