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Punch Needle Tools - An Overview

Posted by Shawna Fosket on
Punch Needle Tools - An Overview

You are hooked! You’re ready to start! But wait, why is it so hard to find a tool? Why can’t I buy all of this in one place?


Punch needle is up and coming so the information out there isn’t always clear cut. I will lead you through chaos. Let’s start with Punch Needle Tools.


There are several different tools on the market for punch needle. There all have different pros and cons. They all thread differently. And some don’t even let you use yarn.


Here is an overview of each punch needle tool. The pros and cons of each. How to thread each. And videos showing how to use each tool. And where you can buy each. Happy tooling! :)

Adjustable punch needle tool


1) Adjustable Handle Punch Needle

This tool is my favorite mostly because of the range of loop lengths. I love being able to play with different loop lengths and bring my art alive in a new way.

Pros

  • One tool for 6 loop lengths

  • Sturdy construction - wood handle with stainless steel needle. Quality tool to work with.

  • Smooth entry into fabric - Stainless steel needle goes into the fabric nice and smooth making a relaxing and rhythmic sensation.

  • Full hollow needle, no open slot - Yarn stays nicely in the needle while working, no need to worry about the yarn being pulled by getting stuck in the needle or by falling out of the open slot while working.

Cons

  • Smaller handle - The handle is small not fitting the full length of the hand. It’s only a minor con, but there are other needles that feel better in the hand and make for a more enjoyable process.

  • Use of threader required - The full hollow needle (no open slot) is a plus for the tool, however, it is also a minus in my eyes. A threader is required to get the yarn through the needle. While it is easy to thread, I still find it bothersome to carry a threader around with me.

Threading

To thread the adjustable handle needle, you place the threader in the top of the needle (where the eye and slanted slot are located). The threader will come out the bottom of the needle, where you will insert your yarn. Once an inch of yarn is through the bottom of the needle, you will pull the threader through the needle. Take off the threader. Lastly, thread the yarn through the eye of the needle. Using your finger, place a portion of the yarn into the eye. Grad the yarn with your other handle and pull it through. Threading is done!


Where to buy: Well my store, of course!! :) Click here to buy.

2) Oxford Punch Needle

The Oxford punch needle is my second favorite. The handle is large, fits well in the hand and no threader is needed.

Pros

  • Easy to thread - open slot in the handle and needle allows for easy threading.

  • Sturdy construction - Very nice wooden handle, steel needle. Very good quality.

  • Smooth entry into fabric - The steel needle allows smooth and rhythmic entry into the fabric.

  • Ergonomic handle - A lot of thought was put into the handle. A large stopper end, skinny middle with a well placed bump to provide just the right resistance in your hand. Very comfortable fit.

Cons

  • One loop length - While the tool has several really big pros, the biggest con is the lack of variety in the loop length. To get different loop lengths, multiple needles have to be purchased. With the price point, it is very expensive to be able to do so.

Threading

To thread the Oxford Punch Needle, push the yarn through the eye of the needle. Grad the yarn with your other hand and pull it through. While holding the yarn at the top of the needle with one hand, use your other hand to pull the yarn down and into the handle of the tool. Once the yarn is in the slot, pull the yarn up through the top of the needle. This will lead the yarn through the rest of your needle and allow the yarn to move freely as you work.

Where to buy: In my shop!!  If you're looking for a fine needle or different loop length, head over to Amyoxford.com

Which one to buy? - It depends on the look you want. For most of what you see online, you will want to get the Regular 10 Punch needle. It’s a good loop length and it holds yarn. It's the only one I own and it has worked for anything I've wanted to make. 


3) Amazon Punch Needle

If you’re anything like me, you’ve search for a punch needle tool on Amazon. With free and fast shipping, it’s my go to, as well. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t have a lot to offer at this point. One yarn thickness tool and several embroidery punch needle tools. We’ll go over the yarn thickness tool first.

Pros

  • Low price point - at $11 on Amazon, it’s the cheapest option out there.

  • 4 adjustable loop lengths - It does offer different loop lengths, which is always a plus in my book.

Cons

  • Plastic and copper construction - The low price points come with it’s flaws. The handle is a hard plastic making it sturdy, but at the end of the day, it is still plastic. The needle is made of a copper material. I haven’t seen one of these particular needles tarnish, but I have seen a Hobby Lobby Punch needle tool with a copper needle tarnish. It turned my fabric blue/green when I tried to use it. Maybe you can clean this, I’m not sure.

  • Needle catches on fabric when working - This is a minor catch, it doesn’t affect the quality of punching. The tool still works well like all the others. But it does catch a little. It’s not as smooth of an entry into the fabric. In fact, I feel a bit picky about this one. It may be a personal preference. At the end of the day, I don’t find it enjoyable to use.

  • Needle can pop out of handle after using extensively - The tool uses a spring action to adjust loop lengths. Although minor, the middle portion of the needle would wiggle out of the notch and not hold my loop length.

Threading

You thread the Amazon plastic handle punch needle like you do the Adjustable handle needle. Place the threader in the top of the needle (where the eye and slanted slot are located). The threader will come out the bottom of the needle, where you will insert your yarn. Once an inch of yarn is through the bottom of the needle, you will pull the threader through the needle. Take off the threader. Lastly, thread the yarn through the eye of the needle. Using your finger, place a portion of the yarn into the eye. Grad the yarn with your other handle and pull it through. Threading is done!

