A handmade heart

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January 29, 2013 // UPDATED 1:24 pm - February 4, 2013
By: Lisa MacMartin
Lisa MacMartin

I have always loved Valentine’s Day — it seems to come at just that point in the winter where the snow is drab grey, the temps (and my mood) are bottoming out and it seems like spring will never come. Rosy hearts and love poems are the perfect antidote and a great excuse for crafting.

When I was growing up in the 60s, I loved those big books of punch out Valentines, with their corny sayings and vintage illustrations. When my daughter was young, her Waldorf school requested homemade Valentines only, and one for every classmate. Yay! Off to Butler’s Drug for paper and stickers and doilies and glitter, then our card making “sweatshop” got underway. Over the years, we added paper punches, stamps and ink pads, edging scissors and more to our Valentine supply box.

For several years, I was employed by a large retailer, working in marketing at their head office. Valentine’s Day coincided with an annual business trip to New York for the Toy Fair and this rather put a crimp in my seasonal crafting with my girl. I remember making heart shaped cookies the day before leaving, prepping frosting and sprinkles and leaving detailed written instructions for my good sport husband so he could help our daughter decorate heart cookies for her friends at daycare.

Now as an almost empty nester and small business owner, my Valentine crafting energy is satisfied creating with the children that visit my shop. Their pride in their handmade projects is inspiring to me and a reminder to view the world with some of their childhood wonder.

Sweater Heart Sachet

As a kindergartener, my daughter loved sewing heart shaped pillows stuffed with wool. The repetitive motion of stitching is very soothing. This version is made using pieces of old wool sweater, washed in hot water so the fabric won’t unravel. Sweaters can be found at resale shops, garage sales or your own dresser drawers--a few holes don’t matter. Felt will also work for this project. This pretty sweet smelling sachet can be hung in your closet, on a doorknob or used as a pin cushion.

Supplies

  • Paper
  • An old wool sweater, ideally red, pink or white or a piece of felt
  • Sport weight yarn or embroidery floss in a contrasting color
  • Sewing needle with an eye large enough for yarn or floss
  • Straight pins
  • Wool stuffing or polyester fiberfill
  • Buttons (optional)
  • A tablespoon or two of dried lavender (available in the bulk section of food co-ops)
  • Wooden chopstick 
  1. Wash the sweater in the washing machine using the hot wash/cold rinse cycle. Dry in the dryer. Repeat the washing/drying one or more times until sweater fabric becomes thick and dense.
  2. Fold paper in half; cut heart shape in desired size; pin this pattern to the sweater. Cut out first one, then a second heart shape.
  3. If using buttons as embellishment, sew the buttons onto your heart pieces; a cluster in the middle of the heart looks nice. If using stitches for decoration, sew those now. Simple stitches, sewn in a cross or star shape look nice; French knots are pretty too.  Any decoration should be towards the middle of your hearts, leaving a clear border around the heart for sewing up.
  4. Once your decorations are complete, pin the two heart shapes together, with the decorations on the outside. Sew the two hearts together, stitching around the edges with a whip or blanket stitch. Leave a one or two inch opening.
  5. Stuff your sachet with wool stuffing or polyester fiberfill--use a wooden chopstick to push the stuffing into the heart. Put the lavender inside in the middle of the stuffing. Sew up the remaining opening.
  6. Make a hanging loop using ribbon, yarn or floss. Attach using a needle and thread.

Lisa MacMartin is the owner of Heartfelt, a crafting shop and studio in Southwest Minneapolis. She also blogs at heartfeltonline.com/blog