Updated: Feb 18, 2021
I have so many questions about the supplies I use, so in addition to adding them to my story highlights on Instagram, I have dedicated this post to discussing all those supplies and where to find them.
Oxford Punch Needle #10
This is the best needle on the market. It works so well with various foundation cloths. It is easy to use, punches with the least resistance, and fits well in your hand. This is best for the basic stitches in punch needle, It can be used to create the flat stitch and the loop. You can also use it to create an exaggerated loop by holding the yarn on the loop side. This is made by Amy Oxford, she also offers other number needles like the #14 with works well with thinner yarn. I prefer the #10 because I love using chunkier yarn.
Adjustable Punch Needle
This needle is the one I use the most. It is cheaply made, but I find it to still be my favorite adjustable punch needle. The yarn does not get caught in the chamber which I have had an issue with other adjustable punch needles before. It also punches into the cloth relatively easily. You have four different loop heights that can be created. I use this punch needle most simply because I am creating fluffy textured work. This is not possible with smaller loops. In order to carve and provide definition to my tapestries longer loops are required.
Foundation Cloth (Monks Cloth)
I have only used monks cloth. I started with this as my foundation cloth and love how it works with my projects and never felt the need to change. You can use many other types of foundation cloth including linen, rug warp and other fabrics. The best type of monks cloth to use is a 12 count because it holds the stitches in place. This simply means that there are 12 stitches across in one inch. There are other count monks cloth, I have often used an 8 count (8 stitches per inch) but this is because I like to mix techniques. I incorporate weaving and embroidery and have found this works well for me. I recently have made a change to 12 count because the quality I have found with 8 count is often not as great as a 12 count.
I use two different hoops. The Morgan Non-slip Hoop is my current favorite. It has a tongue and groove system that helps pinch the fabric together which means you are having to tighten your cloth less as you work. These only go up in size to 17" and I like to work with bigger hoops so I also have another type of hoop I work with.
The second hoop I work with are a cheap version from Michaels. It is 24" and made of wood. It is not high quality, I have yet to find a hoop that is high quality and in a larger size. I have used these hoops for over a year and they work fine for what I need. I do not recommend keeping your work in the hoop after finishing.
These are a game changer. I LOVE my gripper strips. I use them with my large frames that I have made. I purchased from The Woolery Shop. They make removing your work so easy, but also drum tight for when you are working. It holds the cloth so well that punching is a dream. I previously used carpet tacking strips and the difference is night and day. I wish I changed over sooner.
Tufting Gun AK-II
I purchased a tufting gun at the beginning of my career. I loved how quickly this allowed to me create work, but it does have a learning curve. I would say you begin to get a good feel for the gun after at least 4+ hours of work. You need to figure out the pressure you need to put on the gun to get the loops the same height and how far away to make each line to not create any bare spots on the front of the tapestry. I found that the accuracy and minimalist view created with using a punch needle is more ascetically pleasing to me than the tufting gun. So my last two collections I have punched everything by hand. This gun is a loop pile gun meaning that the loop is not cut on the opposite side. The loop is 1/4" in height.
I recently purchased a new tufting gun that is commercial level and allows me to create cut pile work that can be up to 2.75" in length and I am so excited!
To finish my tapestries I used to glue them, but I learned that glue can be harmful to wool so I no longer use that. It also takes SO much time to dry and it's so messy. I now use Heat-N-Bond. This is wonderful because it binds the back of the project but it isn't messy. I then can iron on the muslin cloth I use to back my pieces and it creates a beautiful finished look. Backing your work is not necessary with punch needle if done right. I do it for aesthetic purposes.
I used to trim all my work with scissors and my hands were DYING. So I invested in a pair of shears. These are used to trim sheep and their long tooth blades help get into the loops and trim them quickly. You need to be careful because I have cut the back of a finished project before. That is the worst. They cut well! I then go in after the big trim of the larger material and take a basic Wahl hair trimmer and refine the edges. I am so grateful I made this purchase. This works well with almost all yarn except for extremely fluffy yarn (velvet is a big no no).
As far as yarn is concerned I do not have a particular brand or company I only purchase from. I buy yarn based off need. I purchase for texture, color, and thickness of yarn to create the desired design I have created. I use both wool and acrylic.