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A Special Pattern For International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day

By: Rebecca Martin

Shine—what a lovely word. To shine is to emit or reflect light; it can also mean to perform well. Its sentiment is appreciated after the last few years. My mind immediately goes to sunshine. Shine evokes a feeling—a feeling of joy and positivity coming from someone or something. I know many people who shine and they truly brighten my life. When I think of a shiny object, my grandfather’s silver teapot that sits on a shelf in my front room comes to mind. It is shiny (when I remember to polish it), but it also shines with the memory of a man who greatly influenced my creative life.

I think more in feelings rather than images, so coming up with a design for this year’s pattern was a challenge. At first, I went with the sun—it was a logical choice based on the word. However, none of my sun designs felt quite right, so I kept going. I love flowers and natural elements, especially stylized ones. I thought there must be a flower, grass, or leaf out there that embodies the feeling of shine. I figured I would know it when I saw it. My 14-year-old son is fascinated by ancient Egypt and has many Egyptian-themed items in his room on a display shelf. Drawings of papyrus reeds caught my attention. To the Egyptians, papyrus was a natural symbol of life itself. They also believed that papyrus pillars held up the sky. The sky then made me think of the sun. Right then I knew I had my inspiration— papyrus reeds mean shine to me. 

IPNRHD is celebrated by punchers and hookers each year in April. RHM is happy to present you with the pattern developed by Rebecca Martin for 2022. Each April we celebrate International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day with a new theme selected by Amy Oxford, the creator of the beloved Oxford punch needle. This year the theme is SHINE!

  1. Shine!, 8" x 8", wool yarn and sequins on monk’s cloth. Punched with #13 and #14 Oxford punch needles. Designed and punched by Rebecca Martin, Longmont, Colorado, 2021.

  2. A side-by-side comparison of the design punched with different needles: The piece on the left was punched with the Oxford Fine #13 and #14, using heavy worsted-weight rug yarn. The loops are smaller and lower than the piece on the right. The piece on the right was punched with the Oxford Regular #9 punch needle, using bulky-weight rug yarn

  3. That may be a roundabout way of finding an image to represent the theme, but since life has been anything but moving in a straight line this last year, it seemed apropos. The delicate nature of a papyrus reed helped me decide to highlight the Oxford Fine punch needles, especially the #13 and #14 (the smallest of the needles). I like combining the two sizes to create a subtle sense of depth. With that in mind, I punched the main elements of the design, the papyrus leaves and the swirls, with the #13 so they would stand a bit higher than the diminutive 1/8" loops of the #14. I used the #14 for the background. I just love the papyrus leaves. As I punched them, they reminded me of trumpets and music. The design did indeed feel like it was emitting something—it was shining! To fully embrace the theme, I added a truly shiny element to the piece. Sequins are a logical choice. Now, most people don’t think of sequins when holding their punch needle poised to create, but why not? There is no reason that our creations are limited to only a punch needle. We can add appliqué, embroidery, beads, sequins, felted elements, and more. Punch-needle rug hooking plays well with so many of the fiber arts. When punching, I always start with the main elements of a design and the border, if there is one. After I punched the papyrus reeds and swirls with the #13 needle, I switched to the #14 and punched the background. I noticed that the shorter loops of the #13 and #14 meant much less clean-up of the looped front side when I was finished. After only a few pokes and prods of the loops, I was finished. I then removed my work from the frame and covered it with a very wet cloth, loop-side up, and gave it a nice steam with a hot iron. Once steamed, I folded back the remaining monk’s cloth, trimmed it to a 2" width, mitered the corners, and hemmed it to the underside.

    This pattern is begging for fancy yarns, ribbons, and more. Remember: many novelty yarns cannot be steamed. Keep this in mind and leave a bit of breathing room between rows if using a yarn that cannot be steamed. This pattern was punched with heavy worsted-weight wool yarn. It was steamed before the beads and sequins were sewn.
    The sequins were a lot of fun to attach. I added a tiny glass bead to each one so that my thread would not slip back through the sequin’s center hole. The glass beads added an additional shiny element that was both useful and beautiful.

  5. IPNRHD APRIL 9, 2022
    International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day introduces new people to the craft and renews the bonds of those who already punch. Teachers and groups, all around the world, gather to work on the free downloadable pattern.
    Have fun with this year’s pattern. I look forward to seeing all the different ways people make it Shine! Show us what you do: use the hashtag #IPNRHD on social media. RHM

  6. I didn’t want to leave anyone out of the fun. If you have a regular-sized needle, no worries—you can still punch the pattern. I feel it looks best using the #13 or the #14 fine needles and fine yarn; however, it is a great pattern for any needle. I enjoyed punching it with my #9 Oxford regular needle. I can see that it would be fun to punch the main design with #8 (the 1 /2" loop) and the background with #10 (the 1 /4" loop) as well, to create a raised effect in the main design. I used bulky-weight rug yarn when I punched with the #9 and thinner heavy-weight worsted rug yarn when I punched it with the fine needles.
    Bulky-weight rug yarn is multi-ply. I could have divided my 4-ply rug yarn in half to use in the fine needles. Of course, I could also not have used rug yarn at all. I am biased, since I dye rug yarn: I love the way it punches and hooks. It creates such nice upright loops and is so easy to work with. However, this is the perfect pattern to try something new, maybe even a yarn that has some sparkle in it! Remember, yarns that have synthetic materials can’t be subjected to the intense steaming of the finishing process.

  7. TIP: Don’t pack. Give your loops a bit of elbow room so the piece will lay flat as soon as it comes off the frame.

    Here are just a few ideas. I’m sure you can come up with several more.

    • Sew it on a tote bag
    • Mount it to the lid of a picnic basket or the side of a large basket
    • Use it as a trivet
    • Make it larger. Adding more to the outside of the design, turn it into a pillow.
    • Frame it
    • Mount it on a wooden home-decor panel

  9. Shine! © Rebecca Martin, 2021. For a mat approximately 8" x 8", enlarge this pattern by 130%. For personal use only.

  10. The pattern and directions are a FREE download. You can find it at

    Not interested in downloading? Kits with rug yarn and the pattern drawn on 18" x 18" monk’s cloth are available at

Rebecca Martin is a passionate fiber artist and educator based in Colorado. Her studio is filled with all things wool; however, rug hooking takes center stage.  She is a certified Oxford Punch Needle Instructor, and in the process of becoming a McGown Certified Instructor. She runs StoryTeller Wool LLC, which has its own line of hand-dyed rug yarn,


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