We made heart strings for Valentine’s Day. It all began with Trader Joe’s paper bags that had pretty red designs on the back and my love for sewing things that are not fabric. I cut the paper bags so they were flat, mixed up some pink, purple, and red paints, and set Chick to work painting. Her tendency to blend and swirl and glob worked out well because, the way I see it, the more swirly the heart, the more lovely the heart. I cut the dried painted bag into strips.
Then, the strips became piles and piles of hearts of all sizes and shapes. Narrow, puffy, pointy, mini, and lopsided. All hearts were created equal in this project (although I would be lying if I said that I didn’t favor a few hearts that had butterflies and bottles of wine on the back from the Trader Joe’s bag graphics). There was an element of surprise because as I was cutting hearts I wasn’t paying attention to the back of the bag, which meant that the painted hearts had surprise graphics on the back. Some weren’t so fun like, “www.trader” or “®, ” but the forks, the hunk of cheese, bottles of wine, train, and old fashioned children with very high stockings were totally perfect.
I placed my little hearts in a tin, revved up the sewing machine, and made heart strings. I threaded both the bobbin and top thread with happy colors (not the poopish color that Chick likes to refer to), and I took it slow. Begin by slowly sewing nothing (leave some length in the beginning for hanging) and then casually slip a heart under the needle, then slowly sew more nothing (this gives space between hearts), then slip another heart under the needle. Repeat this until you have heart strings as long as you would like, and sew nothing for a little bit longer at the end so you have some length for hanging. You want to be holding the tails of your string with a little tension (pulling them a tiny bit) while you are sewing nothing – this helps to avoid jamming.
I let Chick push the foot petal for this sewing project since there was no pressure to be precise. The only problem is that she would sometimes make it go a little too fast, which often made the thread get jammed below. Without “help” the sewing part took all of three minutes per string. With a little “help” it took five.