It’s time for a Valentines gift exchange in The Junkyard this week, and we’re feeling more than a little festive! You may have noticed I’m a big fan of garlands, and we love to decorate with them all year long. I encourage celebrating love every day of the year, but for a couple of weeks, at least, I can get away with hearts all over everything and not have eyes rolled in my direction.
Today, I’d like to share two ways to make a garland of happy hearts to hang up in your home or give to your favorite…everyone!
Even if you are new to crochet, you are only a You Tube video or two away from mastering the sweet and simple heart pattern by Molly Dunham. There are tons of heart patterns out there, so I’m not going to bother with writing out my own…this one is perfect, or you can do an internet search for more options. Once you have chosen a heart, here’s what you need:
- sock yarn (I used my own hand dyed in the February colorway)
- white sock or lace yarn, or kitchen twine
- small crochet hook (I used a size 3…just make sure it’s small enough for the yarn you’re using)
- blunt needle for weaving in yarn ends
You can make the hearts with sock yarn, or you can do as Molly suggests in her pattern, which is to use crochet cotton, but that is pretty tiny and maybe not so great if you are a beginner with crochet. You could also go bigger, and use a worsted or even a bulky weight yarn to make big hearts. Just size up your crochet hook as needed and follow the pattern as written.
Once you are satisfied with your pile of hearts, it’s time to string them up! As for my previous garland pattern, you will simply crochet a chain. This part is good for kids who can handle a hook. Crochet a foot or so of chain stitch and, when you’re ready to start adding hearts, just put the hook through the top left edge of a heart and pull the yarn or string through. Continue to chain stitch across, and then pick up the top right edge of the heart. Chain for a few inches before adding another heart. With lace yarn, I chained 40 stitches between each heart, and 7 stitches over the middle of each heart. This will vary if you use different yarns and/or hook sizes. It’s okay to eyeball this and customize it to your liking!
When you have added all your hearts, chain another foot or so as you did in the beginning. This gives you some length on either side to hang from, and some flexibility in positioning.
Alternately, and perhaps more kid-friendly, is to make your hearts with craft felt. This particular garland has been hanging up in my kitchen since three Valentine’s Days ago! This was back when my boy was five and thought blanket stitch was the best thing ever. We made the hearts together and I’ve never wanted to take it down.
All you need to do is cut out two heart shapes for each heart you want on your garland. Blanket stitch around, leaving a little opening for stuffing. Fill it up with fluff (this is a great way to get rid of yarn scraps, by the way), and continue blanket stitch to close it up. Then, proceed with the above instructions for making your hanging chain, but instead of grabbing the two topmost points, grab the lower, middle point of the top of the heart instead.
If you think you might want to keep your garland up year round, I suggest not using white felt. Let’s just say mine look a little dingy after years in the kitchen, but the dark colors still look great!
Shannon Herrick is a mixed media artist and farmer, navigating the wilderness of modern life from a Little House in the Young Woods of southern Vermont. She spins yarn and tales, makes snow angels and reads fortunes in cups of hot cocoa. Musings and otherness can be found at www.thespunmonkey.com, and her turf on Etsy is here: www.thespunmonkey.etsy.com