An embroidery journal is a form of daily journaling where everyday, you stitch an icon that in someway represents your day. This could be something you ate (a cinnamon roll), somewhere you went (an aquarium), or even how you were feeling (energetic). Your stitch can be anything you want!
There are quite a few questions that I’m commonly asked about embroidery journals. So let’s get into some of the answers to those questions.
Is an embroidery journals a beginner friendly project?
Absolutely! This is actually a great project to work on as a beginner. Throughout the year you can watch as your embroidery skills improve and your personal style develops. If you take a look at my 2020 embroidery journal, you can see a huge difference in my level of skill between January and December.
I would recommend though that you start with one or two small embroidery kits, just to make sure that you actually enjoy embroidery.
How do you know you won’t run out of space?
The entire piece of fabric is segmented like a clock with each hour representing one month of the year. From there, it’s just a matter of spacing out your icons. Each of my icons is quite small, around the size of a dime, although size can vary from icon to icon.
Is there an icon for EVERY day? Even the boring ones?
Yes! There is an icon to represent every day of the year, even the boring days. I often find that even on a slower day, there are endless things to stitch: icons representing what you ate, if you watched something or read a book, or even how you were feeling on that particular day.
What supplies are needed for this project?
In order to start an embroidery journal, you won’t actually need a huge amount of supplies. This list is a good starting place.
- 10 or 12 inch embroidery hoop
- 100% cotton fabric
- embroidery floss
- embroidery needles
- an embroidery journal pattern
- a water soluble pen
- a ruler
- some form of a daily tracking system
Do you design your own icons?
I have designed each and every icon that is present on my embroidery journals. This is something that I struggled with when I started my first embroidery journal, back in 2020. With time and practice though, it gets easier.
If you’re looking to start your own embroidery journal and this is the aspect that worries you, there are plenty of icon books available online.
“My life is too boring for this project, I wouldn’t have anything to stitch.”
That’s what everyone says! No one’s life is so boring that there’s nothing to ever stitch. In working on this project, it has forced me to really try to see the uniqueness of each and every day.
If you get into a string of particularly monotonous days, try to find something special about each day. Sometimes a rut like this can force you to try something new, just to have something to stitch on your journal.
There is also the option of not working on a traditional embroidery journal and instead only stitch a few icons for each month.
How long does it take to embroider each icon?
It depends on the day. For a simple stitch it might only take 5 minutes, but for a more detailed icon or one with multiple colours, it could take 25 minutes.
When I was just starting out back in 2020, I found that it often took longer to update my embroidery journal than it does these days. With practice, you’ll get quicker at embroidering these small icons.
How do you decide what to stitch each day?
I tend to select an icon that represents the highlight or the most memorable event of each of my days. Sometimes this can be a challenging process to narrow it down to just one thing. However, I do have the occasional bad day throughout my year and those deserve to be embroidered as well. I like for my embroidery journal to be a fair representation of my life, it is a journal after all..
Do you ever forget what an icon represents?
It definitely happens from time to time, but I’ve always been quite good at tracking my days through a notebook. I jot down what I do each day alongside a rough sketch of what I plan to stitch that day.
If you’re looking to start your own embroidery journal and you’re in search of a tracking system, I did actually create a daily tracking system to pair with your embroidery journal. Each week is broken into two pages – one to write down what you do each day and the other to sketch out your icon of the day.
Why start this project?
This is a tough one. An embroidery journal is not for the faint of heart. It’s quite a long and drawn out process, but it is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever worked on. My embroidery journals have tracked some amazing things at this point: an international move, three different jobs, starting my business, the entirety of my relationship with my boyfriend, the pandemic, and so much more. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
Do you ever duplicate icons?
I actually try my best to avoid doing this. My goal is to have each embroidery journal be as unique as possible and this means not duplicating any icon within the year. But accidents happen from time to time and I just laugh it off what it does happen.
What if I fall behind?
This happens! I do my best to stay on top of my journal, but falling behind can happen. This is when having a tracking system really comes at an advantage. As long as you continue to track what you do on a daily basis, it should be relatively to get caught back up when you have the time.
How do I make my own?
I’ve actually written an entire Create Your Own Embroidery Journal Guide which is available on Etsy.
The 18-page guide covers how to set up your embroidery journal, how to space out your icons, how important it is to track your days, how to stay motivated and so much more.