thread journal
[ Inspiration ]

Create a Thread Journal for lasting memories in stitch

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Have you heard of a Thread Journal?

These are wonderful creations that thousands of stitchers create each year to mark things that happen in their lives. It’s basically a journal for stitchers – instead of writing or drawing – the journal is recorded with little stitch motif’s to represent different activities and events.

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 for some people (like me) it can seem a bit of a commitment!

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 come up with a few different templates to give you a few options rather than just a traditional month by month circle – I’ve kept this in as well though as this is a fabulous design and you might just rather keep with tradition.

With the more relaxed approach templates, 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 not having stitched in a while and can add things on as and when you have time or as and when you have something worth documenting!

An Embroidery Journal just for you…

I have designed 9 different templates for you to choose from depending on the approach you want to take – you are going to love seeing your stitching evolve and come to life over the year – because everyones life is unique, so will your journal be which is pretty exciting.

You can purchase the PDF Pattern with all 9 templates here.

Choose to document daily events with a 12 month Journal…

I had great fun with this, and came up with 4 different designs…

Choose to document events in each Season with one of these 3 designs…

Or, choose to document memorable events over the year as a whole…

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 or what you want to record as a particular memory or event. It could just be full of happy things or include the good and the bad! It really is up to you!

As far as when to stitch – you could stitch it through the month, in one go at the end of the month or a little bit each day – depending on the template you choose – 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. Alternatively you could stitch larger motif’s to mark events or small scenes.

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 into the space the better it will look.

Alongside the templates, I have included 87 different Icons to get you going, plus a set of numbers in the right sizes so you can amend the templates next year if you want to do it all again.

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.

How to stitch the icons…

Use the Icons I have given in the pattern or 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 how one of the templates looks with a few months stitching (I did this in 2021)…

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.

Want to create your own Thread Journal?

You can purchase the PDF Pattern with all 9 templates here.

This is all you will need for many years to come if you decide to do it again – just change the year and away you go!

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.

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!

7 Comments

  1. Hi Nicola, I am glad to be a part of this lovely family of people interested in embroidery. I learned the first steps long time ago, and now after 40 years, finally have some time to do it. My daughter’s name is Marigold, and I want to surprise her with a nice present but I cannot to find the PDF in the library. Can you help me with this issue? Thanks so much

  2. 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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