Advice for Becoming a Better Embroiderer

As a self-taught embroiderer, I’ve learned a lot over the past few years, mostly through trial and error. With that, I’ve compiled a list of advice that I wish someone had shared with me back in 2019 when I picked up my first needle and thread.

1. YouTube is a great source for learning new stitches.

This is my absolutely biggest piece of advice, don’t forget about YouTube. There are so many creators making short clips showing off how to do every embroidery stitch under the sun. I really don’t learn well from just reading instructions on how to stitch, it just doesn’t work for me. So take to YouTube and search “How to backstitch” or even “How to make a french knot”. You’ll be met with so many helpful videos.

2. Try not to compare yourself to others.

Social media is a blessing and a curse. You may have learned about embroidery through Instagram, but there are so many amazing artists that sometimes you may find it difficult not to compare yourself to them. But hey, we all learn at our own pace. Personally, I would love to be able to be an expert in thread painting, but I need a bit a lot more practice until I’m there.

3. Give it time.

I remember when I first started to embroider, I just could not get french knots right. The beginner kit that I started with had a section filled with roughly a million french knots, so I had the time and space to practice. Somewhere, probably around the 80th french knot, it clicked.

If you don’t get something right on the first, tenth, or even 50th try, don’t be disheartened sometimes it just takes time and a bit of practice.

4. Start with an embroidery kit.

Embroidery can be a daunting hobby to start if you don’t own any of the supplies like fabric, embroidery hoops, thread, needles, etc. So if you’re just looking to dip your toes into the hobby, I really recommend looking through Etsy for beginner embroidery kits made my independent artists. They’ll do the legwork of sourcing all of the materials for you and you get to end up with a nice little starter kit. I even sell a few kits in my Etsy.

5. Start an ort jar.

An ort jar is a place to store leftover useable threads. Who knows, maybe you’ll find some way to incorporate these into a future project? Maybe even an embroidery journal?

6. Splurge on decent quality floss.

Avoid using cheap floss, and by cheap I mean a bundle of 200 for £10. I promise you, it’s not worth the savings when you’re left with ruined embroidery pieces. Reputable brands like DMC and Anchor are known for being colour fast, meaning that their their floss won’t bleed when wet.

7. While on the topic of floss, don’t forget to split your floss.

Most embroidery floss is comprised of 6 strands that you are able to split. You’ll find in most patterns that they will require you to use, 2, 3, or even just 1 strand of thread. If you use the entire 6 strands when not required to, you’ll be left with quite a chunky look – if you’re able to thread your needle that is.

The easiest way that I’ve found to split thread is to first cut off a length of thread (usually I aim for about 12 inches). Then divide out the amount you need from the top of the bunch. From there, pinch the remaining threads and slide them down the length of the rest. This should separate your threads.

8. Untangle your thread.

You may find, especially with a long strand of thread, that it may begin to tangle and knot. So how do you do untangle it? Well, simply put, I tend to push the needle to the base of the embroidery piece and lift up the piece. From there, I pinch the thread between my fingers and run my fingers along the entire length of the thread. This should allow you to resume your normal stitching with less tangles.

9. Invest in a soluble fabric marker.

The most popular types of fabric markers are water and heat soluble pens. You can find these pens in most craft stores. You’ll use these for transferring over patterns to your fabric. It’s also best to test your new pen on the corner of your fabric or even a piece of scrap fabric. I learned the hard way that one pen advertised as being water soluble, was in fact not.

Just please don’t use pencil. It will be quite difficult, if not impossible, to remove from your fabric.

10. Have fun learning a new craft.

Feel proud of yourself for attempting a new craft. If your skills aren’t quite where you want them to be right away, that’s perfectly okay. Developing your skills will take time when it comes to a new craft. With time, you’ll see your skills begin to improve. For now though, just take it day by day and enjoy the process.

