There are a few main choices for rug hooking and punch needle fabrics. For large needles that take yarn the options include Primary Rug Backing, Monks Cloth, and Linen. Let's explore some of the differences of primary rug backing and monks cloth as both fabrics are available in the shop.
Shown at the left is primary rug backing. This fabric is 100% polyester. It features an even warp and weft. This fabric is made for professional rug making with tufting guns. Polyester makes it strong to hold up to the force and power of the tufting guns. Primary rug backing is amazingly smooth for punching by hand. It stretches nicely in hoops, snaps frames, and on carpet tack frames. Sold in square yard increments. Please feel free to contact me for larger cuts of this fabric. Orders over 4 sq yards are given a discount.
Next is Monks Cloth. This fabric can be a bit tricky. Tricky to find the correct monks cloth that is. Some craft stores such as Joanns sell a fabric also called monks cloth BUT it's not the same. It is similar but not what you really want. Their version is for doing cross stitch.
A true monks cloth made for punching or rug hooking will be slightly off white/tan in color. It will also have a line every two inches. This true monks cloth is made of 100% cotton and will have a slight stretchiness to it. This stretch to the fabric will help stretch it onto frames or hoops for punching.
This fabric is not as strong as primary rug backing shown above. If you're using a tufting gun I highly suggest using primary rug backing and not monks cloth.
Both of these fabrics will fray. This can be stopped or slowed by sewing or surging the edges. Also practice cutting your pieces about 1.5 to 3 inches larger than the finished project or frame. This will allow yourself room to grab the fabric and stretch in a hoop or frame. Also, this provides some safety space for if the ends begin to fray. This way they are not fraying and ruining your punched area. In other words cut a piece of fabric bigger than your punch frame. It can always be trimmed off later. Better safe than sorry. :)
NEW to the shop is a stop fray glue. It works great for preventing fraying. Just dab a line of glue where you don't want any fraying.
If you're using a small needle such as the Ultra Punch or the Lavor needle you will need a tighter weave fabric. Two options are available in the shop now.
Shown at the right is a 100% cotton fabric. This is a natural beige color as it is unbleached. It works well with all three needle tips of the Lavor punch needle. This means it holds a full six strands of embroidery floss with the smallest needle tip and up to small yarns with the largest needle tip. It stretches nicely into snap frames, gripper strip frames, and even embroidery hoops. This fabric is 100% cotton so it could rip if you were to overly re-punch an area a few times. The natural color makes a lovely background color for if you don't want to completely punch a design. Videos of this in use are on my Instagram and YouTube as well. It does also work with the Ultra Punch needle as well.
Next we have Weavers Cloth. This fabric is a cotton and polyester blend. The polyester adds strength to the fabric to hold up better to more punching. This is a preferred fabric if you are using the Ultra Punch needle as it is a very sharp needle tip compared to others on the market. Weavers cloth is a bleached white, shown to the right. The tight weave holds embroidery floss and stretches nicely in frames for punching. This fabric will not work for larger punch needles with yarns.