Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

While my hand was totally out of commission, I read about Russian punch needle embroidery. 

In the 17th century, the Russian Orthodox Church went through a period of change under the reign of Peter the Great. There were a lot of reforms and people (the ‘Old Believers’)who opposed modernization split from the church. They were persecuted by the reformers, then by the Tzars. To escape persecution, they moved to remote areas of Russia, and around the world. Some immigrated to America.

Punch needle embroidery is an art form that was perpetuated by their reclusive culture. The 'Old Believers' have made embroidered embellishments, mostly for their clothing for centuries, passing the art down over generations.

I thought that punch needle embroidery might be a good one handed project. So I bought a punch needle, a locking hoop, and replenished some of my embroidery floss colors. Then, since I really had no idea what I was supposed to do with it, I got a book about punch needle embroidery, with a few patterns included.

As it turned out, trying this with my left hand just didn't work out. You really need two good hands, one to hold the hoop and one to punch the floss through. So, I had to wait until I had the use of my right hand back, then got busy with other projects. Today though, I felt under the weather so it seemed like a perfect day to try it out.

It took a bit of getting used to, but before long, I got the hang of it. I liked the crow pattern so I decided to try that for my first project/ My crow's tail got way out of hand; so far out of hand that it started to look like a mutant crow-dog. So I had to modify it, which was a good thing because I discovered how easy it is to pick out the mistakes, and punch right over them.

Susan Bates locking embroidery hoop, punch needle, and threader. 

You do your embroidery on the back, and the design appears of the front.

It was a good sewing project for not stressing my recovering hand. I wonder if TSA lets you bring this kind of project on an airplane; I'll have to do a little research. I'm thinking it would be diverting on my trip west this summer. 

This picture scale on this one is a little large, but for now, it has a home as a welcome mat for the Fairy House.  

Russian punch needle embroidery was the perfect thing to learn on a hot, humid, low energy day.

~ Chris


  1. Lovely! It's so easy to learn (I tell everyone and then never finish my own project).

    1. LOL! I live in the land of unfinished projects. And you are right, it is quite easy to learn.