Tuesday, June 16, 2020

One Heart, One World

What a turmoil our nation is in these days, and rightly so. With the death/murder of George Floyd and investigation into other cases of racism and social injustice, maybe this will be a wake-up call and things will finally change for the better. I have to believe that it will, as the old CSN song goes, "It's been a long time coming". I remember the civil rights movement of the 60's, I was very young, but I remember the interstate getting shut down then, protests and such, I thought things had changed. But it seems to have gotten worse lately...or maybe the inequality and racism is just finally being exposed? I pray that this will be a positive change, and that our children will grow up to be more loving and accepting of everyone regardless of their skin color, sex or beliefs. As it's been pointed out, children aren't born to hate; it's up to us to teach them otherwise.

I'm trying to help out in my own humble way with this simple project I'm titling "One Heart, One World", a name suggested by Becky Bucci (thank you Becky!) The pattern is available as a free printable project sheet at the bottom of my Classes page on my web-site. You'll need to save it to your preferred device and print from there, checking the size. Mine finishes at 8-1/2" x 11", but you can make it any size you like. This could even be used as a teaching tool for your children, they can just color in the page you print! I used Woolfelt in various skin tone shades for my heart and hands with orange and yellow for the flames, which calls to mind a phoenix rising from the ashes. (You could also use cotton or batik fabric, but you would need to add fusible web to the back.) I used Valdani mulberry silk floss for the orange radiating warmth around the heart in long, straight stitches. I love the warm luster the silk floss adds, and the way it catches the light, adding a degree of variation to the finished look. I used a size 12 perle cotton in black for the decorative stitches in the heart, hands and flames.
I used a variety of stitches such as cross-stitch, herringbone, blanket-stitch, whip-stitch, and primitive-stitch. Really, any stitch will work, whatever you like to do and comes easily for you!

Here are the basic supplies you'll need:
* Black Woolfelt for the background, 9" x 12" square
* Small pieces of Woolfelt for the heart, hands and flames; I used skin-tone shades, orange, & yellow
* Perle cotton/silk floss, or embroidery floss (see my note above)
* Embroidery needle
* Scissors
* Pins
* Optional: freezer paper, iron, light box (or sunny window), rotary cutter with ruler and mat.
* Sewing machine if you prefer doing the decorative stitches by machine
* And of course the paper pattern, found at the bottom of my Classes page under Freebies!

The first thing you'll do after printing out the pattern is to trace the hands and flames onto the paper side of freezer paper or another piece of paper, or you can cut them from the one you printed. (If using cotton fabric, trace them onto the paper side of fusible web.) I like to use freezer paper to cut out my Woolfelt for a crisp, clean cut: just trace the design components to the paper side, cut around the traced designs leaving a narrow margin around the outside line, use a low-temp iron to iron to your Woolfelt, and cut out designs on the traced lines. Be sure to remove the paper backing before pinning these to your background.

You'll want to cut out 2 hands using paper, freezer paper, or fusible web. Also, cut out the flames, cutting the full size for the orange flame, and just the smaller one for the yellow flame. For the heart, go ahead and cut the heart out from your printed pattern, keeping both the heart and background intact. Then you can lay small pieces of your Woolfelt colors in your cutout to audition color placement. Or if you like the colors shown, I used the following shades for my heart (starting at upper left and going counter-clockwise): Beach Sand, Light Brown, Camel, Suntan, Hay Bale, and Cinnamon (Peat Moss would also look good here.) I left it open in the center to show the black background. Or you can use more colorful pieces if you prefer - how about rainbow colored? It's your art piece, feel free to use whatever hues you like!
So obviously I had already cut out my pieces and started stitching them to the background, but I did audition mine beforehand, I just didn't take a picture. But you get the idea - cut out the heart, use the background as a "stencil window" to audition colors.

Once you've chosen your color palette and placement, you can trace the heart sections onto the freezer paper and cut them out as described above. Then pin them to the background, making sure to leave room for the hands and flames at the bottom; you can use your printed pattern as a placement guide. Now you're ready to stitch away! You can also cut a solid black heart and pin the heart sections to that to do the decorative inner stitches, it's a bit easier to handle, and yes, that's how I did mine.

Once you have your heart stitched, primitive-stitch or whip-stitch it to the background around the outer edge. A primitive stitch is just a random whip-stitch with a wonky quirky uneven look! The whip-stitch around the hands. Next use a tiny cross-stitch to attach the yellow flame just to the orange flame, then pin these below the hands and use a whip-stitch to sew to the background. At this point you have a couple of options: if your piece is going to be a simple wall hanging, journal cover etc, go ahead and sew all the way around if you'd like. I left the top of mine open as a pocket of sorts to hold little "blessings" to give or receive every day. I printed out these word my small group helped me brainstorm when we were pondering what "love is", cut them out, and tucked them into my fiery pocket. Then when I receive or give a blessing throughout the day, such as encouragement, praise or the like, I can pull that word out and tuck it into my radiating love stitches around my heart! If you're helping a young person make this project, this would be a valuable lesson to be positive an share love with others!

Ok, so once you have all your components attached to the background, you're almost done! The last step is to sew the orange radiating warmth of love around the heart with long straight stitches. My rows are about 1/4" - 3/8" apart and the stitches are about 1/2" long. You can make yours smaller if you prefer, I lean towards larger stitches - I'm all about fast 'n easy!

And you're done! I hope you enjoyed making your new loving heart and that it will bring joy and warmth to your heart each time you look at it. Don't forget to sign your project! I embroidered my initials in the lower right corner. Let's fill the world with love not hate - everyone can make a positive difference!

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