By Lauren O’Farrell
All images copyright Lauren O’Farrell
Mushy love stuff ahoy! It’s nearly Valentine’s Day – the time of the year when you bellow, “I HEART YOU!” with something handmade. Fancy stitching something squishy to profess your undying amour? Then it’s about time you met the Smitten Softspot, a handmade heart that only has eyes for its owner. Awwwwww.
This kooky little knit was originally created for Knit the City’s “Hubbub of Hearts” yarnstorm in February 2011. Knit the City is London’s most infamous sneaky stitching collective, and there are persistent rumors that I may be Deadly Knitshade, founder of the graffiti group and author of the Knit the City book.
While I couldn’t possibly confirm or deny this, I can share this pattern from one of KTC’s most daring feats: a string of handmade hearts that were hung from the bow of the statue in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, one of London’s busiest tourist areas. The bow was roughly 26 feet above the ground and the yarnstorm (that’s what us UK knitters call a graffiti knitting installation) took place in broad daylight with a couple of hundred passers-by milling about.
Of course, you don’t need to hang your Smitten Softspot from great heights. You can give him away, leave him somewhere for a random stranger to feel the love, or just keep him to yourself. I won’t tell.
Warning: Cannot be used as an alternative to human heart in transplant or sacrifice situations. It’s just not gory enough.
15g DK acrylic yarn in red
15g DK acrylic yarn in white
US size 6 (4.5mm) knitting needles
2 black safety eyes or black yarn to embroider eyes
Fig leaf, wings, and cupid bow and arrow to wear when you deliver heart to slightly scared recipient (optional)
|Download the Smitten Softspot Knitted Heart
Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. Directions on downloading PDFs.
Hold-in-your-hand size or approximately 7″ wide
K = knit
P = purl
M1 = make one (make a new stitch between two stitches)
K2tog = knit two stitches together
Sts = stitches
The Smitten Softspot is made with two sides, which you sew together and stuff. You begin each side by making the two heart lobes at the top, then joining both parts to make the main part of the heart.
Step 1: Knit the heart lobes.
Cast on 4 sts with red yarn.
Row 1 and every odd-numbered row to Row 23: Knit across.
Row 2: P, m1, p2, m1, p (6 sts).
Row 4: P, m1, knit to last 2 sts, m1, p (8 sts).
Row 6 and every even-numbered row to Row 16: Repeat row 4 until you have 20 sts. Cut the yarn with a 5″ tail and leave the stitches on your needle.
Make the second lobe by repeating Rows 1-16 until you have two lobes on the same needle.
Step 2: Knit the main part of heart.
Row 17: Knit across both lobes to join them (40 sts).
Change to white yarn (just start your next row with the new color).
Row 18: Purl across.
Row 19: Knit across.
Row 20: Purl across.
Row 21: Knit across.
Row 22: Purl across.
Row 23: K2tog twice, knit to last 4 sts, k2tog twice (36 sts).
Row 24 and every even-numbered row: Purl across.
Row 25 and every odd-numbered row to Row 35: Repeat row 23 until you have 14 sts. Change yarn to red.
Row 36 and every even-numbered row: Purl across.
Row 37: K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog (12 sts).
Row 39: K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog (10 sts).
Row 41: K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog (8 sts).
Thread your yarn through the remaining stitches with a tapestry needle. Pull the yarn tight and knot it.
Repeat all of the above to make the back of the heart.
Step 3: Finish up.
Place the two sides of the heart together with the knit sides facing each other. Sew approximately 3/4 of the heart edges together, leaving a quarter of the heart open. Then turn the heart right-side out.
Place the safety eyes (if you’re using them) on the heart and snap on the backs. If you’re just sewing on eyes, you can wait until the end. Stuff the heart and then sew up the last edges to close it.
Your Smitten Softspot lives! Swoon! He’s awfully dreamy…
Caring for your Softspot: Don’t take your Softspot to a party and then spend all night talking to other knitted creatures. He’s the jealous type. Make sure to give him a reassuring squidge daily. Feed your Softspot cheesy love songs of the 80s. They’ll help keep that “just smitten” glow. If you’re feeling cruel, add some catnip to your Softspot stuffing, find a fiesty cat, and watch the madness. Meanie.
About the Author:
Lauren O’Farrell is the author of Stitch London, published by F+W Media. She runs the UK’s largest stitching community – also called Stitch London, is the editor of Crafty Crafty, and is rumored to be sneaky yarnstorming graffiti knitter Deadly Knitshade and author of Knit the City: a Whodunnknit Set in London, published by Summersdale. She is the founder of London’s Knit the City collective. You can follow her and her kooky little knits at Whodunnknit or on Twitter @deadlyknitshade.
Project Excerpt: Stitch London by Lauren O’Farrell