Tutorial: Embroidered “knit” heart


I wanted a design for the front of a knitting notebook and after doodling a few different ideas, I came up with this sweet heart. The embroidered chain stitch resembles knitting when they’re put right next to each other, so it was the obvious choice for a knitting notebook. Here are some instructions for making your own little heart!


-a tool to make small holes in paper; I use this Martha Stewart Screw Punch (affiliate link), but you could use a sharp needle + something to “hammer” it or an awl
-about 3 yards of worsted weight yarn
-yarn needle that will fit through the holes you make
-graph paper (the paper I used is 5 squares per inch)
-card stock or whatever you want to embroider your design on

The Design


I used graph paper to plot out my design evenly. Place the graph paper with your design on the card stock where you want to place your stitches. Use the screw punch or awl to punch holes (you’ll want to put a self-healing cutting mat, or other board you don’t care about indenting, under your paper). The holes will aid you in keeping the chain stitches straight. If you are already an embroidery master, you can probably freehand them!

On the other hand, if you have never embroidered the chain stitch, I have outlined the steps below:

embroidered chain stitch step by step via goodknits

1. Bring about half of the yarn through the bottom center hole from back to front.
2. Go back through from front to back in the same space, but do not pull the yarn all the way through.
3. Come back up through the next hole up AND through the first loop you made.
4. Pull the yarn all the way through, tightening the first loop/stitch.

Repeat steps 2-4 for the embroidered chain stitch. I got into a habit of making two loops and using the second loop to tighten the first, like this:


At the end of the column (and the rest of the columns), finish the stitch by going down into the same hole, over the last loop, instead of through it, like this:


To make the next column, weave the yarn through the back of the stitches toward the bottom:


Work the next column and continue until all columns on this half of the heart are complete.


Weave in this end of the yarn through the back of the stitches:


Use the other half of the yarn to work the second half of the heart. Weave in your yarn when you’re done and that’s it!

embroidered knit heart animation

Here is my [handmade] notebook:


I filled it with knitter’s graph paper and stitched it up by hand. That screw punch I linked above REALLY comes in handy for projects like this!

You could use this tutorial to make a lovely Valentine’s Day card! You can make other designs, as well, just be sure to have at least two dots per column when you are plotting it out on graph paper. I want to do a set of scissors! If I can come up with a few designs, I’ll make another post to share!


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Christmas: the happy card

We are barreling toward Christmas and I just want things to slooooow down. For like a day, at least. Please? We put up our tree, this weekend, and I realized I haven’t bought ANY gifts. I finished knitting one glove, then moved on to deep cleaning/organizing both my living room and office (we FINALLY bought a couch! Another story for another day). I’m still not finished with that, but at least you can see my floor, now! I’m going to be one of those poor souls out shopping the weekend before Christmas. Maybe crying a bit in the car. We’ll see!

Anyway, I say all that to get to this: the Christmas card! In years past, I have taken and edited photos by early November. This year, we were a week into December and I still had no idea what we’d do! On Sunday, I started getting a little anxious about it, so I went outside with my boys and just took a bunch of shots. It was a cold+gray day, but they still had fun and we were all giggling around the yard. This shot ended up being my favorite. It isn’t perfect and they aren’t even looking at the camera, but it so wholly captures their joy for this season!


Last year, I entered my card into the Holiday Photo Challenge at thepapermama.com and it was great fun, so I’m entering this year, as well. She always has a quirky card to share. I kind of love that her chickens are in her photo, this year. Seriously. Go check it out: 2013 Holiday Photo Challenge @thepapermama! Enter your own card for a chance to win some super prizes.

Here are some outtakes from this year:


With a full heart, we wish you a happy Christmas! If you’re on my address list, you’ll hopefully get a card before the big day. If not, consider this your e-version!

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Christmas: the card


I finished up our Christmas card, this weekend. I had a few different ideas, but in the end, simplicity won. I took the photos about two weeks ago in the boys’ bedroom (the windows in their room are right next to each other, so there’s great light). They wore gray gingham shirts from Target and I crocheted some simple bow ties. They totally brought the charm and I got several nice photos.