With these words of advice, this is where I leave you. I sincerely hope that you’ve found some of these tips & tricks helpful in starting to pick up this new craft. Best of luck!

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidery Journaling: Easily Turn Your Icons Into A Pie Chart

Every day, I stitch an icon that represents my day. Well today, I decided that I wanted to turn all of my icons into a pie chart that displayed the frequency of each type of icon that I embroider – whether that be business related, travelling, or even books or film related.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create an embroidery journal, I have plenty of resources available in my Etsy.

What do I need?

If you’ve tracked what each of your icons represents, it will make this process super easy, if not, you’ll need to have your embroidery journal by your side for this.

Next, we’ll be using Google Sheets. I don’t have Excel or any other spreadsheet software, so I’m unable to confirm whether or not this process is the same across the board. If you don’t already have a Google account, make one and open a new spreadsheet.

Let’s Get Started

1, In your spreadsheet, type out the following in the first three columns: Date, Icon, and Category.

2. Next, we’ll be locking the first row in place. You’ll do this by right clicking on row 1. Scroll until you see “view more row actions”. Click on “freeze up to row 1”. Now, when you scroll throughout this spreadsheet, it will lock the header in place.

3. Next, type in your starting date, for me that would be January 1st so I typed in “Jan 1”. Click on that cell and where you see the blue dot in the bottom right hand corner, click and drag that box down and it will autofill the dates. I’ll be updating this month by month, so I just started by autofilling through the end of February.

4. Next go through and fill in what icon you stitched for each day. I kept it quite simple, but it’s helpful to know each icon represents for the next step.

5. From there, you’ll fill in the category of each icon. Now this is why it’s helpful to have a rough idea of what each icon represented. A lot of these icons have to do with reading, movies, or TV shows and it helps to be able to categorize them correctly.

Help with Categories

  • So we’re in February and I have only created nine different categories. Mine so far are: reading, treated myself, movies, TV shows, travel, my business, food, housework, and moods.
  • Some categories that you might find helpful are: work, childcare, baking, cooking, needlework, crafting, pets, holidays, journaling, dating, gardening, chores, shopping, exercise, etc.
  • These categories are really up to you to pick and decide on, it more depends on the types of things that you fill your embroidery journal with. If you find that some categories just aren’t working for you later on in the year, you can also change them later on. Like I have the category of “moods” and I’m not 100% sure that I’ll keep that in the long run.

6. We’re really getting there! Next click on the box where the rows and columns meet, it will highlight all of your cells. Click on “insert” then click on “Pivot table”. If you’re scared of pivot tables, I promise they’re really not that bad. I barely know what I’m doing when it comes to spreadsheets, but I can do this!

7. Select “new sheet”, you don’t want to keep it in the same sheet. Then click “create”.

8. Next just fill in the table on the right hand side as I have. That being with Rows displaying the category by descending order. Then under Values, select category and under summarize by, change it to COUNTA by default. This will note the frequency of each category of icon. If you have an additional blank row with a total of zero, this may mean that you had additional dates without any filled in information.

9. From here, you can rename the categories of your chart. I changed the name of COUNTA of Category to Frequency.

10. Now we are so close to being finished! Highlight the cells that compose your chart (excluding grand total) and click on Insert. Then click on Chart.

11. In that same spreadsheet, it will generate a table for you. Drag it over to the left and from there you can play around with the settings to get it just as you like. You can give it a title, change the colour of each segment, change the way your key displays, and so much more.

Best of luck with this side project to your embroidery journal!

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidering Your Clothing Made Easy

Embroidering on clothing is a great way to turn a plain shirt into something a bit more unique. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll learn what supplies are required and what steps are needed into order to add a unique spin to your boring old t-shirt.

You’ll watch as I embroider a tortoise onto a shirt for my boyfriend as a gift. This isn’t my first time stitching a silly creature on a shirt. A few years back, I embroidered myself a shirt with an armadillo on it, and he stole it from me ages ago. So here’s hoping that I might be able to get my armadillo shirt back. I also designed my possum pattern specifically as a gift for a friend that I ended up stitching on a shirt.


