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Heart Sewing

I was sitting in a class on removing sutures and it set me dreaming. All I could think about was putting them in... I'd tried before when I sewed my lips, but I found it quite difficult. An idea came into my head; I'd sew a heart to my chest. It seemed like the prettiest place to sew it as that's literally where my heart is and a lot of people get heart tattoos. Also, I quite enjoy mods on my chest, it's an easy place to work and easily seen. I went through in my head how I could do it and remembered that I had red satin material at home. By the time I got home the plan was fully formed in my head. What better way to spend a day than daydreaming of mods!

I found my satin material at home and cut out a heart shape, it took me a few times to get it right. The best way was folding a piece of paper in half and drawing half of the heart, which got it symmetrical. I then cut around it and drew around that on the material. The material was clean, but if I'd have been fussy I could have washed or autoclaved it. I set up my working area in the living room, I'd just moved into a new house of IAM types so for once I didn't have to worry about anyone seeing which was refreshing, but everyone was out anyway. It was a great way to christen the new house! I found a mirror to sit on the floor in front of in a well lit place. I got my box of sutures and some clean tissue. I'd bought my sutures from BMEshop a while ago. They were 3-0 silk sutures. I didn't think of anything specific when choosing them, just what sounded familiar. I've since been told silk is a bit difficult to work with, so I may choose a different type next time, probably a synthetic one. I cleaned my chest thoroughly with an alcohol wipe. I find it more comfortable to work on myself without gloves, so I scrubbed my hands well. obviously if I worked on someone else or them on me I'd wear gloves.

I sat on a cushion and made myself comfy. I pushed the needle through the skin. I found it quite difficult as the needle was small to get it through my skin and exit the other side in the right place; it took a lot of pushing and kept twisting. I've since realised that those needles need Needle holding forceps which I have since purchased and tried and find it so much easier (there are suture needles that can be used freehand, but these are very large and would likely cause scarring). I then pushed the needle through the material making sure the material was in the right place. I tied it off, using a two loop suture knot which it took a while for me to remember. I then stitched around the edge of the heart until about half way round where the needle got too blunt so I tied another suture knot and started with another needle. When I got near the top I think my needle hit something it shouldn't have, like a capillary. Which probably wasn't a good thing, but the blood streaming down looked really good!

Once the bleeding had stopped I mopped it up a bit with the tissue (in ideal situations sterile gauze would be used) so that the area wasn't too slippy and sticky which makes things difficult with holding the needle and pushing it through. The suturing took quite a while to finish. It wasn't particularly painful as the needle was small, although it was quite frustrating at times due to the technique and toughness of chest skin. A few of my housemates came in when I was nearly finished and took a few photos. When I finished I tied it off with a suture knot. As it was so soaked in blood I got in the shower and gave it a good wash and dried it with a hair dryer.

I wore the heart for around three days and showed it to a few friends. I wore it clubbing, but under a t-shirt in case anyone touched it. One friend I showed was horrified, which I wasn't expecting! Others took pictures. I'd have quite liked to have worn it somewhere I could have showed it off I think... I showered a few times with it on and dried it afterwards with a hair dryer which didn't bother it. It was fine to take out, though the area around where it had bled a lot was quite bruised. The scars from it faded in a month or so, though I quite liked them while I had them. I did love this, though the stitching looks so untidy! When I try it again I will be so much better prepared. I have already been practising better suture knots. Lots of things I try on myself are a learning curve and help satisfy my curiosity. I love the pictures I got from this and I was very happy and proud when it made it on to modblog too!

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 June 2006
in Ritual

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Artist: Me
Studio: My+living+room
Location: Liverpool%2C+United+Kingdom

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