The History of Punch Needle, Punch Needle from a Historical Perspective

Aug 10 07:28 2010 Tracey Kramer Print This Article

Punch needle is the latest needlework craze that is sweeping the country.  Its origin will surprise you and perhaps provoke you to take up the needle and try it, thus preserving a fascinating art form.

One of many interesting things about the history of punch needle is its origin. History researched at the University of Michigan Library takes us back to the 15th century when "punch stitch,Guest Posting" as it was called in the beginning, was used mainly for decorating religious vestments, and by men who used it for punching rugs while on long sea voyages from port to port.

It began as a yarn craft, and remains a yarn craft for most punchers, though some yarns look more like embroidery floss in a finished design. Fine gauge acrylic, lusters and polyester yarns are used extensively for Punch Needle Stitchery and look very delicate when finished. These yarns are also easier to use without constant re-threading.

Punch needle embroidery is often referred to as thread painting, since it can be used to depict scenes, not unlike an oil painting. This technique and its variants are known as Punch, Punch Embroidery, Punch Needle Embroidery, Russian Embroidery and Bunka. Although these terms are not the same, they do use the same tool, a punch needle. The basic concept is simple; you punch the yarn through a fabric with a hollow pencil shaped needle, and it leaves tufted loops of yarn over top of the fabric. Punch Needle is more closely related to hook rug than embroidery, but the application and end product are better described as embroideries than rugs.

Punch needle is a rapidly growing revival. It's quick, easy, and seems to be the latest needle craze! You can start a punch needle project in the afternoon and be finished with it by evening. Take the next step by becoming a part of history making a contribution to the history of punch needle.

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Tracey Kramer
Tracey Kramer

To find out more about the history of punch needle and search for punch needle patterns, go to  
Tracey M. Kramer is the proud owner of a cross stitch pattern and accessories website called Sunrays Creations which has been in operation since 2006.  An avid cross stitcher for most of her life starting at age 12, Tracey considers herself a master cross stitcher, loves cross stitch, and is totally devoted to the craft. 

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