  • Your desired article of clothing made of 100% cotton
  • A design of your choice
  • Fabric stabilizer
  • Sticky Fabri-Solvy or a heat soluble pen
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery hoop to fit your design
  • Scissors

For this project, I used a cotton shirt as my article of clothing paired with an original drawing of a tortoise.

Step 1 – Transferring your design

There are two ways of getting your pattern onto your shirt. You can either use transfer paper or freehand your design directly onto the shirt using a heat/water soluble marker. I opted to trace my design onto sticky fabri-solvy and placed it directly onto the shirt.

Step 2 – Stabiliser

Flip your shirt inside out and lay it flat. Place a sheet of stabilizer where the design will be and carefully secure your embroidery hoop between the layers.

Try not to pull the fabric too tight when securing your embroidery hoop. You don’t want to cause any wrinkles in your finished design.

Step 3 – Get stitching!

Start embroidering as you normally would. I tend to opt for simpler designs when embroidering on clothing. I usually avoid using satin stitches when embroidering on clothing as it can be difficult to keep the tension the same while making satin stitches throughout an entire project. Then once you remove the embroidery hoop, the inconsistent tension will really show.

Step 4 – Finishing Touches

Once you’ve finished embroidering your design, remove any excess stabiliser. Do the same for the sticky fabri-solvy, if you used.

Next, soak your shirt in a bowl of warm soapy water. If you used sticky fabri-solvy, gently rub at the areas containing it until it dissolves. Next run your shirt under cold water. You can now wash your shirt as normal.

And that’s it! It’s so easy! Best of luck in embroidering on your clothing.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

How to Easily Finish a Cross Stitch Bookmark

As an avid reader, I love to collect bookmarks. So what could possibly be better than a cross stitch reading goal tracker that doubles as a bookmark?

So how does it work?

Each pattern allows for a different reading goal, anywhere from 12 books to 200 books. You can fill in your books by the genre of book, how you read the book (physical, audio, ebook), how you rated the book, the month that you read the book, or even by the colour of the book’s cover.

In 2022, I used the 100 books tracker to track my goal of 70 books. You can see that I didn’t fill up the entire bookmark, which I expected. For any remaining books, I just used white thread to fill them in.

You can find PDF instructions and kits for this project in my Etsy shop.

But how do I turn my finished art into a bookmark?

It’s actually easier than it sounds, it just takes a bit of patience. These instructions will work for any cross stitch piece that you want to turn into a bookmark, not just a reading goal tracker.

Supplies List –

  • Finished cross stitch piece
  • A second piece of fabric, I used a piece of pink aida
  • Needle
  • Thread, I used three strands of pink DMC 6-strand embroidery floss
  • Scissors
  • Iron + ironing table

Step 1

Once you have finished your piece, wash, air dry, and iron the fabric.

Then take your bookcase and trim the fabric down. I left roughly around .75 inches around the perimeter of my bookcase. Take your second piece of fabric (I used a piece of pink aida) and trim it down to the same size as your stitched on fabric.

Step 2

Next, fold in each of the sides of your bookmark and iron down the creases until they sit flat. You’ll want to leave a slight border around your bookcase of at least 4 squares. If either pieces of fabric have a fair amount of excess fabric in the corners, you can trim it down. In the above photo, you can see I did this.

Repeat this process with your second piece of fabric. Both pieces of fabric should be roughly the same size.

If either pieces of fabric have a fair amount of excess fabric in the corners, you can trim it down. In the above photo, you can see I did this.

Step 3

Finally, place the two together pieces of fabric together, folded sides facing each other. Using a blanket stitch, stitch the two pieces together.

That’s it – you’ve finished your bookmark! I’ll be honest, this process is a bit time consuming, but it’s worth it in the end.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidery Journaling: Is it Too Late to Start One?

