Punch Needle Embroidery is getting more popular and more easily available. Michael’s & Joann Fabrics have both released Yarn Punch Needle Kits and I wanted to know if they would actually be good for beginners or end up scaring them away.
I’ve been doing punch needle embroidery with embroidery floss and pearl cotton for years but I’d never had the chance to test it out with yarn. The last time I looked into it all I could find was Oxford punch needles and they cost $36-50+, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Learn all about the Basics of Punch Needle Embroidery
Then I found myself walking around Michael’s (definitely not looking for Halloween items in July) and I stumbled upon punch needle kits from Loops & Threads. Not only did they have thread kits, but they also had a variety of yarn kits and a yarn punch needle tool.
It only seemed fair to check out the competition so I headed over to Joann Fabrics to see what they had to offer. I was pretty happy to see that they also had yarn punch needle kits so I picked one up, brought them both home, and got ready to test them out.
In the end, they both had issues and things I liked. I was able to complete both kits but at the end of the day, I can only recommend one, keep reading to find out which it was!
Why Am I Testing Beginner Craft Kits?
Talking about crafting is literally my job and I’ve been around the block a time or twelve when it comes to picking up a new hobby.
I’ll be starting a series on this site where I test out beginner kits so you don’t have to. Partially because I’m not scared of failing at crafts and partially because I’m experienced enough to know if the kit is the issue or if I am.
Craft kits can be really good, especially if you treat them as the gateway to testing a new hobby. But they can also be really bad and send you screaming.
I tend to over-research (or go in completely blind, but that’s an issue for another day) and as a result, I usually buy my own supplies and skip the kits, but I know for most people that’s not going to happen.
Over the years I’ve picked up a few beginner kits (that are targeted at someone who has no idea what they’re doing) that are terrible. A frustrating beginner craft kit, either due to poor quality materials or bad instructions, can really scare you away from something you might actually fall in love with given the chance.
Yarn Punch Needle Kit from Joann Fabrics
The first kit I tried was from Joann Fabrics, I wasn’t crazy about any of the designs (nothing wrong with them, just not my style) so I let my daughter pick and she liked the mushrooms.
Maybe it was the 95-degree heat or maybe my brain can’t handle being in public anymore but I wasn’t paying too much attention to what was in the kit and that will come up later.
The Joann kit was much more expensive than the Michaels kit, it $21.99 full price (I used a coupon and it was around $12), but this kit includes the punch needle tool. It makes the price easier to swallow but that decision doesn’t make much sense to me.
The punch needle tool is reusable indefinitely so you don’t need to buy a new one with every kit you do. It would be like buying a new crochet hook every time you made a scarf.
The kit includes the fabric with the printed pattern, a hoop, the punch needle tool and threader, yarn and a yarn needle.
You may have noticed that my mushrooms look a little different than the pattern diagram. That’s because my kit came without the pink yarn.
I literally took photos as soon as I opened the packages so I can promise that I didn’t lose it! It just wasn’t there.
There was enough yarn in the kit to fill everything in, I just had to be a bit creative with my placements.
The design is meant to be viewed from what I would consider the back of the design. With punch needle you work from the back of the fabric, punching to create loops on the front.
When you treat the back of the design as the front you get more definition in the design but it’s less forgiving and you lose out on the texture that really makes punch needle special.
That’s really a personal preference and it might not bother you.
If you’re looking to try out yarn punch needle and you can find a pattern you like this is a great kit to try out. The tool was great, the fabric and the yarn were good quality and I’d recommend it if you wanted to try something new (just use a coupon!).
I tried to find my kit on the Joann website but it was nowhere to be seen. I’m not sure if that means they’re only available in the store or if they’re too new or too old to be listed on the website but I promise I did buy it in the store!
Yarn Punch Needle Kit from Michael’s
My local Michael’s is on the smaller side but they still had a pretty big variety of kits available. I picked up the rainbow kit because I liked the addition of the pompoms and the way you stitched on both sides of the fabric.
At full price, the kit was $12.99 and included the fabric, hoop, yarn and pompoms, string, and a needle to add them. It did not include a punch needle tool but I picked up the Loops & Threads Punch Needle for $6.99 (probably didn’t pay that because the cardinal rule of craft store shopping is “always use a coupon”).
I really wanted to like this kit. But the fabric is so stiff that it was nearly impossible to get the punch tool through it, by the end, it was less punching and more like stabbing.
By the time I finished it my finger was swollen and incredibly sore. If I hadn’t been doing it for this post, I would have burned it.
Not to brag but I have giant, strong hands. It wasn’t a weakness on my part, just bad fabric. I even tried switching to the Joann’s punch needle tool and it didn’t help.
If you do decide to give it a shot take it slow and stop when your hand hurts. I did find the kit included more than enough yarn, I still have a bunch left over and the instructions were clear and helpful.
I did have trouble getting my stitches as close to the edge of the hoop as shown on the packaging which was an issue not related to the fabric stiffness.
There’s always going to be a section you can’t punch into because of the inner hoop, the only way around it is to punch in a bigger hoop and display in a smaller one or punch as close to the edge as you can and then pull the fabric until the stitches are at the edge.
Overall, I’d say skip the Loops & Threads kits if you like your hands. No matter how cute the rainbow and pompoms are it’s just not worth it!
I had some monks cloth and I was able to test out the tool on it’s own and I have no complaints about the punch itself. If you are looking to get into yarn punching I’d say grab the needle punch but not the kit.
I wish the results of this were a little better but I guess you never know until you try! I am pretty excited to create my own yarn punch needle patterns and I’m happy with the quality of both punch needle tools.
Have you tried any of the punch needle kits from the big box craft stores? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Check out my Punch Needle Embroidery page for more ideas or start here: