Iabsolutely love autumn, it is by far my favourite season. I love the cold, sunny days with bright blue skies. I love how they contrast with all the earthy tones as the leaves start to turn. I love wrapping up warm in jumpers, scarves and coats. I love getting cosy on the sofa with a blanket, candle on and a warming drink. I love making big, comforting pots of tasty food. I love refreshing my décor to reflect all the changing seasons and to make everything a bit more cosy!
Changing up your décor doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s really easy to give a room a whole new feel just by switching a few things up. If you can’t be bothered to get the paintbrush out (I’m with you!) why not try making some small changes with items you’ve made?
Making your own décor items ensures that your house will always have a few unique elements. Even if you’re following a pattern or project, the fact that you have made it will make it unique. However, you can of course go further and change up colours, or tweak designs to make them fit with your aesthetic.
My book Weekend Makes: Punch Needle came out three years ago. It was quite a challenge to think up 25 different punch needle projects. Some of them are on reflection a bit of a stretch (punch needle bookmark I’m looking at you) but some I still really love and make again regularly. I went for mostly homeware items that I thought would either be useful or decorative.
Here are my top five projects from the book that I think would be great to make this autumn. As they were originally designed three years ago, I’ve included where I would make any modifications to design or supplies to bring them up to date. The full step-by-step instructions and design templates are all available in the book.
1. Storage basket
This little basket is in permanent use in my packing room. I love that I’m using something made of wool to store more wool! This was made using my trusty rug yarn, monks cloth and a regular Oxford punch needle. I’ve always intended to make a few more of these baskets as they could be used to store anything. Putting loop stitches on the finished side of the basket will make it feel quite soft - but if you want something a bit more structured you can use flat stitches to give it substance.
As mine is used to store wool it doesn’t really matter - and actually the basket being a bit softer means I can squeeze more wool in.
A tiny pot, perfect for tools. This is a relatively quick project to make and could be used to store lots of things, not just punch needles. I’ve got a pot of pens and make up brushes, and you could even use it to hold your cutlery on the dining table. This pot has the flat stitches facing outwards and this definitely helps to give it some structure. You could easily adjust this pattern to make it a little taller or a little wider to suit your needs.
Storage basket and tools pot
If you don’t fancy making a whole punch needle cushion you can start with a readymade cushion cover. This was a plain cushion cover from Ikea that I used as my foundation fabric.
Annoyingly it doesn’t look like they stock it anymore. I’ve found this H&M linen effect cushion which looks like it has a similar composition to the Ikea cover. You want something with a fairly tightly woven fabric with enough give to get a fine punch needle through. This H&M one also comes in a range of colours so I might buy a couple to try out some new designs this autumn. I used a fine Oxford needle (which you could swap out for a Lavor fine punch needle) and aran weight yarn to create this simple design. I wouldn’t normally leave the flat stitches on the finished side of something that is going to take some wear like a cushion. However this one hasn’t been pulled so it’s still pretty intact.
Upcycled punch needle cushion
This was such an easy little project to make. It’s essentially a small rectangle filled with rice with some felt fabric on the back, but I use it so often. It lives by the front door and is great at preventing it from slamming when I’ve inevitably also left the back door open. I’d recommend this as a nice starter project for someone who wants to progress on from making a decorative hoop.
I remember making this back in the early pandemic days and feeling very guilty for filling it with rice when it wasn’t always the easiest thing to come by! You could fill it with whatever you fancy that will provide enough weight. If you wanted to up your kids handmade toy game, you could use the pattern to make some smaller versions to use as little beanbags.
Punch needle doorstop
Probably one of my most made and most used projects is the humble coaster. Much like cushions I don’t think you can ever have too many of them.
I used to have a particularly sensitive dining table so always made sure that I had a lot of coasters to hand to passive aggressively pass to guests. Now I have a few in each room of the house.
I love that they barely use any supplies and are quick to do so satisfy that need to make something. The perfect project to do on the sofa of an autumnal evening. Plus they’d make really lovely little gifts and don’t cost a bomb.
Punch needle coasters
As well as 25 punch needle projects, the book also has an introduction to the materials and basic techniques. I tried to keep it fairly simple and more like a reference book. Since the book came out the Lavor needles have been manufactured, I now have gripper frames and a more extensive range of fabrics and yarn. There are probably a few things I’d do differently with a few more years of experience under my belt, so who knows a second book could emerge at some point.
If you make any of the projects out of the book, please do send me a photo as I’d love to see them! I hope you enjoy the autumnal season as much as I’m going to. I’ve got grand plans for a new, bigger rug as well as making one more mini rug for my upcoming weekend workshop. If you’ve dabbled with punch needle and fancy joining for the weekend just let me know.
Learn to make a punch needle rug
I am excited to be bringing you the first, full weekend punch needle workshop where you will make your own mini punch needle rug.
You will be working on an abstract design, using a selection of 100% punch needle rug yarn to create your own punch needle rug. If you've been playing with punch needle and working on smaller projects, this is your opportunity to scale up and learn how to make your own rugs.