You want to start and embroidery journal, but it’s no longer January 1st and you’re thinking that it’s too late to start an embroidery journal or get caught up on your existing embroidery journal. There’s no reason to fret, because there’s always time to get caught up.

If you’re looking for how to set up your embroidery journal, I’ve written another post on how to do so.

Ways to Get Caught Up

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy taking photos. I’d say that I take at least five photos a day. Look through your photos over the time that you need to fill in and see what you can add to your journal.

Personally, I keep my digital calendar up to date. If you’re the same sort, skim through it and see what you can pick up to add to your embroidery journal. In a similar vein, you could review your social media accounts and see what you were posting. Don’t forget to check your archive of Instagram stories. These may disappear to everyone else after 24 hours, but you can still go back and view your own stories after they’ve expired.

Do you keep a proper written journal? This will be a wealth of knowledge, flip through your entries and see what you can add to your embroidery journal.

As a last resort, you could also scroll through your texts and emails, you never know what might pop up! Maybe you had a really funny conversation that’s worth notating on your embroidery journal.

I don’t tend to veer towards adding newsworthy events to my journal as I prefer my embroidery journal to be quite personal and related to my life. But if you’re open to adding icons from news events, then this is definitely a good way to fill in those remaining days!

Just remember that not every day will be exciting and it’s totally okay to add an icon for something less fun like laundry, grocery shopping, or working.

Alternative Embroidery Journal Ideas

So maybe you don’t have enough information to reconstruct your year since January 1st. That’s okay!

You could start your embroidery journal from whatever month it currently is and end on the previous month. If next month is March, you can always aim to start on March 1st, 2023 and end on February 29th, 2024.

Instead of stitching an icon per day for your embroidery journal, you could always drop down to five to ten of the highlights of each month. However, if you do this instead, you may want to use a smaller embroidery hoop rather than the recommended 10 or 12 inch embroidery hoop.

I actually came up with an entire list of alternative embroidery journal methods, read about them here.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidery Journaling: How I Select Icons for Bad Days

When it comes to embroidering an icon a day on your embroidery journal, you almost expect to have nothing but great days, right? But that’s not always the case, what happens when you have some bad days that you have to sum up into an icon for your embroidery journal? After embroidering iiver 1,000 icons over the past three years, I’ve experience a bad day or two. Let me take you through my thought process.

Bad News

In all honesty, there isn’t a way to prepare for this. You have to take each day as it comes. For example, in 2021, I was on the receiving end of some bad news one morning. Queue me crying for half the day, calling out of work, and going to the grocery store and buying a ton of gummy candies (It’s what I needed in the moment, don’t judge). It took me a few days to figure out what to stitch on my embroidery journal that day, but all I could think about was the shear amount of disbelief that I was feeling. So that’s what I stitched; the word “DISBELIEF” was added to my embroidery journal in a bold orange thread.

Trouble at Work

In October of 2020 I was driving to my job as a housekeeping manager and could see smoke in the hills of Irvine, California. It turns out that a wildfire had broken out in the area which led to one of my most stressful days of my entire career. I ended up cleaning rooms for most of the day after some of my team had to evacuate their homes. The evacuation zone had ended about a quarter mile away from our hotel. Throughout the day, there was not only the stress of having enough clean rooms to support the evacuees, but also the worry of having to evacuate our own hotel and all of our guests. Luckily it didn’t come to that, but it was still an incredibly stressful day.

Now hopefully you don’t have any days that come as close to the amount of stress that I felt on that particular day. For that day, I chose to embroider the phrase, “this is fine”. You know, from this popular meme?


In the second half of 2020, I was diagnosed with a bone infection in my foot. Needless to say, I was worried about my health. My doctor played off the seriousness somewhat in order to calm my nerves. It wasn’t until months later that she told me she was genuinely worried about me losing a toe. Don’t worry, I still have all 10.

