Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! I’ve had this project in my back pocket for months, but I decided to wait until today before sharing it, because, you know, it’s Cinco de Mayo.
Way back in mid February, we took a trip to Tulum, Mexico with friends. We had an amazing time. We relaxed on the beach, snorkeled in beautiful cenotes (freshwater limestone pools and caves), visited Maya ruins at Chichen Itza, and ate lots of good food. We spent a couple of evenings in the town of Tulum, where I couldn’t resist doing a little shopping in the market stalls. Not only were there pom pom garlands in all sorts of fun colors (and I’m a sucker for pom poms), there were these adorable hearts, made of felt and hand embroidered. Needless to say I became a little obsessed with them. I ended up buying two hearts and a pom pom garland the night before we flew home to stuff in my suitcase as keepsakes. I love ’em!
Well, those hearts soon became the inspiration for this cute project. I love making these hearts for so many reasons. One, they allow me to use up some of the scraps from thrift store sweaters I bought a few years ago and felted for various projects. Two, embroidery is so easy to pick up and tinker away at whenever you have a spare moment. Three, this project is also small, so it’s perfect for stuffing in a tote or purse and taking along to soccer games or public transit commutes. And four (this is my favorite reason), they provide the perfect use for all that polyfil my dog pulls out of her chew toys…reusing and recycling at its best!
To make your own hearts, you’ll need the following.
- Wool sweaters or felt, in any color
- Large heart cookie cutter (the one I use measures 5 inches across)
- permanent marker
- small embroidery hoop
- crewel embroidery yarn in a variety of bright colors
- embroidery needle
- polyfil stuffing
- pom pom
Using the cookie cutter and permanent marker, trace two heart shapes on the wool or felt.
Center one of the hearts in the embroidery hoop, pulling it as taut as possible.
Use different colors of crewel embroidery yarn to embroider a design of your choosing. (Before you begin stitching, practice drawing possible designs on paper if that helps you solidify a design.)
As you stitch, try not to get too hung up on your embroidery skills or worry about how your design is coming along; Keep adding to it until you like what you see. (Need to brush up on embroidery stitches? Check out this site. )
Once you’re happy with your design, remove the embroidery hoop and cut out the two hearts (the one you embroidered and the one you did not).
Stack the embroidered heart on top of the unstitched heart. Sew a quarter inch seam along outside edge of the hearts, but leave a 2 inch section along one of the sides unsewn. This is where you’ll add the stuffing.
Push the polyfil stuffing through the hole. Use enough to give a puffy dimension to the entire heart.
Stitch the opening closed.
Chose a complementary color of yarn to create a blanket stitch all the way around the outside edge of the heart. Here’s a quick how-to.
Use yarn to sew a pom pom and tassel to the bottom of the heart. Here are instructions for making a tassel.
Sew a loop to the top of your heart for hanging.
Last but not least, find the perfect place to hang your heart. I love how they look on door nobs, window closures, or as Christmas ornaments. Or better yet, give them to a friend!
Happy heart making! If you like this project, then definitely check out the other cool crafts made from recycled sweaters in the Craft-A-Day Book!