A Year of Stitches

Journaling the year using embroidery.

Katrina King Dec 1, 2021 - 4 min read

A Year of Stitches Primary Image

A Year in Stitches embroidery project. All photos by author.

At the end of 2016 I was introduced to a craft trend that had started earlier that year. One Year of Stitches was a concept created by Hannah Claire Sommerville. The idea was to take a piece of fabric and stitch something every day of the year, resulting in a thread journal of sorts. In a way it is a "create your own adventure" craft, with the only rule being that you stitch at least one stitch every day.

A blank palette

Fabric and thread ready to start the year!

For my project I started with piece a green linen large enough for a 14” hoop and Valdani cotton in size 12. The only rule I created for myself was that once I started stitching, I was not allowed to take it out. The stitching was to reflect the day, be it specific events or simply how the emotions flowed out through my hands.

January stitching

A few weeks in.

Instead of creating one overall design, each day was represented by a small motif using various embroidery techniques. Along with the stitching, I kept a journal recording the motif and the overall emotion of the day. Some days were easy—a design of how the day was spent. There are movie motifs for the days we saw Wonder Woman and Spider-Man in the theatres. A slice of pizza, a blue swirl, and a red W for our trip to Chicago, where we got lost hunting down deep-dish pizza, saw the Blue Man Group, and watched the Cubs beat the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Music notes, saxophones, and treble clef reflect marching band shows and concerts the girls played in, and arrows represent archery tournaments.


Catching up after a trip to Chicago.

Other days were more difficult. The end of 2016 was full of change for my daughters and myself. Stitching every night in 2017 became a way for me to express my emotions at dealing with the unexpected and became a sort of healing that I didn’t expect. It’s interesting to note that some of the worst-feeling days resulted in the best motifs!


New Year's Eve and I'm finished! I even stitched the year on the edge.

Almost five years have passed since I participated in the One Year of Stitches and the linen has yet to become anything beyond a stitched piece of fabric tucked in among my other numerous projects. As I look back on it, I see a year of growth and memories in the stitches. I had started one again in 2018 but didn’t keep up with it. Life has changed quite a bit for me in the last five years; maybe it’s time to record 2022 in the same way.

Katrina King has yet to meet a fiber craft she doesn’t like. Along with lace knitting, she also has crochet, weaving, spinning laceweight yarn, embroidery, and tatting in her tool bag. You can follow her craft adventures at Threaded Dream Studio. When she’s not crafting, she can be found teaching at her local yarn shops, reading epic fantasy novels, and chasing her daughters to various activities in and around Fort Collins, Colorado.