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Five reasons to attend an in-person punch needle workshop in Bristol

by Sara Moore - 27 January 2023

Student attending a punch needle workshop

Making a punch needle hoop at a Whole Punching workshop at the Paperdolls market in Birmingham

It’s the time of year that can tend to drag a little. It’s dark, grey, cold and generally just not very inspiring. Most of us are looking towards longer and lighter days in the months to come. If you’re planning days out to look forward to, why not think about booking onto a craft workshop, more specifically a punch needle workshop (with me, Sara Moore of Whole Punching). With upcoming workshops set in the beautiful South West (Bristol I’m looking at you), what better way to spend a day out than learning a new craft, meeting lovely like-minded people and exploring a new place.

Here’s five reasons why I think attending an in-person punch needle workshop is a wonderful way to spend half a day in Bristol.

1. Master the basics of punch needle (and feel confident to continue punching at home)

The aim of all my workshops is to ensure that once you go home you will have fully understood the basics of punch needle and feel confident to continue with your new craft at home. We will go over all the punch needle basics within the workshop including the pitfalls, so that at home if you run into a problem you’ll know how to solve it. In my punch needle workshop you will learn:

• about the different punch needle materials including tools, fabric, yarn, frames and hoops
• how to stretch your punch needle foundation fabric
• how to thread and adjust your punch needle tool
• how to create both loop and flat punch needle stitches
• how to tidy up your punch needle stitches

2. Meet new, like-minded crafty people and feel a sense of belonging

If you have lots of friends who enjoy all the same hobbies and activities as you, then count yourself very lucky. One of the reasons I started Whole Punching was to connect with others who had a love of punch needle. When I started learning how to punch needle in 2017, I was so happy to have discovered this new craft but found it hard to find people who knew what it was and were as excited about it as I was!

Teaching punch needle has been a great way of meeting like-minded crafty people (and getting others hooked). Attending a craft workshop is more than just learning a new skill, it’s about becoming part of a social community and building friendships. Although possible over a virtual workshop, it’s much easier to do in-person. I love seeing workshop attendees meet and chat about all things craft.

Students at a punch needle workshop

Students at a hoop wall hanging punch needle workshop in the Lake District

3. A chance to explore a new craft and be curious

Learning a new skill as an adult can be a little daunting at times. I know whenever I have the choice between teaching myself a new craft or picking up my punch needle, I always turn to my punch needle. It’s easy to pick up and do for small pockets at a time, it doesn’t take much effort and I find it relaxing.

Of course this wasn’t always the case and it probably took me a little longer than others to fully get to grips with the craft as I was mostly teaching myself.

Being led by a teacher in a workshop takes away the pressure of having to work it out for yourself. Knowing you’ll be using punch needle materials and techniques that have been tried and tested allows you to be creative and focus on exploring the craft, rather than worrying about whether you have the right tools. You can concentrate on picking out the perfect colour palette or working out which design you’re going to punch first.

Student at an Introduction to Oxford punch needle workshop

Student at an Introduction to Oxford Punch Needle workshop

4. Take some time out to treat yourself, switch off and relax

I think one of the most wonderful gifts you can receive, or gift to yourself, is an experience.

Whilst it’s lovely to be given it as a present, there’s almost something more special about gifting it to yourself.

Learning a new skill is a great way to switch off for a few hours. It can aid relaxation and help to relieve feelings of anxiety, irritability and restlessness. Of course, I am biased and would say that punch needle is the best craft to learn. However, any craft or activity that’s easy to grasp can help you to feel relaxed.

With your materials prepped, you can concentrate on filling in your punch needle design. Punch needle is almost like the textile equivalent of painting by numbers. Unlike some other yarn-based crafts, there’s no need to refer back to written instructions, once you’ve learnt the basic stitches you can concentrate on completing your design.

As a very visual craft it’s great for those who only have small snippets of time to themselves. You can easily pick up and punch an ongoing project for 10 – 15 minutes at a time and enjoy a moment of calm in your day.

5. Spend a day exploring the delights that Bristol has to offer

Bristol is one of the most vibrant, creative cities in the UK. It’s tough to decide what to do if you have only a small amount of time in Bristol, but any time is better than none.

If you’re not from Bristol, attending the punch needle workshop places you firmly south of the river on the charming North Street. Full of cafes and independent shops, you could spend the rest of your time happily exploring locally.

However, if you want to stretch your legs the centre of Bristol is only a short walk away and the historic harbour is home to a regular market and places to eat, drink and watch the world go by. if you’re in need of some culture you have the Watershed and Arnolfini within a few hundred metres. Pop in to catch a new indie film or check out the latest art offering.

Students at a hoop wall hanging punch needle workshop

Students learning how to make punch needle wall hanging hoops

The next punch needle workshops in Bristol will be held on Saturday 11 March, at Creative Space on North Street. I keep class sizes small so that you have plenty of my time and attention. Choose whether to make a punch needle hoop wall hanging or to attend the more in-depth Introduction to Oxford Punch Needle. Either way, I look forward to meeting you there.

If you have any questions about punch needle workshops in Bristol, just drop me an email and I’ll get back to you.

Students at a punch needle workshop

Punch needle workshops

What are you waiting for? Book your place at a punch needle workshop now, your future self with thank you.