PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

punchneedle update

I haven’t posted anything about punchneedle for a while, but I haven’t forgotten all about it: I’ve been working on larger scale projects instead of new small patterns. My punchneedled Moon, with a 5″ diameter, was the largest project I’d undertaken, until I bit the bullet and bought a mammoth 10″ diameter embroidery hoop so I could make some larger, more complex, pieces.

the moon (punchneedle) by planetjune

I was commissioned to make a very interesting project for publication, but the actual publication process has gone through some twists and turns, and it’ll be a while longer before it sees the light of day, so I don’t think I can talk about it yet (or share a picture :(). This is one of the reasons why I find the immediacy of self-publishing so satisfying – I completed the piece in December 2009 and I still can’t talk about it, whereas if I’d self-published it, I’d have been able to share all the details before last Christmas!

But my latest punchneedled piece is just for me, and it’s somewhat ambitious (aka large), so it’s going to take a while to complete. I have a tendency to hide my work until it’s ready for the big reveal when it’s completed, but I think that in this case it might spur me on to keep making progress if I share it as a WIP (work in progress) every now and then.

I was inspired by 3D papercraft models to try something unique: using a combination of punchneedle and sewing to create a full 3D shape. I’m punching the design onto a flat piece of fabric, and then stitching along the lines where you’d glue a tab from one piece to the next in a paper model. I think it’ll work very well, although I’ve never seen anyone do anything similar, so I won’t know for sure until my piece is ready to assemble!

completed paper models
I assembled these paper models for a tutorial I posted at Folding Trees with tips on how to cut and assemble models like these. I’m using the same concept (turning a flat design into a 3D shape) for my punchneedle project!

I invested many hours into it before I even started the embroidery: figuring out the flat shapes I’d need to embroider, so I could eventually cut and stitch them together to create the final 3D shape, and then drawing my pattern in Illustrator. Now, I have no idea if the subject of my punchneedle will be very obvious from this photo, or a bit cryptic – can you tell what it’s going to be? (This is the reverse side, by the way – the side I look at while I’m punching. The other side will look much prettier!)

punchneedle project - work in progress

I hugely underestimated the amount of embroidery floss I’d need to complete this project – I initially bought 10 skeins, but my revised estimate is now 28 skeins! That’s a lot of embroidery, even with the speed of punchneedle (which is much faster than conventional embroidery). This is definitely going to be a long-term project…

buy The Punchneedle Handbook by June Gilbank

If you’re saying “huh? Punchneedle – what’s that?”, you might like to check out my eBook, The Punchneedle Handbook: Miniature Punchneedle Embroidery Basics & Beyond. This eBook includes everything about punchneedle from the absolute basics for those who have never heard of this craft, to my techniques that will allow absolutely anyone to create beautiful punchneedle embroideries. I’ve also made an excerpt from the eBook into a free tutorial so you can get a taste for what punchneedle is about.

So, how about it – any guesses as to what my giant punchneedle project is going to be?


  1. futuregirl said

    I spy Antarctica! 🙂

  2. Sierra Pelona said

    If you added in all the ocean islands, you’d have something to break up the boredom. 😉 I can’t wait to see the finished item!

    • June said

      Thanks for the suggestion, but I’ve already designed the pattern… I actually started out by drawing everything (including the tiniest islands), and then realised I’d have to simplify and delete tons of detail for scale reasons – the size of an individual stitch and the difficulty of punching around a single stitch – it’s just too small to do, in practice 🙂

  3. June said

    Yep, you’re all correct!

    I started with the southern hemisphere because it has less fiddly landmasses (that’s Antarctica outlines in the middle of the photo), but now I’m so bored with filling in all the water… Hours and hours of filling in more and more blue…

    I just hope, at the end of all this, that it’ll look as good in reality as it does in my head!

    • Eleanor (undeadgoat) said

      Well hey, at least the Northern Hemisphere has lots more land than the southern, so you haven’t saved the boring part for last or anything.

  4. Eleanor (undeadgoat) said

    o.0 Wow, an embroidered globe is like the king in the pantheon of embroidered maps. Or something.

  5. Tove said

    I think it’s going to be Planet Earth! Great idea!

  6. becky said

    A globe 😀

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