Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be Mine - Heartfelt

I love hearts - there is just something about the shape and of course the color, red, which is my favorite.  This week I decided I needed to take a short break from the Super Scarves knitting and knit ups some quick valentines. 

The little project was introduced at this week's Indianapolis Knitting Guild meeting.  Susan from Mass Ave Knits was our guest speaker and she led us through knitting this great little stuffed felted heart from Berroco Heartfelt, a free pattern.  The clever construction entails knitting only one piece that is then folded and seamed, stuffed, and then felted.  Not surprising, the designer is Norah Gaughan, well known for her extremely inventive and creative knitting designs. She's also the author of one of my favorite knitting books, Knitting Nature. I knit this up using some leftover Lamb's Pride Bulky.  Lamb's Pride is produced in Nebraska; they are proactively trying to reduce water use in the production process - so I try to give them a shout out when I can.

Here's the real environmental part though.  The pattern calls for the heart to be stuffed prior to felting, with cautions not to over stuff or the poly fiberfill will poke through during the felting process.  I have been thinking about stuffing pre-felting with the star shaped amigurumis, but had this same fear about the fiberfill.  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about my growing stash of plastic bags that is destined to become plarn someday.  Could I use those plastic grocery bags as stuffing?

I cut up some strips, and overstuffed my little heart, finished sewing it closed, and felted away.  It worked!  Now I wouldn't suggest using plastic bags as stuffing for anything that I might want to be really soft, or say really quiet - but for some stuffed toys  - heck yes - it's going to be my go-to stuffing from now on.  And it serves as an extra valentine to Mr. Verdigris Knits who has been eyeing that plastic bag stash with some disdain and starting to pay an awful lot of attention to shows about hoarders on cable TV.

So, knit up some little hearts - using different weights of yarn will produce different sizes - I think these would make an adorable garland, or accents on a wreath....And because these are so small - consider felting by hand using my microwave method to save water.

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