I have the joy of teaching lots of people how to do punch needle, and without fail I see the same three initial mistakes all the time.
Luckily, using a punch needle is one of the easiest and most forgiving crafts there is, so if you find yourself making a mistake just rip that yarn out and try, try again!
Let's see what most people get wrong on their first try.
1. They lift the needle too high
When you are punching, it is important to drraaaggg the needle across the fabric instead of lifting the tip to find the next spot. Your needle is making a loop on the underside of your work, but if you lift too high the loop will come out and your stitches will fall out. When you are punching, keep the needle ON the fabric and push all the way down to the handle to make sure your stitches stay put.
2. They punch too small or too big
Have you ever wondered why your work looks like it's bulging on the loop side? Or maybe you don't have bulges, but bald spots. This problem has everything to do with your stitch gauge or how many stitches you are making per inch AND how you are positioning your stitches.
There are a few technical things to consider when coming up with the perfect stitch gauge.
1. How big is your needle
2. How big is your yarn
A good rule of thumb for me when I am using a thinner needle with thinner yarn is 6 to 8 stitches per inch. When I'm using chunky yarn that number drops to 4-6 per inch.
Now that you know how many stitches per inch, remember to lay them in a "brick laying" pattern.
In the picture below, the red stitches are too far apart and right on top of each other, so you can see the fabric through the stitches. The light blue stitches are too close together and creating a bulge, but the bottom stitches are spaced just right and in a brick laying pattern.
3. They don't finish their work
I have often had people ask me why their work doesn't look like mine after they finish a kit. Is it because I am a prodigy puncher? No, even though I'd like to believe I'm a punch needle genius. It's because I go through a finish my work.
Here's what I mean: after you punch, the loops get mixed with one other. Colors can mingle and lines that are supposed to be crisp are all over the place. This is so easy to fix! Take an unthreaded needle, and use it to move stitches back where they should be.
Check out this picture. The top image is what it looked like when I finished punching and the bottom was taken after I moved my loops around. You can really tell a difference in the definition of the stem!
Of course, punching mistakes are limited to those three, but those are the three I see most often! Hopefully you learned something, and if you need more help, be sure to check out my videos on Youtube!