I have been wanting to make a punch needle wreath for over a year now. I had a dream in my head (inspired by @julie_weaves) but too many things on my plate. It’s been on the back burner for far too long! This Christmas I decided I was going to make it happen and it would be my Christmas wreath for the front door.
Inspiration hit while I was attending a local wreath making class (if you want floral inspiration, check out @oftheearthflorals, their floral arrangements are the best!).
I made it simple, bushy and full and added a few details to make it look like me. The color combo just happened, which is my favorite way of doing things! I wanted a palm, she brought out this dusty pink. I tried 5 different ribbon colors when this blue popped and I knew it was the one. Dried oranges have been calling my name since last Christmas.
She adorned my door for a week and I did love her so, but it was time to make my Punch Needle Christmas wreath!
I pulled the colors from the wreath into my Punch needle piece. This blue yarn has been in my yarn stash for months, always calling my name. I’m currently obsessed with fabric strips and different stitches so I raided my fabric stash. The colors came together so easily, it was kismet.
FRAME – I find I can start a project more easily, if my frame isn’t hard to set up. I wanted a big wreath, which meant I needed a big frame. So I turned to my trusty Gripper Strip frame.
FABRIC – I used a piece of scrap Monks cloth that didn’t reach from end to end on my frame, but by using the Gripper Strip frame, I was able to stretch it without any problems. I made sure to stretch the middle extra tight.
YARN/FABRIC STRIPS – This yarn is an acrylic blend, yarn weight 6. It is thinker than most yarns I use, but the Oxford stood up well. For fabric strips, I’ve been having a lot of luck with linen blend fabrics. These are from the Kaufman Washer Linen Blend series, colors Blush and Pink Clay.
TOOLS – The design all started with the 14″ Gold Hoop. I used a size 16 tapestry needle for the poofy stitch, the weave stitch and the long stitch. And a #8 Regular Oxford Punch Needle for the back stitch and wide stitch.
A WORD ON THE TEMPLATE
I’ve been finding that my template is the most important step in ensuring a successful project. A punch piece tends to be on the large side (I’m guessing because the yarn pushes the fabric pieces out and makes it larger).
I’ve troubleshooted this fact by tracing inside the lines when making my template. I pull my fabric inside my frame first. Then I set to make my template. For this piece, I laid my gold hoop on a piece of paper (I glued sheets of paper together to make it large enough). I traced the gold hoop with a pencil on the inside of the hoop.
Then I use a permanent marker to darken the lines. I’ve found if I trace inside my pencil line with the permanent marker, this helps my template.
My finished piece ended up being bigger than the hoop even with doing this adjustment. Luckily, my wide long stitch (explained below) ended up working in my favor. I was able to pull this up and over the gold hoop, which I believe added to the design. The sweeping fabric over the side looks stunning.
One more note, the back stitch also worked well to folded over the hoop.
Exploring new stitches has been my jive these days. I love trying something new, exploring how to make something work and combining stitches to create even more texture.
BACK STITCH – In the Punch portion of the wreath, I used the standard, traditional Back Stitch to start (shown in blue). For information on how to complete the back stitch, head to the How to Punch Needle page.
POOFY STITCH – I knew I wanted to incorporate a Poofy Stitch, so I figured why not do that next. (Sometimes I laugh at my design process. It seems romantic and dreamy in my head as I’m creating, but in words, it looses the romance. Haha.) I wanted a rainbow like effect in colors so I did two strands of each color.
Poofy Stitch Steps
- Rip fabric (or cut with scissors if you prefer a clean cut line) into 3 inch pieces.
- Cut one end of the stitch to fit inside the eye of the tapestry needle. Tie a knot in the other end.
- Insert needle into the Monks cloth. I find shimmying the needle and fabric helps to guide it inside the Monks cloth strands. Pull through.
- Insert the needle back into the fabric about an inch or so away from your first stitch. Pull through.
- Guide and form the fabric into poofs using your fingers. Repeat until desired poofs are in place and tie a knot in the back.
