Hari Kuyo Valentine

A February Holiday mash up for the sewists in your life.

(Caution: These pointed valentines are sharp- handle with care)

New pins and needle: chocolate is optional


You may have read my Hari Kuyo post last year which ended with my own needle ceremony. I was inspired by the many images that I found of various celebrations in Japan. Some were quite ordinary, with plastic bins filled with well-used pins and needles. Other images were bursting with color as needles were laid to rest in the traditional soft tofu or sponge cakes under strands of colorful ribbons and fibres.

I ended my day with a candle next to a painted skewer draped in multiple colourful ribbons to celebrate the travels of my worn needles.


Colorful displays like these inspired my Valentine with a twist

I wanted to share this celebration with my sewing friends, but the local Hallmark did not offer any Hari Kuyo cards. However, there were lots and lots of Valentines to share. Remembering the fun of the grade school tradition of sharing a small token with everyone in the class, I decided to make up a batch of small Hari Kuyo cards, complete with a beribboned skewer to aid in an impromptu ceremony if desired. The card includes a stitched velvet ribbon to hold a fresh new size 14 embroidery needle (my favourite) and two pink glass head pins.

A glitter-topped skewer holds the card

Pins and needle pierce a velvet ribbon on the lower portion of the card















  • Premade or home made tags
  • fabric slightly larger than the tag
  • expandable paint (gesso will also work)
  • Craft paints of choice (I used Jacquard Lumiere & Stewart Gill)
  • Heart & alphabet rubber stamps
  • Assorted threads (I used metallic threads and some ultra-heavy threads for bobbin stitching)
  • Assorted ribbons and fibres
  • Glitter and embellishments of choice
  • Wooden skewers
  • Optional: grommets and setting tool of choice (I use a Crop-a-dile)


Basically, you are creating a Valentine style card in the form of a tag. The hole at the top of the tag acts as a way to attach the skewer to the card. The ribbon that is tied to the top of the skewer gently wraps around the bottom of the card to temporarily hold it to the skewer and keep the pins from possibly flying about and pricking the recipient (that would be no way to celebrate!)

  1. Scrape expandable paint across the fabric and impress the rubber stamp into the paint. Carefully lift the stamp away and allow to dry for about 30 minutes (follow manufacturers instructions)
  2. Paint one side of the tags (the other side will be covered with fabric) and allow to dry.
  3. While these are drying, prepare skewers by painting them. While the flat end is still wet, dip it into the glitter.
  4. Once dry, lightly iron the fabric to expand the paint. I iron from the back, hovering just above the fabric. You can feel the expandable paint react to the heat.
  5. Using the tag as a guide, stitch the fabric to the tag WST (wrong sides together). If the expandable paint causes drag on your sewing machine bed, lay a sheet of tissue underneath it. This can be torn away easily after stitching.
  6. DESIGN OPPORTUNITY: Since these are stitched from the back, it is easy to incorporate bobbin sewing with ultra heavy thread around the perimeter of the card.

    stitch from the reverse side

    Ultra heavy bobbin thread seen on the front of the tag

  7. Paint the heart motifs as desired. Paint right over the bobbin stitching if you wish (I like the look of painted stitches). Allow to dry
  8. Add a small strip of velvet ribbon across the lower portion of the card. Add additional embellishments to either side, as desired.

    The velvet ribbon acts as a pin-cushion

  9. OPTIONAL: Pop a grommet into card, using the tag hole as a guide.
  10. Rubber stamp the back with your Hari Kuyo message.
  11. Add a needle and pins by piercing them through the velvet ribbon. (To keep the needle sharp, try not to pierce the tag)
  12. Tie a ribbon (approximately .75m long) around the top of the skewer. (a)
  13. Slide the card on to the skewer through the tag hole.(b)
  14. Gently wrap the ribbon from the back, across the front lower corners of the tag (c), and the criss-cross the ribbons and tie them at the back side of the card.(d)






I hope that this twist on the Hari Kuyo celebration gives you a chance to remember your previous years’ sewing fondly and that you can share your love of stitching with friends.

Here’s to learning and growing in our sewing adventures of 2011,
the faithful use of many needles and most of all,
to sewing what we love!







2 thoughts on “Hari Kuyo Valentine

  1. Pingback: Where Did Your Needles Take You? Hari Kuyo 2012 « Stitchtress Stumbles

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