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Zoom Design and Color Theory for Punch Needle Rug Hooking

03/20/2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm CDT

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Two-part course, Saturdays March 20th and April 3rd, 11am to 1pm on Zoom


Description and Objectives:

Are you hooked on punch needle rug hooking (or even traditional rug hooking) but find yourself wishing you could create your own designs?  Do you find yourself struggling to work out the best colors for a piece or frustrated that you keep pulling out work in order to try a different color?  Then this two-part course is for you!  Even if you’re not into rug hooking but want to sink your teeth into the elements of design and color for fiber arts, this class could help you bring your projects to the next level.

In the first session, I’ll focus on the elements of design that build an effective punch needle piece—from engaging the push-pull of balance and movement to theories of proportion, anticipating “punchability,” building depth, telling a story, and leaving something for the viewer to imagine.  I’ll also give focus to skill builders for engaging a friendly practice with drawing, finding the “essential lines,” and playing with collage as a design starting point.  Tips will be shared for drafting out a finished idea and transferring it to the monk’s cloth backing for punching.

In the second session, it will all be about color!  I’ll share my tips for building a palate, using warm and cool tones, “backing your way into a color” when you need to, and seeing how well colors play together before you even start punching.  Color theory certainly includes the color wheel, but it’s a field that is so much more!  Learn about the emotions of color, when to use variegated yarns for best effect, and how to talk to a dye artist when you’re trying to create a custom color.

You are certainly welcome to take notes as we go because this will be a wildly delightful amount of material to cover!  Also, please bring your questions to class, as well as the emails between sessions.  My goal is that this course will help unlock some of the “secrets” of the process, so that you can gain confidence for creating and punching your own designs.  I hope that you are as excited about joining this class as I am about sharing it with you!

Student Individualized Project:

This course is designed to help you build skills and confidence in making and creating your own designs for punch needle rug hooking.  If this is your first time designing, then beginning with a modest piece will help its completion feel manageable—say around a foot square or a rectangle or circle of similar proportions.

Students should submit pictures of their designs-in-progress in the two weeks between sessions for 2-3 critique conversations/emails.  This is an encouraging and empowering process, where I’ll help you think about balance, movement, and the “punchability” of your design.  If, after the critique sessions, you’re feeling pleased with your drawing before the second session, you are welcome to transfer it onto your backing and have it mounted on the frame by the time we gather to discuss color.  If you are still working through your design, that’s just fine.  Bring your drawing-in-process and proposed colors, and we can scheme your next steps so you feel ready to punch away once your design is complete.

After the second class, if students want to coordinate private sessions or group “open studio” sessions to garner ongoing help or feedback for individualized projects, we can create a plan that works best.


Two 2-hour Zoom sessions and 2-3 personalized coaching chats via email between sessions, $90

No materials fee.  If you’d like assistance sourcing the suggested materials below, let me know and I’m happy to help!

Suggested Materials:

To engage in the full experience of this course, these materials will be helpful.

  • Sketchbook or ample quantities of paper
  • Pencils and erasers (I like the white kind of art eraser)
  • A pen with good flow (I love the Pilot G-2, but use your favorite)
  • Markers or colored pencils (depending on your style)
  • Images of interest for cutting out if you want to try the collage technique (magazines and calendars work great)
  • Black Sharpie and a napkin (to clean off the tip as it eventually pills up when working with the monk’s cloth)
  • Yard stick
  • Larger sheet white paper (freezer paper could work or medium to lightweight art paper) or multiple pieces taped together. If the paper is too thick, it will be hard to see the design through it.
  • Masking tape and a large window or glass door
  • 24×24 inch piece of monk’s cloth (recommend the finished-edge offering via amyoxford.com). If you are planning a large piece, then size accordingly.
  • Oxford punch needle Mini (#14) plus gripper strip frame, bent scissors, and other accessories for successful punch needle creation (I also love using the #13 for added depth in strategic locations). If you work with the larger punches, we’ll put that into consideration when planning your design.  If you are working this as traditional rug hooking or any other medium, please use the equipment best suited for your style.
  • Wool yarns in a variety of colors. If you are working with the #14, use worsted or Aran weight yarns.  Deliciously colored yarns from our sheep can be found at northstarhomestead.com/NSHF

After registration, you will receive the Zoom Meeting invitation links.  Keep these in a safe place, as you’ll use this link for both sessions.  I look forward to sharing the magical world of design and color for punch needle rug hooking with you!

Laura Berlage

Erindale Tapestry Studio


11:00 am - 1:00 pm CDT
Event Category:


Laura Berlage, Fiber Artist
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The Fiber Loft, Farmstead Creamery & Cafe
11077N N Fullington Road
Hayward, WI 54843
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