While charity knitting and charity quilting have been popular for a long time, needleponters who wanted to stitch for charity have been stymied until the Hearts for Hospice program came along. Created by the Greater Kansas City Needlepoint Guild (GKCNG) in 2015, this project creates hand-stitched hearts that are put on the doors of hospice residents who have died recently. It serves two wonderful purposes; 1. to remind folks passing by to be respectful, and 2. to be a special remembrance for the family. Over 2000 hearts have been stitched and the number is growing.
The great aspect of this project is that you can stitch these hearts in any technique, any thread, and any stitch. You can be an expert or a beginning stitcher — every heart is greatly appreciated.
Since its inception, many guild chapters, shops, and individual stitchers have taken up the project.
Once you are finished, contact the guild at firstname.lastname@example.org for shipping address. The hearts will be finished and put into the queue for distribution.
You can see examples of hearts and get information on the guild’s site. In the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Needlepoint Guild is giving hearts to families upon admission to hospice. The hearts are selected by the nursing staff and the families take them home as a remembrance of their loved one. In Sacramento, hearts are given to the local Kaiser Hospital. Other chapters and shops are contributing to GKCNG’s stock, while others are supporting local hospices.
The Charity Stitching Bag
To start your charity bag you’ll need a heart outline on 18-mesh canvas (canvas size 6×6). Plus stretcher bars for the canvas.
Please note: Other guild chapters or shops may accept hearts in other sizes.
Add to the bag your usual stitching supplies. Put these into a project bag.
Now comes the fun, start adding threads to the bag. They can be threads you want to try, threads you think are pretty, or small (less than 3 yards) ends of threads you’ve used for other projects.
When you have enough threads, start to stitch. I like to divide my hearts up into patches as in the picture above and put a different stitch in each patch.
When you want to do good with your stitching, stitch on your heart. It can be such a comfort, knowing you are helping others.
Many folks stitch hearts, GKCNG has some stitch suggestions on their site. The photo gallery on the Hearts for Hospice Facebook page has almost 200 pictures of stitched hearts. On their blog, Colour Complements has often featured hearts stitched using their threads.
Sue Dulle is a member of GKCNG and has a blog post showing several of her hearts. You’ll also read the charming story of how the project started.
You’ll find more heart ideas from Pennsylvania stitcher, Melita Glavin. Her guild chapter makes hearts and she has several posts about them. Several of her posts have pictures of her stitched hearts (here, here, and here (this Bargello pattern is a fantastic way to use scraps).