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A Celebration of Punch Needle Hooking

International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day becomes an annual event under the auspices of Amy Oxford.

By: Maddy Fraioli

Certified Oxford instructors create teaching samples to use in instructing students. These photos illustrate that the clarity of design depends on the height of the loop. This piece was punched using a #9 Oxford Punch.  

I first met Amy Oxford in the winter of 1985. I was a studio artist, just beginning my pottery business at Frog Hollow Craft Center, in Middlebury, Vermont. I was working two jobs, throwing pots in between waiting tables and working at a yarn store. Amy was teaching one of her first punch needle rug hooking classes in a large classroom next door to my studio. I really, really wanted to be with them, but my primary focus, I had to keep reminding myself, was clay, not fibers, and having hardly two pennies to rub together, all of my extra income was funneled into helping my fledgling ceramics business grow. Someday, I thought to myself, someday, I would learn how to do this thing called punch needle hooking.

In the summer of 1994, my family purchased a small cabin not too far from Bristol, near Amy's studio and home. I remember the excitement I felt when I drove past and thought about the class I didn't take nine years before. I now had enough time and enough pennies to rub together to buy rug-hooking supplies. Amy gave me a quick tutorial, and off I went with monk's cloth, a fabulous color array of yarn, and a few punch needles. I still have that rug. It is pretty terrible. I was so excited to get hooking that I mapped out the pattern as I went, creating a rather lopsided egg-shaped rug.

This article is from the January/February 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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