The Inspiration Corner
Focus: Hearts

Cathy Kizerian © 2012

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We all love hearts, don't we? The heart is universally recognized as the symbol of love. The shape itself evolved from a basic inverted triangle, which in history referred to the Divine Feminine, or feminine power. Today, the heart symbol often refers to the emotions or values of an individual. Because it is a basic and fun motif, it’s often used in crazy quilting and just about any form of art. There are virtually unlimited ways to represent the heart.

Heart Block by Gerry Hookstra

Piecing a Heart

To begin with, a heart shape may be pieced INTO the foundation of the block itself using several fabric pieces to form the heart. Or, cut a heart shape from a single piece, or a crazy quilted piece of fabric, then appliqué onto your block. Consider a reverse-appliqué heart shape. Pieced hearts, depending on their size, can also be used for other projects, such as door hangers, sachets and more. Remember that hearts are not limited to Valentine’s Day, but symbolize love at any time of the year and for just about any occasion.

Colors of the Heart

Red and pink are the most common heart colors, but it is best to coordinate your colors to your specific project. On the other hand, for emphasis, a red heart on a blue project would certainly become a focal point.

Shapes of the Heart

Consider traditional hearts, elongated hearts (often associated with the primitive style). There are also asymmetrical hearts and stylized hearts. The heart made with the hands has long been a popular motif as well.

Heart Imagery

Read the following heart sayings, and think of the pictures they bring to your mind. This imagery can be a starting point for designing a heart image.

Broken Heart  Winged Heart
Heart in your Hand  Bleeding Heart
Heart of Gold  Heart of Stone
Heartless  Heartstrings
Cupid’s Heart  Heart on your Sleeve

Way to Women’s Wellness Quilt assembled by Allie Aller

Another easy idea is to substitute a heart shape for the roundish part of another image, such as heart balloons (or heart hot air balloons), heart flowers, a heart head or a heart person with arms and legs!

And there’s more: take a basic heart shape and cascade it, interlock two hearts, include hearts within hearts. If you still haven’t settled on an idea, a basic Google search for Heart Symbol, or Heart Line Drawing will yield lots of image possibilities. Try searching Flickr, Pinterest, Etsy and Ebay and the CQMagOnline files (use the easy search function).

Cathy Kizerian, CQ seam treatment

Develop that Idea!

Embroidery is a great way to depict a heart. It can be as easy as a basic Outline Stitch, to as complicated as a Padded, Shaded Satin Stitch or Long-and-Short Stitch. Or use embroidered hearts as a seam treatment. Hundreds of heart embroidery patterns exist online in free catalogs, historical databases and Flickr groups. You may even have some old Aunt Martha’s embroidery transfers in your stash.

Make a heart out of lace fabric (cut in heart shape, border with ribbon or beads). There are Venice lace motifs available in many online shops.

Or fold a small doily into a heart motif as shown here: 

If you enjoy beadwork, why not bead a heart? Some basic directions can be found here:

The Clover Company offers a heart-shaped yo-yo maker. You may have heart charms or heart buttons in your stash (paint them if they are not the right color!). Consider heart buttons and large heart beads. Or ribbon trims with hearts on them.

Hideko Ishida’s 2011 Mourning Heart Quilt for Japan

Do you remember those old-fashioned woven hearts you made in grade school? They can be done with fabric instead of construction paper. Here is a video tutorial:

Finally, felt (particularly wool felt) is all the rage now, and gives a clean look and durable quality when added to crazy quilts. Here’s a little tutorial on working with felt to make heart images:

Now you have no excuse not to include a heart the next time you want to. Put your heart into it!

Heart sachet by Hideko Ishida

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