Let's take a moment to talk a little more in-depth about punch needles. I know this can be overwhelming for those starting out, there are a lot of options! These are some very helpful tips to follow when trying to choose which Oxford Punch Needle is right for your project:
- What kind of yarns do you want to use in your project?
- What height loops do you want?
Our punch needles come in 8 different sizes, there are 3 regular sized punch needles (#8, #9, and #10) and 5 fine sized punch needles (#8, #9, #10, #13, and #14).
Regular punch needles are great for thicker yarns, yarns that have 3 ply, rug yarns, bulk yarns, or you can even double or triple your strands for these needles if they are thinner (like Christy did in her Welcome Mat). You can also use #8 cut strips for the regular size needles.
Fine punch needles work really well with thinner yarns: worsted, #3 cut strips, and fiber up to an 1/8th of an inch thick.
If your project is requiring more plushy loops, like for a rug, you would want a needle that creates those taller loops, like a #8, or #9. For projects where you want shorter loops you would want to use a #10, which is great for applications like trivets and mug rugs. The shorter loops make a great base for the mug to sit on, and the loops aren't so tall that your mug could potentially tip over. Last year for Character Dress Up Day at my son's school, I made him a mask for the book character he wanted to be, Abdi from Mr. Wolf's Class by Aron Nels Steinke, Amy recommended I use the #14. She said that having the loops short and using a finer yarn would make it so that the mask wasn't too heavy for him to wear. Just another example of making sure you're using the right needle for the right project!
Another thing to think about when choosing your needle size is how much detail and how big is your piece. Because our Summer Triptychs are smaller and more detailed, we all leaned towards using fine needles. This allows us to add in a lot and depict more on the pieces. I know that for one of my projects, the pattern looks deceptively simple from what I actually want to try and accomplish. It's going to take a lot to accomplish the look I want in my Day Lapse, in particular with shading and color. To do this, especially on such a small scale, fine needles are the best.
Below, you will find the needle sizes that we each have decided to use for our triptychs:
- Christy: #13 fine - Main Picture, #14 fine - Background, #13 & #14 fine - Border
- Cotey's Cocktail: #10 regular - Border, #10 fine - Drinks, #14 fine - Background
- Cotey's Avocado - #10 Regular
- Heidi: #13 fine - Objects, #14 fine - Background, #10 regular - Border, #10 fine Border
- Hannah's Day Lapse: #13 fine - Grasses, #14 fine - Sky and Mountains, #10 regular - Border
- Hannah's Floral - #10 Regular
- Sid: #13 fine - Objects, #14 fine - Background, #10 regular - Border
You may be wondering why we each chose more than one needle size for most of our projects. Adding more than one loop size will allow us to create depth and give our triptychs another element of interest. Cotey will have the biggest loop height difference in her project using a # 10 for the drinks and a #14 for her background. This will really make the main focus of the piece stand out against the background giving it great depth.
What needles are you leaning towards using in your triptychs? I would love to hear, as well as why you chose that needle(s).
See you next week to talk fibers!