Every year around the end of January, the Quilting & Sewing fair comes to Phoenix. And every year, I attend. It’s a madhouse! Crafty-types come from surrounding states to attend this event. Parking is a nightmare and the crowd that first day —
THE day any respectable crafter must attend, you know — rivals that of any Super Bowl.
As one might guess, rarely a year goes by that I don’t purchase something. It can be as small as a couple of watercolor brushes or as large as, well, I won’t mention the name brand but that new iron if fabulous!
I’d seen hand embroidery and always wanted to try it, something I thought was a pretty tricky endeavor with standard punch needles.
A couple of years ago, I spotted a vendor using a battery-operated punch needle. Well THAT looked easy enough to do. Yes, of course it was — the guy demonstrating it does that all day long, every day of the year. He ought to be fairly decent at it and I knew that. I bought it anyway.
To be honest, it
was easy. And really fast! It is not, however, good for delicate work. Or for maintaining any semblance of peace and quiet. It has a motor, you see. But I did produce some really nice work.
For smaller work, you really need to use something like Igolochkoy, standard punch needles.
I had watched the demonstration during the 2007 Fair, and found it intriguing. Not intriguing enough to pop the hundred dollars or so to buy the entire system, however. You
MUST have "the system" — anything less just won’t do, as any crafter knows.
I suspect I will buy "the system" next time around though. After fiddling with a project or two with some less-than-quality needles, I discovered that I needed a few helpful hints to encourage my progress.
As luck would have it, I was picking up some tatting thread at a local store with absolutely delightful people running it called the Needlers Nest, when I looked down in the display case and saw a punch needle project. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, I took this as a sign meant to yell, "Where Do I Sign Up?".
After the poor woman ringing up my order was able to detach herself from the ceiling tiles, she handed me a clipboard, I put my name down, and a few weeks later took a 2-part, 2-hour class where I had learned the fine art of Punch Needle Embroidery. Okay, "learn" may be overstating the outcome but with practice, I can say, I’ve become reasonably comfortable with the technique and not half bad at it either.
One of my first projects was, what else but, an American Flag
Go ahead — count the stars. There are, indeed, 50 of them. Note to self for next time: use some artistic license and just punch one large star; it will save a tremendous amount of time while reflecting the intent.
My most recent project was a bit more intricate but it turned out exactly as I’d envisioned it.
Neither of these projects is finished, in that, they need to be backed and attached to their respective articles of clothing; the flag goes on the sleeve of my company’s shirt I wear while performing inspections and the eagle to the back of a chambray jacket that I wear almost everywhere. Or will once the eagle is attached.