Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve

Leah and Di Back to camera

I loved this idea from the first time I saw it here on Honestly WTF.  I already had supplies and tools because I’ve done some needle felting, and I love hearts.  So this was an idea just waiting for the right time.  The time has finally arrived.

I added these needle felted heart elbow patches to two sweaters.  One for myself with pink hearts on a grey sweater, and one for my niece, Leah, who graciously offered up a sweater for my project that was perfect.

Leah & Di turned toward camera

I’m delighted with the results!

If you want to wear your heart on your sleeve too, here’s what you need:

A sweater – the heart patches are made of wool but it worked on both the grey cotton knit cardigan I picked up on sale at the Gap outlet…

Grey Cardi

and the lacy cream acrylic sweater that Leah let me embellish.  Leah lived in Portland for a few years and has quite a sweater collection and I thought she would see the charm in heart-shaped elbow patches.

White Cardi

You will need a template – I cut one out of a cereal box.  In fact, I made two – one is a heart-shaped hole in a piece of cardboard and the other is a heart cut from card stock the size of the heart-shaped hole.  I used both in creating my elbow patches.

Wool roving (wool that has been washed, combed, usually dyed, but not spun into yarn)

Felting Needles (individual needle as well as a group of several needles set into a handle, such as a felting pen with 3 needles)

Foam block or felting brush mat for working on – I use a piece of felting foam.

Felting Tools

You will also need a piece of tape to mark where you are going to put the patches.

Washi tape elbow

My placement wasn’t the best – Leah brought her sweater to me when she came to see my new office.  I had her try on the sweater and I tried marking the elbows with paper clips.  One came off, the other got tangled in the knit of the sweater.  I ended up putting her patches a little on the high side.  When I looked back at the Honestly WTF site they suggested putting the tape about 1/2 inch below the elbow – a good tip if only I had followed it.  Consider if you push or roll up your sleeves as well. I like my sleeves pushed up a bit and I didn’t really take that into account.

Once you figure out where you want to hearts, put the foam block into one sleeve of the sweater and place the heart-hole template.


Take off a nice tuft or two of wool from the clump of wool roving, and pull it apart and tease it a bit with your fingers and lay it down in the heart.

Wool In Template

Now start felting: poking the sharp, barbed felting needles or needles in a felting tool up and down into the wool.  The barbed needles catch on the wool fibers and tangle them together.  Keep on poking, watching your fingers so you poke the wool and not your fingers.  I used a multi-needle tool to go over the whole area a few times but started using a single needle when the heart started to take shape and I wanted to add definition, especially at the point and at the cleavage.

Roughly Felted

Keep poking the needle/s into the wool – there is no sewing involved and you want the wool fibers to become snugly felted together and firmly attached to the sweater.  Add tufts of wool if you can see sweater peeking through the heart or it seems thin in places.  This is still fairly loose still, but you can see it is taking shape.

Heart sans template

After awhile you can remove the template and just keep poking the needles into the heart.  I find when I remove the heart-shaped-hole template I can see what areas need a bit of cleaning up to keep the shape.  I put the heart cut from card stock over the wool heart and go around the edge, carefully, with a single needle.

Wool Peeking Out

You can see a bit of wool fiber here peeking out from under the red paper heart.  Use the needle and corral those fiber with a couple of good pokes alongside the edge of the paper.

When you are finished, the sweater will be lightly attached to the foam block with wool fiber.  Just peel it off gently.  My foam block has been used quite heavily so I found some bits of foam stuck to the fibers and just pulled it off with my fingers.  I need to get a new foam block.

This is the underside of the heart.

Fuzzy Underside

Now you just need to press it.  I put the iron on wool setting, sprayed the heart with water and pressed the heart.

Ironing Heart

The finished heart.  Outside.

One Heart

And inside.

Inside Sleeve

Repeat on the other sleeve and enjoy your enhanced sweater.

Here is Leah in her sweater.

Leah's Back

Adorable Leah

I think this sweater was just made for her.  Oh, yeah, it was.  I made it.

She rocked the look from the toes of her red boots to the tips of her red fingernails.

Leah Hand

Her sweetheart came out to help with our photo session.

Leah & Robert

Thanks, Leah & Robert!  And thanks, Rem, for helping with the photography.

Elbow to Elbow

Thank you for stopping by.

1 Comment

Filed under Crafts

One response to “Wearing My Heart On My Sleeve

  1. Pingback: Big Craft Clean-Up Revisited or Old Habits Die Hard | dianne faw

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