I’m on a quest to find the perfect gift for a 90-year-old women. I know that Grandma likes coloring books, which is where I started on my search for a craft project gift. However, I was worried that coloring might be hard on her hands and I kept looking for something similar, fun, and easy. I stumbled upon an Amazon listing for a “Wool Queen Punch Needle Kit / Rug Yarn Hooking Beginner Kit.” This retro craft is making a comeback, and was apparently a thing in the 1880’s. Even though this is technically before Grandma’s time, it was implemented during her mother’s time. If I’m lucky she might even have heard of it or tried it in her youth. It’s essentially coloring with Yarn on a Monks Cloth Canvas with a post Industrial Revolution tool called a Punch Needle.
- One high quality wooden punch needle pen
- One frame covered with monk’s cloth(14”x10”)
- Design template (Little Red Riding Hood)
- Assorted collection of yarn to complete the project
- Step by step instruction card and introductions of punch needle basic skills.
Kit Review [3 Stars]
I don’t know why they make beginners kits with such low quality materials… if there was decent yarn, and a punch needle threader it would have been much easier for grandma to learn how to do it. The product photos show stenciling on the wrong side, you should be working on the back of the canvas so the fun punch needle loops are on the front of the framed finished product!
I don’t recommend this punch needle kit; though the craft itself is gold! Just buy some quality yarn, monk’s cloth, and an adjustable frame / punch needle with a quality threader. Print or draw a design on paper and trace it onto the back of your monks cloth. The threader we got in this product was paper thin and impossible to use without nails and patience (broken within 1 min). Also the yarn would unravel easily and made it difficult to learn. The only thing in the kit that worked well was the (little red riding hood) stencil and the monks cloth frame. You need your own scissors, sharpie and darning needle. Also it helps to hold the loop before making the next stitch and this seems to be glossed over in all the tutorials I’ve seen.
Punch Needle Basics
I was able to get a better idea of what will be involved by watching How to Punch Needle & 3 Beginner DIY Projects – HGTV Handmade an episode by The Crafty Lumberjacks. Key points from the video are noted below:
- Material used is Monks Cloth.
- Draw the design on paper.
- Trace the design onto the Monks Cloth (light table could be nice?).
- Embroidery hoop or frame to hold the Monks Cloth in place while you work.
- Punch Needle & Yarn Threader tool to get started.
- Punch the threaded needle into the Monks Cloth and follow the traced outline in the desired color yarn.
- Keep stitches wide and relatively the same size.
- Check the opposite side of the art periodically so you know how it’s stitching out and if any revisions should be made.
- Experimentation is encourage as the monks cloth is very forgiving and heals if you want to remove your yarn and try again to achieve another effect.
- Once your done with that color turn it over and snip the yarn within a centimeter of the monks cloth.
- Apparently there isn’t a way to tie it off, so you must be carful not to unravel it. Ideally it would be displayed on the wall so it shouldn’t matter too much.
- An interesting part of their video was they turned their design into an iron on patch, so this would keep the integrity of the stitches when you have finished your stitches.
I am relieved to find this craft kit / gift as it seems like a perfect family time activity, and I hope it can help Grandma take her mind off of current events and her life situation. My goal is to spend some quality time with her and work on creating something beautiful and be able to hang it on the wall in remembrance of the short time we have in this life time.
I had a lovely Holiday and I think Grandma had a wonderful 90th birthday! It was sadly a very small gathering, much smaller than we had all planned last year. Alas, 2020 came with fear mongering and COVID-19 was able to ruin most of everyone’s plans. Nevertheless, we had a winter wonderland get away at an adorable cabin and a great time visiting family in Montrose, Colorado for Christmas and December Birthdays.
When I gifted Grandma the Punch Needle Kit for Christmas I was unsure if she wound have enough strength in her hands to complete it. In the end, I was right, but that didn’t stop us from trying and spending some quality time together. I really enjoyed bonding with her and I ended up finishing it for her and leaving it in her bedroom to watch over her.
I was disappointed in the quality of the yarn and the threader in the kit broke immediately. Luckily, I had bought extra punch needles and another kit to help me get my bearings before I tried to teach grandma how to do it. I also brought a collection of yarn and it all worked out. I just reminded myself I was purchasing the necessary equipment and I planned out craft that would be easy enough to learn together. I left with more desire to craft punch needle art and I was excited to see what I would make next.