"Timeless. Intricate. Meaningful." That is how you might describe Delaney R. Willard's monogramming art. Her stitched letter series (as she calls it) on Instagram showcases the elegant loops, curves, and flowing penmanship associated with each letter in the alphabet through embroidered stitches. Having learned this skill in her grade school years, Willard wanted to perfect her craftsmanship and turn her work into long-lasting keepsakes. "I wanted to frame my work, but the tiny wrinkles in the fabric made it difficult to get it exactly perfect how I wanted it," she explains. Then, a stroke of brilliance: "I tried stitching on watercolor paper and... voilà! I began creating framed handstitched monogram pieces for friends and family as wedding and baby shower gifts."
As she shared her work on social media, the demand began to grow. "I really enjoy following artistic projects like @designcrush's #365quotes2017, and @_paigemeredith_'s #myillustratedkitchen, and I wanted to challenge myself to create my own and hold myself accountable to it," she explains. "Each of the twenty six letters are stitched in a different typeface and the series will encompass a spectrum of color, each letter from A to Z."
"I love the tactile aspect of creating with my hands," she adds. She often finds herself stitching to pass the time with her husband, Wes, and their three children at the edge of a forest in the Ozark Mountains. Her monogram designs are inspired by her antiquing finds, typography, French postcards, and vintage sewing notions. (Even her wedding cake table was a giant wooden spool.) "What I'm passionate about has slowly evolved into this medium of frameable hand stitched monograms," she says. "Providing others with a lasting heirloom which honors their family with the knowledge that it will be a keepsake for the next generation, is truly a privilege." Here, Willard demonstrates how to embroider a monogram with personal flair.
- Monogram template
- Acid-free cold press watercolor paper, cut to 8 by 10 inches
- Foam mat
- Masking tape
- Paper piercing tool
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery floss
Download and print template of chosen letter onto paper. Using scissors, cut out template along the dashed line. (Tip: It is important to print at "actual size" in the settings.)
Align edges and place template over watercolor paper, lightly taping each side.
Using paper piercing tool, gently punch holes according to template. (Tip: Punch lightly. Only the end of the tip should puncture the paper, otherwise the holes will be too big and the paper may tear through while stitching.)
Remove template and tape, keeping pattern for reference while hand stitching.
Separate the embroidery floss in half, using three strands for stitching. Hand stitch entire template in a single color of embroidery floss, or get creative and choose different colors for the botanical sections. (Tip: Before threading the needle, run the length of the embroidery floss both ways between your thumb and index finger. One way will feel slightly smoother than the other. Always thread your needle so the embroidery floss is pulled the smooth direction while stitching through the paper—this drastically cuts down on knots.)