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Dodie Claypool

Answering your questions about miniature rug-making using needle punch techniques.

If I use a pattern from Dodie's Mini Rug Books Vol. 1 and 2, can I sell the rugs at a miniature show?

Although the patterns are copyrighted, you may make as many rugs for your own use. However, if you plan to make and sell rugs, mentioning it is a Dodie Claypool Original Design is advisable.

About how long will it take to complete a miniature rug?

Depending upon the size of the rug, you can expect to complete a square inch in about one hour. 12 square inch rug = about 12 hours.

How do I thread the needle?

Use the special threader and insert it in the eye-end of the needle. Push the threader through the needle so it comes out the handle end. Insert the thread into the threader and pull the thread down through the needle. Then insert the threader through the eye of the needle, and pull the thread through the eye.

Insert Threader

What is DMC?

DMC is a trade name for embroidery flosses manufactured in France, by the Mouline Co.

What do you mean separating threads?

A skein of DMC floss has 6 threads twisted together. You must separate the threads, using one thread at a time.

Separate threads
More separate threads

How long should the thread length be?

We suggest using a manageable length of 3 to 4 feet long.

Do I tie the threads together?

No. Each 3 or 4 foot section must be separate. No knots.

Where can I get replacement threaders?

Bright Star Promotions sells heavy duty threaders.

How many threads of the fabric should I skip down?
Stay as close to the other stitch as possible.

My rug puckers up in the center. What happened?

Always work the pattern background(filling) from the inside of the rug to the outer edge. Work in a circular motion from the center.

Do all carpets have to be square? Rectangular?

No. Vol. 1 and 2 have several patterns that are irregular shapes. Please refer to the books or feel free to design your own free-form patterns.

  Pink-black Rug

Which side of the fabric do I punch on?

Punch from pattern side which is stretched tight over the frame. The finished rug is viewed from inside the frame. With that in mind, any printing must be in reverse on the pattern/punching side.

How much pressure do I apply?

There is no real way of tell you the pressure you must apply to each stitch. You will develop your own pressure and technique. Be sure the stitches are uniform in length and the needle is inserted into the fabric completely before withdrawing the needle. This process creates the little loops.

I can't get a uniform stitch?

Apply equal pressure to the punching stroke. Make sure the butt of the needle is flush against the fabric, and pull the needle smoothly back to the beginning. Do not take the needle away from the fabric. Slid the needle across to the next weave. Always bring the needle towards yourself. Skipping backwards - sort of speaking.

Needle Drawing Stitches

How do I correct a bad stitch or missed stitches?

Turn the frame over. Check the overall appearance and density of the loops. Using a straight pin, push it through the fabric where stitches are missing. Then turn your frame over and find the pin. Punch a few more stitches in the void area. Bad stitches can be pulled out and re-punched. Long stitches can be snipped off.

Is assembling the frame easy?

Yes, place a small drop of white glue in the joint and hammer the frame to tighten. Do not use glue if you are going to use the frames for larger rugs

Sample Stretcher Dovetail Frame Assemble Frame

When do I need to tighten the fabric on the stretcher/frame?

When the material shows the slightest sag. Be careful to adjust and stretch the fabric evenly to avoid pattern distortion.

How is the backing applied to the fabric?

We use a product called Stitch Witchery. It bonds with heat from an moderately hot iron.

How do I keep from breaking a needle?

Hold the frame away from the table or your knee.

How much DMC thread should I buy?

Buy a minimum of one skein for each flower color with exception to borders and backgrounds. Buy more than you estimate, and return unused skeins to the store. Background or large pattern areas use a lot of thread.

Will the color threads bleed if the rugs get wet?

No. The dyes in the DMC Embroidery Floss are color safe.

How tight should the fabric be on the frame?

The fabric should be stretched tight as a drum.


Is the frame reusable?

Yes. You can reuse the frames. The frame may have holes and look rough but it is still useable.

I'm making a bigger rug, how do I make the frame bigger?

You can change the size by using longer or shorter lengths of stretchers creating a larger or smaller working area. The frames snap together. Do not glue them together.

How much material should I leave around the edge of my rug, to tuck under after the rug is finished?

Leave about ½ inch all away around.


How do I fasten the loose edges?

Use Tacky Glue or similar glue to tack back the edges. Allow to dry, then finish the back with a piece of fusible interfacing applied by a medium hot iron.

Press Edge Back        Fold Back Edges

How do I end the thread, do I tie a knot?

No. The thread is ended by putting your finger on work side of the fabric, holding the thread tight, pull the needle away from the fabric, then cut the thread off even with the fabric.

How do I transfer the pattern from the book to the fabric?

Use tracing paper to copy the pattern, then lay a piece of carbon paper between the pattern and the fabric. Trace over the paper pattern again and it will transfer to the fabric.


My stitches keep pulling out of the fabric. What did I do wrong?

Be sure and keep the thread tension very lose as it passes through the punch needle. Any tension on the thread will keep the stitch from forming properly.

How do I know which colors to choose and which colors look best?

Make a copy of the pattern on white paper. Use colored pencils to fill in parts of the pattern, or color in the whole rug. If the color choices aren't as you like, try again.

Coloring Rug Sample
Color Selection

Why are dye lots important?

Color contrast in miniature scale is more pronounced than in full scale. Color variances are very detectable. Check the dye lot and buy all the same colors.

How do I keep the color numbers?

Place a sticker on the end of the spool you are winding the separated threads on. Use a snack sized zip lock bags to store your thread by dye lots.

Can I use cardboard tube to wrap the separated thread around instead of an empty thread spool?

Yes, cut the cardboard tube in 2 ½ inch lengths.

Spooling Thread

Where do I find Weaver's Cloth?

At your local fabric shop. Usually found in the lining department. Bright Star Promotions, Inc. sells small amounts of the fabric. See our order form.

How easy is it to punch straight lines?

Watch and follow your fabric threads both vertically and horizontally. Following a straight line is not necessary, unless you are doing borders. Always work the stitch toward yourself.

Is it all right to use a random punch method?

Yes, but always keep the needle coming toward yourself. Do not punch away from yourself . . . the stitches tend to pull out.

What happens if I punch in the same place?

You end with a tuft instead of an even stitch. You can always pull out the stitches you don't like.

Finishing Punching
Almost finished

Where can I get help?
Call Valerie at (502) 423-STAR during business hours, or eMail your questions to BRTSTAR1@AOL.com

Dodie's Order Blank

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