Punch needle

A punch needle is a manual tool used for embroidery or rug making that creates a field of tightly-packed loops of thread or yarn on a woven fabric substrate.[1][2][3][4] The tool generally consists of a hollow needle with an angled opening attached to a wooden or plastic handle. The needle's eye is drilled just above its tip, rather than at its base, as with most sewing needles. Yarn is threaded through the hollow needle via an opening at the top of its handle, and out through the eye.[1][5][6]

A punch needle being used for decorative embroidery.

A punch needle stitch is made by forcing the needle through the weave of the fabric, creating a loop that is kept in place by friction.[1][5][7] The tool is held so that the eye of the needle stays on the opposite side of the direction of the stitch.[1][4][8] Punch needle embroidery is typically worked from the front of the fabric. On the other hand, punch needle rug making is usually worked from the back.[5][9]

Examples of traditional crafting techniques that use punch needles include "New England Style" rug hooking, Russian punch needle embroidery, and Japanese bunka shishu.[1][5] Mechanical rug tufting, often achieved with a tufting gun, also creates a similar effect to manual punch needling.[2][5][9] In 2022, sportswear company Nike announced they would be using punch needle technology to create a more sustainable alternative to fleece.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Stewart, Marinda (2009). Punchneedle : the complete guide. Cincinnati, Ohio: Krause Publications. ISBN 978-1-4402-2360-0. OCLC 774393852.
  2. ^ a b Collins, Leah (2021-05-26). "Why is Instagram hooked on rug-making?". CBC Arts. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  3. ^ McCann, Jaymi; Begum-Hossain, Momtaz (2022-08-12). "Have you tried these on-trend yarn crafts yet?". Prima. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  4. ^ a b Schaat, Stacie (2020). Punched. New York: Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-593-19132-3. OCLC 1142829959.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e He, Shiqing; Adar, Eytan (2020-07-03). "Plotting with Thread: Fabricating Delicate Punch Needle Embroidery with X-Y Plotters". Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference. DIS '20. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery: 1047–1057. doi:10.1145/3357236.3395540. ISBN 978-1-4503-6974-9. S2CID 218774263.
  6. ^ Cole, Regina (1998). "Folk Art Interiors". Old House Interiors. pp. 74–78. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  7. ^ Bennett, Damon. "Lincoln entrepreneur modernizes traditional crafting technique with Super Punch". JournalStar.com. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  8. ^ Meadows, Edith (1919). "1919-02-26". The Homestead. pp. 27–29.
  9. ^ a b Mastro, Michelle (2022-07-11). "Yes, You Can Make Your Own Rug". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  10. ^ Kline, Daniel. "Nike Creates a 'Game-Changing' New Innovation". TheStreet. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  11. ^ Ernest, Maya. "Nike rethinks its apparel with a low-carbon fabric innovation". Input. Retrieved 2022-10-04.