When designing the actual card, I wanted something beautiful, but not outrageous. I found the font on Lost Type Co-op [Lavanderia] and was in love. The rest was pretty simple, a line here, a line there, and some stars. I ordered 4″ x 6″ prints from Snapfish and mounted them on white cardstock. Easy peasy.

What took time was my peace dove. If you turn it upside down, it’s an angel! I’m leaving it to the recipient to decide what it is.

the lino carving

Anyway, my original plan was to put it on some white cards and then have the photo on the inside. I made a few using some pewter ink (from my Speedball metallic ink set), but I didn’t really dig the huge contrast between white and dark gray. I liked the print enough to know I wanted to use it somehow. After rummaging through supplies, I found the kraft bags and since they were the perfect fit for the print, I decided to give it a shot. I used white ink and fell in love. The hours of printing and washing and carving (over and over and over because I kept finding new pieces to carve out) really paid off.





And that was that! I closed each up with a bit of Christmas-y washi tape on the back. The ones I have to mail will be put into white envelopes for some extra protection.

Have you made your Christmas card yet?? Are you DIY-ing any part of it?

I’m linking this post up to The Paper Mama’s Holiday Photo challenge. Go check out the adorable entries (and maybe enter yours??)!


the lino carving

December 1

It’s finally here. We’ve been listening to Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate (though the weather is just ugh here in Houston), and decorating. I really like the inspiration this month brings. I want to make so many things. I want to knit all the time. I want to cover everything in stamps or glitter or washi tape. I really wish I felt like this every month of the year.

That lino up there might be my nemesis. It started nicely, but now that I’m done and actually making prints, I don’t know, man. I have had to fine tune it no less than 8 times. I keep finding itty bitty pieces to carve out. I got tempted to just throw it in the trash but, NO….I’ve worked way too hard to just let it go. I had a tough time getting my ink right, but some of the final prints I made last night during my test batch were actually pretty. Today, I finish up our Christmas card! I’m really excited because the photos I took of my boys for it might be my favorites yet. Outtakes:

Christmas Card 2012: outtake, 2 Christmas Card 2012: outtake


Our Christmas Card 2011

319.365: the hand printed card

It was last Christmas when I gifted myself a copy of Print Workshop and the basic tools of a block-printing kit. Over the past year, I’ve made quite a few stamps using my trusty lino cutter, including a crochet-inspired one that I’ve been using on the envelopes for my Lace Love orders. I’ll share that one with you soon, but today I want to talk about my Christmas card!

I doodled this tree, inspired by a drawing in a children’s book, several times and knew I wanted to incorporate it into our Christmas card somehow. I cut a small version on a scrap piece of Speedy Carve and liked it so much, I began drawing it larger. When I was finally satisfied, I drew it directly on a linoleum block and began carving. I found some metallic Speedball ink on clearance at Hobby Lobby one day and took it as a sign. THIS needed to be on the front of my card! I got to work immediately and had my 30 cards printed in a few short hours.


Its metallic-y shiny goodness–which was surprisingly hard to capture in photos–is not the best part of the card. Nope. The BEST past of the card? The handsome little fellas on the inside:


Thrifted blazers, vests, cardigans, lollipops. Informal to the max, but just our style.

You want to see outtakes, you say? But, of course!








I took the outdoor photos first. There was more than one meltdown, I can promise you that. The black & white photo shows what a toddler looks like when his big brother tells him he WILL NOT hold his hand. Oh my word, the tears! I spared you the photo of them BOTH crying because I threaten their treat. When we finally came back in, they got their lollipop prize and were still so adorable, I HAD to take more photos. In our dining room. Lucky I did because I ended up loving one of those the most!

Did YOU take your own Christmas card photo? How did it go?? How did you “dress it up” for your actual card? I want to know!

p.s. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for 100 custom postcards I posted earlier today!

p.p.s. I totally forgot to mention I’m linking up with The Paper Mama’s Holiday Photo challenge!
The Paper Mama