LONG STITCH – While I had the wide 3 inch strips of the pink fabric on my needle, I explored a long stitch. I was curious how the wide strips would look as a stitch and I could not be happier with the results. The long stitch here was done with the tapestry needle. As a bonus, my punch piece ended up being a tad too big for my gold hoop. I was able to wrap this long stitch up and over the hoop to create a curtain like effect. It worked out so smoothly!!
WEAVING STITCH – I’ve been playing with the weave stitch lately, so it was top of mind to try next. I don’t have a video tutorial this one yet (look for it to come), so I’ll do my best to explain it. In Pink Clay fabric, I twisted 4 wide strips of fabric (about 3 inches wide) together and laid them on the canvas. I then used 1/2 inch strips of the golden yellow fabric and my tapestry needle. You simply hand stitch these into place. Going up through the fabric on the far side, heading down into the fabric on the opposite side, being sure to catch the Pink Clay fabric into place. You are essentially using a running stitch to hold the fabric into place. Skip the next row. Place a running stitch in the third row. Move over 1/2 inch in the middle row, place a running stitch. Offset the stitch in each row and offset each row, as well.
WIDE STITCH – At this point, I felt a little lost. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tie all of the stitches and all of the colors together. Somehow, I remembered the wide stitch. It’s by far my favorite stitch. It allows you to create and flow unlike the other stitches. You can weave in and out of other colors. You can make them different lengths. You can more visually flow colors together. It’s quite simply, fun.
Wide Stitch Steps
- Rip fabric (or cut with scissors if you prefer a clean cut line) into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Too narrow causes too many loose strands. Too wide doesn’t fit inside the tool.
- Thread #8 Regular Oxford (the Oxford works well for fabric strips). You can also use a tapestry needle. I like to use the Oxford as I find it works up quicker. It is normal for the fabric to slip out a bit, simply guide back into the handle and continue.
- Insert needle into the Monks cloth. Holding fabric on the backside, pull strip and insert again about an inch from first stitch. You will need to turn your tool as you work (open side of needle always points toward the direction you are working)
- Important NOTE: Hold the fabric loops on the backside as the strips will pull and may come out as you work. Holding them at the back keeps them nice and snug and easier to work with.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
GLUE MIDDLE HEM – From here, you assemble the wreath. After removing the punch piece from the frame and trimming the fabric, you will glue the middle edge, similar to hemming the edges when you sew. Fold the fabric in half once, fold again. Glue down all along the middle hem. Allow to dry overnight. You may be able to cut this down to 2 nights by also gluing the top 1/3 fabric over the hoop. If the glue is too flimsy, you will need to wait overnight.
GLUE TOP 1/3 TO HOOP – To ensure a tight fit, you will want to glue 1/3 of the piece to the hoop and allow to dry overnight. Then glue the other side, the next day and allow to dry. Using a similar hem set up, fold fabric over the hoop, fold in half once and then again and glue down the folded edge. Use clips to hold the fabric into place and ensure a tight seal. Allow to dry overnight.
GLUE BOTTOM 2/3 TO HOOP – Remove clips from the day before and repeat steps from yesterday. First, pull the fabric tight over the hoop and use a few clips to hold it in place (without glue) while you glue it down along the edge. Fold in half once and then again and glue folded edge down. Use clips to hold in place as it dries.
ADD CHRISTMAS GREENERY – And finally the Christmas greenery, palm branches and orange slices!! To get the sprigs to stand up on the gold hoop, I found using small sprigs helped considerably. I used floral wire to attach the sprigs to the hoop. After the greenery was in place, I added the orange slices and palm. The palm was able to stay in place by stabbing it inside the greenery branches. For the orange slices, I bent a piece of wire in half and stuck each of the ends inside the top of the orange. I used the floral wire to join the oranges together, twisting the ends of the wire. I then inserted the 3 wire ends and twisted together to hold into place.
While the color inspiration for this wreath came from a Christmas wreath, I’m most excited that it is a seasonal neutral color. It’s full on Christmasy now, but I plan to remove the greenery and use it all year round. And it even acts as a piece of art all on its own.
The best part is I had a blast making it! The punched piece was a pure joy to create. The time I spent on a craft all to my own is reminding me once again why I love to create. That moment when you step away to admire your work and instantly smile with pride. That’s why.
May you be at peace. May you feel inspired. May you feel joy.