[ Inspiration ]

Free Embroidery Journal Template for 2021!

Firstly …

Happy New Year!

I have lots of exciting patterns and tutorials lined up for you in the coming year and I thought it would be great to start things off with a freebie everyone can join in with no matter what your experience…

Have you heard of an Embroidery Journal?

This sounds a little intimidating but having researched around I found there were lots of wonderful creations out there that people had created with embroidery to track their daily lives.

I came across a project called ‘1 year of stitches’ that was created by artist Hannah Claire Somerville in 2016. She decided to chart the progress of her life during a single year by stitching at least one stitch on an embroidery hoop each day for a year!

If you google ‘1 year of stitches’ you will see lots of images of this project which has been done each year since by a host of talented stitchers.

Breaking it down a bit!

If like me you think they look wonderful and find the idea really exciting, it’s not until you actually decide to give it a go, you realise the enormity of the task! Stitching just 1 small thing a day is not much but it would stress me out knowing I should be doing it and probably not managing to commit each day!

So, for those of you like me who love the idea of visually tracking your year through stitches but don’t want to be tied to a tight schedule, I thought it would be fun to just break it down in to months rather than days. This way it works out visually in the same way but when life get’s in the way (as it always does) you won’t feel guilty for stitching a load at once to catch up!

An Embroidery Journal just for you…

I designed a 2021 template for the Stitchdoodles Stitchers that you are going to love see coming to life over your year – because everyones life is unique, so will your journal be which is pretty exciting.

Here’s how the template looks…

So, I spent a long time deciding on the right design. The majority of those you find being stitched are circular and in a pie design with a section of the circle stitched each month.

I wanted to try something a bit different so went for more of a yearly planner look which I think once complete will look fabulous…

Here’s how it works…

All you have to do is stitch up some little icons and stitches that represent what is happening in your life that month as the month unfolds. You could stitch it through the month, in one go at the end of the month or a little bit each day – with this idea – the choice is entirely yours.

What the heck do you stitch!?

You don’t need to have artist skills or designer ideas – all you need is to stitch a little symbol of what is happening in your life – once you start you will realise the ideas are endless.

And of course – I will be here to help with some inspiration and ideas if you get stuck – what I can say is the more you pack in to the space the better it will look.

Download the FREE Template…

You can get the FREE template from the Stitchdoodles Pattern Resource Library – you can get access to this through the link at the bottom of this post. There is lot’s more fun stuff in there as well.

For those who would like a pre printed fabric panel – you can purchase one here… Embroidery Journal Pre Printed Fabric Ready to stitch.

Frame or Hoop up your fabric…

Make sure the fabric is placed in a hoop or frame – because of the shape of the template you might find it easier to use a stretcher bar frame or the No.4 Nurge Plastic Hoop and just keep it in this all through the year.

At the end of the template pdf download you will find a few small icons to get you started – these are just ones I made up to suit what January means so far for me…

These are all pretty self explanatory but only add them in if they happen in your month.

So, for example – if I get a crafting day in I can stitch the needle & thread. If I manage a dry january then the wine glass with a cross through would be a good one!

Finding your own ideas…

As you can see they really are just simple icons and there is pretty much an icon to be found for most of what life throws at us! Just have a look online – when you find what you want to stitch just draw it on a bit of paper first ready for tracing.

Using a light box, trace the icon you want in to the block for that month.

You could just free draw the items on as you go as well.

Here’s a few I chose for the New Year – It’s only been a day but you can see there are a few things that are relevant already!..

Here they are stitched… New Year, Snowflake, question mark for what the year might hold, fireworks and the dreaded Tier 4 that I am in at the moment!

I think this is going to be so much fun and I am sure I can manage to fill the block as the month unfolds! I will be showing my progress as I go so no excuse to let this slide!!!

What about the colours, stitches and thread?

That’s what makes this so accessible for everyone – there are no rules – it’s entirely up to you.

  • Threads – use what you have and play around with lots of different types or stick to the same type if you prefer.
  • Stitches – the icons are small and if all you know is Back stitch then quite honestly you can still join in and make a great journal! If you know lots more and want to play around then this is the perfect way to get some confidence in choosing your own stitches.
  • Colours – I love colour and do feel it makes a difference to a finished piece so think carefully about this before you commit.

My Colour Choice for my Embroidery Journal…

I have decided to go with one colour per month based on the colour that I associate with that month! So, for January I am going to use different shades of blue as I see it as a cold colour and January is very cold here in the UK!

Here’s some lovely blues I found in my stash and will use for January…

Haven’t decided on February’s colour yet!

Feel free to copy my colour choices or decide on your own – it’s all part of the fun.

Want to create your 2021 Life Story in Stitch?

Download the free template from the link below, transfer the easy peasy template to your fabric and you are all good to go.

Purchase the Pre Printed Fabric to skip the transfer .

Join the Happy Stitching Facebook group and share your progress along the way as well as get lots of inspiration and ideas to add to your journal as you go through the year.

I will be adding new icons occasionally for you to use in the resource library so make sure you stay subscribed so you don’t miss out.

You can also tag me on Instagram with #stitchdoodlesembroidery, or send your photos to nicola@stitchdoodles.com and I will include them here with your permission.

Happy Stitching!

Free File for the ‘2021 Embroidery Journal’ Template…

Get the password for the FREE Resource Library where you can access the template for this design, here by filling out this form:

Progress pictures as the year unfolds…


  1. I’m finding it impossible to download the pdf for the journal . Don’t know what I’m doing wrong . Help !

    1. Hi Sandra – when you go in the library – click on the ’embroidery journal’ text which downloads the PDF for you. If you are still having trouble send me an email and I can email it to you. x

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