At the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia in March, the Crea team discovered and spread the word about this very special project devised, set up, co-ordinated and curated by Helen Birmingham, owner of Untangled Threads.

The aim is to celebrate the healing power of craft while commemorating the centenary of Armistice Day, which marked the end of the First World War, in November 2018. Impelled by this inspiration, Untangled Threads put out the call for people to decorate ready-made, sawdust-filled calico hearts with decorative pins, buttons and beads, and any other pretty embellishment that might occur in the creative process.

A Heart for Each Day

There are to be 1,568 decorated hearts, each representing a day of the war, and the idea replicates the Sweetheart Pincushions project of 1918, in which convalescing soldiers in need of gentle occupation were given sawdust-filled hearts on which to pin decorative designs to send to their loved ones.

The hearts of 2018 will be brought together in an ambitious artwork, covering 43 sq metres, the centrepiece of an exhibition and public event to be held on Armistice Day at the former home of the Sitwell Family: Woodend Creative Workspace in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The exhibition is open daily until 30th November 2018, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on weekends.

On 11th November a special event will be held at the Woodend Creative Workspace for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, including poetry recitals, readings and a two minute silence.

Every heart created as part of this project will be on display (decorated or undecorated) and will form part of a limited edition, illustrated, commemorative catalogue, on sale at the exhibition and subsequently throughout 2019. The hearts will not be for sale but each will be returned to its owner/maker by the end of 2019.

5% of the proceeds from sales related to this project will be donated to COMBATSTRESS, a mental health charity which supports former servicemen and women. Find out more here.

Taking Part

Members of the Crea team and their families who have participated describe here how they approached their designs and made them personal…

“I was delighted to create a sawdust heart to remember and honour my two grandfathers, John James Houghton (left) and Francis Charles Probert Goodwin (right), who both died in France in WW1.” Said Christine Leggett.

“My thoughts on the design were to cover the heart in a rough woollen piece of hand-knitting to represent the ground of the trenches. On top of that, two different pieces of webbing to represent their uniforms and kit bags were sewn in a cross shape across the heart and their two initials – JH and FG –  pinned on the webbing in contrasting pins. The hand-knitted poppy is pinned in the centre of the heart for remembrance of my grandfathers and all who gave their lives in WW1 and the edge of the heart is finished off with the same pins as their initials.”

John James Houghton was born December 1879 at Colsterworth, Lincolnshire. He was married with two children. He died 10th August 1917 – killed in action at Ypres – his name is on the Menin Gate Memorial.

Francis (Frank) Charles Probert Goodwin was born in October 1887 in Bristoland at aged 14 he was a music scholar and Chorister of the Cathedral, Oxford. He was also married with two children. He died in 1917, killed in action and buried at Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, Saulty, France.

To learn more about the project, have your queries answered, discover decorative inspiration, view tutorials, and see a stunning gallery of gorgeous hearts made to date, go to the Untangled Threads dedicated website here.