Where to buy: Amazon

4) Embroidery punch needle

If you’ve been following Punch Needle on IG or searched for Punch Needles on Amazon, you will have come across an embroidery punch needle. This tool is intended for use with small embroidery thread (think cross stitch). It is too thin to hold yarn. It is a beautiful art as well, but not to be used when wanting to work with yarn.

Where to buy: Amazon

Ultra Punch note - I don’t know a whole lot about embroidery punch, but I have been told the Ultra Punch is the best tool for this. Unfortunately, they have decided not to make it anymore. It is hard to find an Ultra Punch these days. Your best bet is to buy the different options available on Amazon.

5) Craftsman Punch Needle

The Craftsman Punch needle has been around for years. It has different loop lengths and an open slot allowing for easy threading. However, even with these attributes, I had troubles getting used to it. It wasn’t so easy to thread. The locking mechanism wouldn’t stay in place. I quickly left it behind and found myself avoiding it at all costs.

Pros

  • Center slot allows for threading without a threader - The open slot throughout the handle and needle allows you to leave your threader behind.

  • Adjustable loop lengths - This tool has XX loop lengths making it the most variety in loop lengths on the market.

  • Smooth entry into the fabric - The steel needle allows for a smooth entry into the fabric. Very similar to the Adjustable handle and the Oxford Punch needles.

Cons

  • Not so easy to thread - While the tool offers an open slot threading option, I find it hard to thread. The yarn needs to run through the hole on the bottom of the needle then through the eye of the needle. Tension applied at both ends eventually gets the yarn to settle down into the slot. Maybe with practice this gets easier over time. I found this so annoying, I tend to not want to try using it more than I have to.

  • Locking mechanism unreliable - A small grated piece is used hold the main needle in place. It slides up and down easily. But I couldn’t get it to stay in place when I was threading the needle. Once the needle was threaded, it seemed to stay well.

  • Yarn falls out easily - I felt my yarn easily fell out of this needle. Construction wise this doesn’t make sense, but it did happen to me more than once.

  • Small handle - The working area for the handle is small, similar to the adjustable punch needle. I find this a minor issue, but the Oxford punch needle is easier to handle and use.

Threading

To thread the Craftsman Punch Needle, you will feed the yarn through the bottom hole and then through the eye of the needle. I found it easiest to double up the yarn and then push it through the hole. It made the yarn sturdier so I could get it into the hole. I did the same to push the yarn through the eye of the needle. Now you will work to get the yarn into the slot in the handle and needle. I had to play with this to make it work. I found it worked better if I held both ends of the yarn to create tension throughout the handle length. Then I jimmied the yarn back and forth until it fit down into the slot. Once it was in the slot throughout, I pulled the yarn up through the top (similar to the Oxford punch needle) to finish the threading. Once the yarn is threaded, adjust the locking mechanism so that it is in place when you start working.

Where to buy: www.thewoolenneedle.com or www.punchneedlemarketplace.com


6) Hobby Lobby teal handle Punch Needle (not pictured)

I was able to find one lone Punch Needle tool at Hobby Lobby. It has a teal hard plastic handle and a copper needle. Overall, the tool is junk. That feels harsh, but I felt like I wasted my $4 by buying this tool. The needle portion was tarnished, blue and green. The tarnish rubbed off on my fabric. I couldn’t even use it once. And I threw it away due to it's messiness so no photos or videos of this one. I've seen others using it on IG so I may have had a bad experience. 

Pros

  • Lowest price point

Cons

  • One loop length

  • Low quality construction - plastic handle, copper needle. Needle can tarnish over time.

Threading

You thread the Hobby Lobby needle like you do the Adjustable punch needle and the Amazon plastic handle punch needle. Place the threader in the top of the needle (where the eye and slanted slot are located). The threader will come out the bottom of the needle, where you will insert your yarn. Once an inch of yarn is through the bottom of the needle, you will pull the threader through the needle. Take off the threader. Lastly, thread the yarn through the eye of the needle. Using your finger, place a portion of the yarn into the eye. Grad the yarn with your other handle and pull it through.

Where to buy: Hobby Lobby

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7 comments

  • Shawna Fosket on

    Hi Shirley! I’m so glad you liked it! And I’m ecstatic that my directions were easy to follow! Much love, Shawna

  • Shawna Fosket on

    Kate and Dee, thank you so much for the info! And thank you for sharing with the community! Warmest, Shawna

  • Shawna Fosket on

    Hi Kelsey! I wish I could reply to your comment. I hope you will see this (also why it’s taken me so long to comment, I thought I could figure out a way and I guess there isn’t a way). I have done a frame post since this post, hopefully you have seen it. If not, head back to the Blog and Click on the ‘All About Frames’ post. Hopefully that answers all your questions. I’m working on the fabric post now and hope to have it out in the next few days. Let me know if you have any more questions about the frames. Feel free to email me at shawna@northshorecrafts.com and I’ll reply much sooner. ;) Warmest, Shawna

  • Shirley Stadtmueller on

    Thank you so much for directions for making an envelope pillow. So easy to follow. Made my first pillow. Turned out great!

  • Dee on

    Yes! Old tattered flag purchased the company https://www.theoldtatteredflag.com/Ultra-Punch-Needle_c112.htm. I exchanged emails with them back in December at which time they were working on rebuilding inventory.


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