Product Review:
The Dancing Needle

Allison Aller 2010

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"The punchneedle embroidery technique is worked with a special tool which creates loops on hooped fabric. Amazing textures from the one easily learnt stitch used in this exciting punchneedle embroidery method are achieved by incorporating a myriad of different coloured threads, yarns and silk ribbons through various sized punchneedles." --Pamela Gurney, inventor of the Dancing Needle

The Dancing Needle is a punchneedle tool that accommodates larger fibers than a conventional punchneedle. It will punch silk ribbon that is 13mm, giving loops of a lustrous fullness. You can punch two 7mm ribbons at the same time through the Dancing Needle, as well as other fibers.

The Dancing Needle is a well-crafted and substantial tool. The length of the needle is easily adjustable to allow for different size loops to be formed. Obviously, great care must be taken during its use as the needle is very sharp.

The two ribbon flowers shown both employed the Dancing Needle: on the left, the 13mm purple silk ribbon and on the right, the lavender and pink 7mm silk ribbons were punched together. Beads can be sewn in place first, and the large fibers combined with smaller ones, punched with a smaller punchneedle, for added interest.

I experimented with different fibers to see how the Dancing Needle handled them. From left to right are a 1/4" strip of quilters' cotton, 1" strip of silk habotai, hand-spun woolen yarn, and the strands of unspun silk thread. You can see the different effects these fibers create.

The Dancing Needle can also be used for punchneedle rug hooking, a craft I haven't tried yet. But I am eager to get started!

This frame has "Weaver's Cloth", which is the best fabric for punchneedle, stretched tautly and ready for punching. I wonder what will happen!

The Dancing Needle is not cheap at $50.00, but if you love punchneedle and want to incorporate these fiber options into your crazy quilting and other fiber work, I highly recommend its purchase.

You can order it at one of two places: This site also has some lovely patterns for using the Dancing Needle  I have done business with them and their service is excellent.

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