I've had a love-hate relationship with Punch Needle for quite a few years now. I first saw it, up close and in person in 2000 when I was in Sturbridge for the Golden Glow of Christmas Convention. I visited the Colonial Crafts shop and fell in love with it. The ladies were so friendly and informative... I walked out of the shop on a sunny afternoon with a Cameo punch, hoop and floss for punch needle. Forward a few days later and.....
Not a pretty sight. Trust me, it is all knotted and yucky. And this was after pulling it out and trying it a couple times, and even over a couple weeks. No matter how hard that I tried, I couldn't get the hang of it.....and I despised the hoop. Mind you, I had been a cross stitcher for many years, but for this, the hoop was not my friend. Fast forward to 2007 and Valley Forge. I had the opportunity to meet Mary Jo Wylie of Wylie Primitive designs. She was needle punching at the show we were doing and took the time for a hands on lesson. Her work was beautiful and so detailed...like tiny rugs, hooked for a dollhouse. I was smitten again and with her help, I purchased the frame stretcher and a Igolochkoy Russian Punch Needle for 3 strand punching....
All righty! See how tiny the Punch Needle is compared to the Cameo? Now, you need to remember that you use 3 strands of floss, verses 6 strands with the Cameo....and that it truly makes for a beautiful project. I drew out my own design and well...it still looked wonky after several attempts. I packed it all away as life kept me busy as a caregiver more frequently.
The following year at Valley Forge, I was pleased to meet Lori Brechlin. I had been a long time fan of Notforgotten Farm since my Primitive Journey began. (One check off my Bucket List of people that I would like to meet). Lori and I talked about many things that day and I felt empowered and inspired. I carried her advice and hints with me. I couldn't pick up the Punch Needle just yet, but when the time was right, I would be ready.
Last Spring, I had blogged about coming across this Tintype treasure in my Punch Needle box. I thought she had been lost, but I couldn't figure out why she would be where she was... except perhaps to nudge me and let me know that it was time. I chatted with friends about adding Punch Needle patterns and Chalk Ware to my offerings....and I started the Chalkware and played with designs until the many blessings of last year took me on their own journey.
Finally, my work settled a bit as it often does right after the Holidays. I ordered a couple patterns and gathered everything..... determined now to learn this.
It was wonky still, as all of our beginnings are in anything that we do. I practiced a bit, took the advice of other Punch friends and decided to just stick with it...wonky or not. It worked! As I worked on it and filled in areas, it wasn't quite so wonky. It seems that I just needed to relax and trust the process....oh, and be comfortable in my beginnings.
None of us make such a journey alone. There is someone along the way that will give you advice, point a direction or just encourage you. You will make it your own, simply by putting your heart into it. I am thankful for everyone that has taken the time and encouraged me every step of the way with this....from the afternoon in a little Sturbridge shop to the encouragement of friends to keep it up. I will continue to learn this medium and I know that I will enjoy the designs of others as well as challenge myself with my own. It's who I am in all that I do.
I hope that this serves to encourage those who teach, design or create to inspire and empower others with what they do. There is plenty of room for everyone. I have not started this medium with my work looking perfect and pretty. I'm not afraid to share that. If I inspire others to do Punch Needle (as well as other mediums that I love), I am thrilled. If it brings a new designer, a way to make money or a way to relax, wonderful! That is truly what being a creative woman is all about. Empower and inspire each other.
*If you would like to see more of Lori's work and life, pleas stop by her beautiful blog. You can find links to all of her designs and supplies.