Since I have now been asked this question twice, this would be a good place to start with my “advice” column for punch needle. Just so everyone remembers: I didn’t invent this craft, and I am no expert.
I’ve seen dozens of videos and read numerous posts showing the user holding the punch needle tool straight up. “Always punch away from the thread, and never turn the tool, but rather turn the hoop.” I agree with half of this.
I punch sideways now, though I did start the learning process doing my level best to mimic the instructions exactly, coming in at a 90 degree angle. But the more I punched, the lazier I got, and in the process realized that bringing the tool in at a 45 degree angle, almost exactly how you might hold a pencil, gave me an easier punch. Furthermore, I don’t have my lumen (that’s the hole in the needle where the thread comes out of the handle before it goes into the next hole) facing up, but rather I have it facing me. This means I am punching sideways, with the thread always on the other, away, side of the needle. I can move this from left to right, and then come back from right to left, if I wanted. I usually like to swirl my way around the pattern. And while I have not done the math with the amount of thread I’m using by doing it this way, my stitches are smoother but there is definitely more thread in the back.
Also, I make an attempt to punch AWAY from an adjacent stitch so as not to catch it. This normally works. The greatest aggravation in punch needle is hooking an adjacent thread in such a way that you push it out of alignment and you wind up with a orphaned long loop. You can feel this happening. It’s a sinking feeling, and I used to have the tendency to ignore these until the end. I have mentioned that I don’t like simply cutting them topside, and the reason for this will be made known in another post, but I have learned that if I stop immediately, turn the frame over and see the origin of the long loop, I can tell exactly where it is on the back and pull it back into correct position. If there is a long loop, there is a short one next to it. I fix them BOTH right then and there, and then continue to punch.
I have recently mastered FaceTime to speak with my surrogate son’s children in England. I love it. But even more impressively, I am emboldened to try to make a video of my own and demonstrate my techniques for punch needle. That’s on my list for 2018.
That lobster pattern above is available in my Etsy Shop. Just click on the photo to see it.