The treatment for a bone infection was taxing on me. It involved getting tubing inserted into my arm (called a PICC line) to allow for IV antibiotics. We started with two treatments per day which I gave to myself, then it was upped to three doses per day, as close to every 8 hours as possible. Each treatment took about an hour. This lasted for a month. It was exhausting, I pretty much did nothing but focus on my health throughout this period. Then there were of course weekly blood tests, X-Rays, and so many more other tests.

When it came to adding icons to my embroidery journal for this period, I ended up with an entire cluster on medical themed icons. When you’re just sitting around doing nothing but watching TV and giving yourself IV antibiotics, you end up with some pretty boring icons.

I am lucky enough to have not experienced anything too upsetting, such as a death in the family. It’s not something that you can really plan for, so it’s not something I try to think about.

Overall though, I’ve found it best not to plan for what to stitch on the bad days. I prefer to give myself time to come to terms with the situation and then figure out an icon. Just remember, the good days will hopefully outweigh the bad ones. I can count on both hands the amount of truly bad days that I’ve had to embroider over the past few years of keeping n embroidery journal, but there have been so many more amazing days to embroider. The bad days are completely outnumbered from my perspective.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidery Journaling: The Unique Way I Documented My 2022

While my 2022 wasn’t quite as memorable as my 2021, it also had quite a few highlights. I started off the year working in a role that I knew I couldn’t maintain for much longer. By the end of the year, I was doing something that truly made me happy.

Throughout 2022, I embroidered exactly 365 unique icons (with only one known repeat!). These icons usually highlight the most memorable thing that happened each day. While typically this was something good or neutral, I did have quite a few rough days in the first half of the year. If you’re looking to start your very own embroidery journal, you can find the resources to do so in my Etsy.


2022 started off on a high note – my flatmate and I spent January 1st in our pajamas watching every Shrek film.

I experienced my first snow. Being from Southern California, it’s not something I was ever really able to experience growing up. Throughout the month, I worked a fair amount, read a ton of books, and was able to see my boyfriend, Sam, a couple of times. I also attempted and failed at teaching myself to crochet.


Looking at my month, most of my icons relate back to working at the hotel. I was starting to get a bit stressed with my position – I was working some overnight shifts. After one overnight shift, my flatmate dragged me out to Loch Lomond, because apparently I “needed to get out”. She was correct. The day truly breathed a bit of life back into me.


March was a bit of a blur. I worked a ten day stretch at the hotel at one point. After that stretch, I was able to go see Sam in Dundee.

I was exhausted, but I had something to look forward to. Towards the end of the month, I flew back to California. It had been 9 months since I had last seen my family. While not that long, it was still the longest I had ever been without seeing them.


I started off April in Huntington Beach, CA. I was in town for my older brother’s wedding. In the lead up, I was able to go to the bridal shower and assist in some wedding prep. I spent a fair amount of my time catching up with friends and family over meals. I even spent a day in Corona Del Mar, laying out on the sand. It was sad leaving California, but I found myself missing Glasgow and was happy to be going home.

Once home in Glasgow, I immediately took off to catch up with Sam over donuts.


May started off strong with my 27th birthday. My flatmate and I went out for afternoon tea in order to celebrate.

Later in the month, Sam and I went to Oban for a quick getaway together. We went for a walk on the island of Kerrera to see the castle and passed hundreds of sheep along the way.

Throughout the month of May, I put up with quite a lot at work. I dealt with more guest complaints than I ever had, working in the working in the hospitality industry and I was at a point where I actively dreaded going to work each day. After weighing my options, I decided to put in my notice at the hotel and pursue my business full time.


My last couple of weeks at the hotel weren’t the best. We dealt with quite a few understaffed shifts and complaints from guests. It felt like if something could go wrong, it would. If the smallest of issues occurred during a guest’s stay, it seemed to make most of them snap at you.

