A. Well, a punch needle would help! ;-) You also need: a hoop- the material must be kept as tight as you can. various threads- DMC floss works great, but do not be afraid to try other types of threads, even silk ribbon! a tightly woven fabric. I have used silk, with a webbing on the back that made it stiffer. You have to have something that will hold the threads in place. It is best to start out using a tight even weave cotton muslin. That way, you can get the hang of it, and experiment without ruining an expensive piece of velvet!
A.You need to have about 10 to 15 inches of thread to begin with. My needle came with a long thin wire. If you have one like that, then you put the folded over part down through your needle top, until it sticks out the bottom. Put the thread in the loop, like threading a needle eye. Make sure you have about 5 inches of thread sticking through the wire. Pull the thread up and through the needle. Then you take the wire off the thread and put the wire through the eye of the needle. The needle has a side that is at an angle. That is the side your thread comes up through. You want to bring your thread into the eye on that side, and have it dangling loose on the straight side of the needle. Now, you should have thread hanging out the bottom of the needle holder, and some thread dangling from the straight side of the needle tip
A.You want to hold it to where the angled side of the needle is facing away from the last row you punched, at about a 60% angle. Make sure you have about 1 or 2 inches of a thread tail sticking through the eye of the needle, - that is what will hold your thread in place. Now- hold the needle punch just like you would a pen or pencil, and stick it all the way in your fabric, until it won't go in any further.Now-- THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!!!
Pull it up, until the tip of the needle barely comes out of the material then scooch it up just a tad, and stick it all the way in again. You want to pull it just barely up out of the material, slide it over about one needle's width, then punch it in again.
A.If you want to. You can both do the needlepunch before and after you piece the fabric. If you do it before, make sure you leave enough fabric around the punchwork to be able to sew it down as a patch. If you have a patch that is pieced, and you want to punch on it- do a test punch of 2 stitches first, and make sure that the loop is big enough to go through the layers of fabric you have in the patch. Make sure that the area is in a hoop. Take a contrasting thread, and baste around the area where you want to punch- then when you turn the block over, you can see how much room you have to draw or transfer your design. Do 2-3 practice stitches to make sure you have your loops big enough to make it through all the layers of your pieced block.
A.Basically, you can needle punch any fabric, as long as it is a tight enough weave. If it is a loose weave, you can still use it- all you have to do is back it with a tight weave fabric, either by layering the tight fabric under the loose, or by ironing a lightweight WOVEN stabilizer on the back. You may also use the above technique, and making a motif that is added. I don't believe in No-No's- I believe in experimenting!
A. This depends on the look you want, and the material you are using. The amount of strands used also depends upon the needle size. The smaller the needle, the fewer the strands. A heavy material would call for more strands of thread, so they would show up, and naturally, that means a larger needle. Normally, I use regular DMC floss, 3 strands. You can use various types of threads. I use DMC because it is easily available, not real expensive, and it comes in so many colors. Also, DMC floss feels almost like silk floss when needlepunched. Silk ribbon may be used in needlepunch, also. As well as heavy yarns, normally used for couching. As long as the needle is the same size as what you put through it, you will not have much trouble, as the needle makes the hole for the thread to go through.
A. Just about. You do not want to use a pattern that is TOO intricate, when you are first beginning. Most of the transfers available are great for needlepunch. I draw a lot of my own designs. After you have done some practicing, you will be amazed at the detail you can achieve by using shading and shearing in your work!
A. YES! Always work in a hoop, as the fibers of the material need to be pulled tight. Then when the threads from the needle punch are placed, releasing the material will cause it's fibers to tighten up towards one another again, and that will hold the needlepunched threads in. Your fabric needs to be tight, but it doesn't have to be so tight you can bounce a dime on it- in a pinch, you can even punch by holding the fabric taut between your fingers!!!!
A. Just cut the thread you are using off close to the material, then re-thread your needle, and begin where you left off!
A. You can do both. You can use needlepunch along the seam lines, but you would probably have to do two or more rows side by side for the work to really show up. Some of the more effective ways I have seen needlepunch worked is in Judith Montano's books. In one place she uses it to suggest a line of trees.