100 Hearts Poster A5 Flyer 01 (002)

Sewing on the Front Line

Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life is bringing the 100 Hearts, part of a nationwide programme to the Museum in January.


The exhibition A Stitch in Time will feature the 100 Hearts and the Museum’s own collections focusing on the themes of recuperation, remembrance and repair and has been curated with Sara Dennis, a Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Tutor with long army connections.

During the First World War, pin cushions were made by wounded soldiers to send home to their loved ones. Known as ‘sweethearts,’ these moving mementos were made with love and proved to be excellent therapy for troops recovering from the horrors that they had experienced. Using a modern interpretation of the theme, 100 Hearts will be on display in Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life in Carlisle Castle from 21 January to 17 March 2019.

The Embroiderers Guild and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families Association) began the project in October 2016, with the help of ‘Sewing Soldier’ Lt Col Neil Stace (finalist on the Great British Sewing Bee). The Embroiderers Guild invited their members to take part in the commemoration of the ending of WW1 a 100 years ago by producing one heart.

During The First World War love heart pin cushions were given to injured soldiers to decorate whilst recuperating in hospitals in Northern France.  They were seen as romantic objects made with felt, buttons and badges and would reflect things the soldier held close to his heart, often with the regimental insignia at the centre. They were also often decorated with poems and messages that were printed on small silk patches that came in cigarette packages with the soldier’s rations.

Alongside the 100 hearts will be the Museum’s own collection of embroidery made by soldiers.

On Tuesday 12 February and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Lt. Col Neil Stace, finalist on the successful BBC programme Great British Sewing Bee will visit the Museum as part of the Tuesday Talks series. Tickets for the  talk entitled “Sewing on the Front Line” are on sale for  £5 in advance.  Please book by clicking here to avoid disappointment.

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