Once I left the hotel, I gave myself a couple of days to relax (mostly by reading) and then got started on writing my Create Your Own Embroidery Journal Guide. I honestly spent the entire second half of June just focused on my business.


In early July, I launched my first product on Etsy – The Create Your Own Embroidery Journal Guide. I was even able to have a pop up stall in a local tea shop. Throughout July, I had quite a lot of fun figuring out different ways that I could grow my business.

I also spent more time with my friends and Sam. At one point, Sam decided to run me a bath where I promptly fainted after climbing out of it – not my finest moment


In early August, I celebrated my first year of living in the UK by taking myself out to lunch.

My flatmate and I also spent a day in Edinburgh at Fringe Fest and saw quite a few great comics.

I also took a week off to spend it with Sam. In running my own business, I really don’t take time off or give myself weekends (I know, it’s bad, don’t you start too). So we both took a week off and spent it together in Dundee. I was able to meet his family for the first time and we spent a night in Inverness.


I spent September developing some new products for my Etsy store and maintained the business. I also launched my Embroidery Journaling Facebook Group.

Towards the end of the month, Sam and I celebrated our first anniversary together by going for Afternoon Tea together in St. Andrews.


In October, I did something that I had been considering since starting my business – I launched Embroidery Journal Kits. They were a bit of a pain to put together, but I loved the process.

In the middle of the month, I went to Stirling Castle with a couple of friends and was able to revisit the amazing Unicorn Tapestries.

Towards the end of the month, my parents came out to Glasgow all the way from California. I was able to introduce them to Sam, take them out to a couple of meals, and they were able to see me at my first market.


My parents stayed in Glasgow for a few more days. I was even able to take them to Edinburgh to see the castle and some museums. From there, the three of us went down to England to visit quite a lot of family members, attend a family reunion, museums, and more.

Once I was back in Glasgow, I set right back off to work. I had orders to ship, new projects to work on, and a facebook group to manage.


My business really picked up a fair amount in December. Since it’s focused on Embroidery Journals and they typically start on January 1st, this was a bit expected. My Embroidery Journaling Facebook Group started growing rapidly as more people learned about it. I even worked two markets during the month.

As for Christmas, it was spent with Sam and his family as I took some much needed time away from my business. I was also desperately trying to hit my reading goal of 70 books for the year, which I managed to reach just before December 31st.

Overall, I loved that my embroidery journal was one of the few constants in my life throughout 2022. Now that it’s finished, it’s amazing being able to see a representation of my year in just a single glance. It’s not just the highlights that are represented, it’s the mundane days of non-stop work that are highlighted as well.

Over the course of my year, I really focused on enjoying my time. I set myself goals which I aimed to achieve or even exceed. I left a job that I just wasn’t enjoying, but I left having made so many wonderful friends. And the whole time, I had Sam by my side. Recently, I was asked which icon represented Sam. My only response that I could conjure up was that there were too many to list.

Thank you to all that have followed along for another year of my embroidery journal. Let’s get started for 2023!

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Setting Up Your 2023 Embroidery Journal – A New Years Project

What is an Embroidery Journal?

An Embroidery Journal is comprised of 365 unique icons. Every day, you’ll dedicate one icon to your day, whether this be a cinnamon stick because you made a cinnamon roll or even a plant because you visited a botanic garden. This project starts on January 1st 2023 and lasts for one year.

You’ll notice in the below photo that this is one blank triangle on my 2022 embroidery journal remaining. This blank section is for December. An embroidery journal is divided like a clock with each hour representing one month.


  • A 10 or 12 inch embroidery hoop
  • A square of fabric
  • A water soluble fabric marker
  • An embroidery needle
  • Embroidery floss (a neutral colour & a bold colour)
  • A clear ruler
  • A 2023 embroidery journal pattern, printed

Step 1

Fold your square of fabric into quarters and mark the centre using your water soluble marker.

