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#OxCoPALs Fall Coasters #2 - Punching Your Coaster!

Hannah Harding

Hi Everyone! 

This week we are going to start punching those coasters! Are you ready? Get set... GO!

We began this process like we begin them all - picking out our colors. We each chose from the color palettes that we specially curated for this project. 

Heidi: 

 Heidi decided to use the Coastal color collection to punch her Shells Coaster set. The colors lended themselves to this pattern easily, soft shades for the shells, the blue for her background, and Heidi decided to outline each shell with the green heathered color so they would pop

Christy: 
Christy took the Neutral color palette to create her Padula coasters. Christy dyes all of our Violet Jane yarn and is used to working with lots of color. She thought it would be a challenge to work with such a limited neutral palette, especially a floral pattern which would generally be done in a bright color palette. Color placement for her was very important, but more on that below. 
Hannah:
I think it's fair to assume everyone knows I love bright colors. I decided to use the Citrus palette on what else? The Citrus coasters! These fun coasters needed fun colors and this Brights palette certainly is fun! You will notice that the original yellow was a much paler color then the final one we went with. When the whole Citrus coaster set was punched, it looked super drab when placed next to the other vibrant colors used in the palette, so we found a brighter, juicier yellow to put into the palette and which the final lemon coaster was punched with! 
Cotey:
Cotey punched two sets of the Geometric coasters, each utilizing a different color palette. This is a great exercise in how colors can change the feel of a project! The Brights made the coasters rich and lush, the Heathered Jewels provided a soft mosaic look. Cotey had originally selected the Heathered Jewels palette to punch with, intending to punch the Padula set. As she looked at the colors more, she saw them reading as ceramic tiles with a creamy grout, and thought the Geometric Coasters would look great as a mosaic. Sid and I saw the Geometric Coasters more like stained glass. Cotey selected the last color way to showcase the vibrant and vivid glass tiles you find in stained glass works of art. 
Punching:
One thing you may want to do as you're getting ready to punch the coasters is plan out your color placement, which Heidi and Christy each did. Heidi did this because each shell was going to be a certain color, and she wanted to try and distribute each color evenly. Christy also wanted to make sure that each color was used evenly though all four coasters. And because she was working with such a subtle color palette, color planning helped to make sure she didn't end up having two colors next to each other that were too similar in value. 
Starting to punch the coasters is very straight forward process, especially if you have been following along with all the previous punch alongs. Like all the punch alongs, you will want to start with your border. With the fine needle, like the regular needle, you will want to do two rows for the border - especially if you are planning on hemming your coasters for your finishing. If you are hemming, you will want the two border rows right next to each other! No skipping a row! Otherwise when you hem the edge, the the border row loops will spread apart, exposing the monk's cloth.
When you fill in the coaster, punch in each hole, skipping a row in between, if you are using fine yarn. 
A quick tip for punching with the fine point Oxford Punch Needle - as your punching, especially a circle, make sure the yarn is not twisting around a) the eyelet or b) the needle itself. This will affect the tension with which the yarn moves through the needle creating uneven loops as you punch.
With the #13 and #14 fine Oxford Punch Needles, you also want to be careful you're not pulling your needle up too far away from the monk's cloth. Remember, you want to skim over the cloth. If you pull up, especially when using one of these shorter needles, you run the very real risk of pulling out your stitches or changing the loop height. 
Another piece of helpful advice is that you may have to split threads on the monk's cloth to keep your stitches at 10-12 per inch (use your stitch gauge). It wont hurt the monk's cloth, you're not breaking the threads, you're just separating them a bit on the cloth. This is particularly true when working on a round or piece with lots of curves. (There is a tutorial on punching a curve with the Patchwork Heart Tutorials on Instagram.)
These coasters are super fun and quick to punch, even for beginner punchers. You will find them much faster than the Welcome Mat's. 
Next week, we will be finished punching, cleaning up our work, and getting ready to take the projects off the frames! Stick with me! I know a lot of people have asked me about the finishing process. That will be coming in a later post.
I hope you find this helpful! If you have any questions, as always, please feel free to send a message or email, Cotey or I will be more than happy to answer them! We also love to see in-process pictures! Everyone is doing such amazing work, the ideas and comments are awesome! Keep them coming! 
Until next week,
~Hannah

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