Step 2

Slide your printed pattern underneath your fabric and align ‘2023’ with the centre dot from your water soluble marker. Align your ruler with the lines from your pattern. Now, using your water soluble marker, trace these lines onto your fabric. Next, trace over ‘2023’.

Step 3

Remove the pattern and place your fabric into your embroidery hoop. Tighten both the hoop and the fabric until the fabric is taught and the lines are straight. Place your ruler on top of the pre-drawn lines and extend the lines to the edge of your embroidery hoop.

Step 4

Next, stitch over ‘2023’. You can use a variety of embroidery stitches like backstitch, whipped backstitch, outline, stem, split, etc. There are an endless amount of options. Personally, I like using a whipped backstitch.

Step 5

After washing away the water soluble marker, you’ll be left without dividing lines between each month. In order to circumvent this, you’ll want to make markings that show where each month starts and ends.

While some like to use a running stitch to divide each month, I prefer something a little bit more hidden. I make a small french knot where each dividing line touches the embroidery hoop.

Step 6 – Optional

Since an embroidery journal is an ongoing work in progress for an entire year, you’ll want to find a way to protect the edges of your fabric. I like using a blanket stitch along the edge of my fabric, but you could also use pinking shears or tape. If you are using a piece of fabric that is barely larger than your embroidery hoop, you should definitely follow this step.

Best of luck in 2023!

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidery Journaling: Traveling the World

If you’ve working on an embroidery journal, then you know how tough it can be to stay current with your daily icons. When going on a trip, this can sometimes cause you to fall behind. I’m currently working on my third embroidery journal and I’ve been on a few trips at this point over the past three years: One where I went to Tennessee for five days, one where I spent two weeks in California for my brother’s wedding, a shorter stint of a few days in Oban with my boyfriend, and most recently, I spent a week away from work with him and we spent a night in Inverness. So I know what it’s like to have these worries about staying up to date. Let me take you through my thought process when I’m put in this situation.

While You’re Traveling

  • Before you go on your trip, open the notes app on your phone and jot down each date that you’re away. Throughout the trip, end each night by updating your note with what you did throughout the day. As an added bonus, you can also write out any ideas that you have for your icon of the day.
  • If the trip is a trip is shorter than a week away, I leave my journal at home. I don’t love the idea of having to worry about packing my journal or getting it damaged in transit. Plus if you’re doing quite a bit of sightseeing, you might not even have the time to update it while you’re away.
  • If you know that you’ll have a bit of downtime throughout your trip, bring your journal with you! Pack a small amount of floss and get stitching while you’re away (if you have an ort jar this is especially handy). I did this while I was away in California for two weeks and it was such a relief to not have to worry about getting caught up on my embroidery journal AND going back to work at the same time.


If you don’t bring your embroidery journal while traveling, it’s time to enact a plan to get caught up.

  • If you kept a running list while you were away, this makes things a bit easier. If you didn’t, look back through your photos and write down what you did each day. If you traveled with another person, ask them remind you of what you did on each day. You can also scroll through your photos and see what you did each day.
  • Next, figure out your icon for each day. Then, take a water soluble marker and sketch out all of your icons at once on your embroidery journal.
  • I prefer to just sit down and stitch all of my icons at once, but that’s not for everyone. If this isn’t your style, you can stitch 2-3 icons per day until you’re up to date. This may take a few days, but it’ll be worth it in the end!
  • If you can, it’s nice to group all of the icons relating to your trip together. This isn’t always possible depending on how late into the month your trip is, but it’s fun to aim for!

Best of luck getting caught up and enjoy your travels!

Looking for more information regarding embroidery journals? I’ve written an entire in-depth 18-page long guide that will take you through the entire process of creating your own embroidery journal.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites:

Embroidery Journaling: FAQ

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
  • scissors
  • 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.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out some of my other blog posts or purchase the in-depth embroidery journal guide. You can also join the free Embroidery Journaling Facebook group to chat with others working on Embroidery Journals. Follow me on any of the following social media websites: