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Coral-Inspired Embroidery Hoops

In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to find time to slow down and make time for the simple joy of making, so Clare Youngs has designed a range of beautiful projects to focus the mind and soothe the soul. Take your time and be mindful as you work each stitch. Tune in to your breathing and purposely slow your pace.


The Mindful Maker



Three pieces of fabric—I used a mix of thin cottons and silk


Stitch designs

Tracing paper

Masking tape

Sharp pencil

Six-stranded embroidery floss (thread)

Embroidery and sewing needles

3 embroidery hoops: 4 in. (10 cm), 4¾ in. (12 cm), and 7 in. (18 cm) in diameter



1. Cut out three pieces of fabric to the following sizes: 6¾ x 6¾ in. (17 x 17 cm), 7½ x 7½ in. (19 x 19 cm), 10 x 10 in. (25 x 25 cm).

2. Trace out the designs on pages 118–119 and transfer them onto the fabric pieces. The designs are drawn showing the edge of the hoop to help you get the positioning right. Position the template so that there is a 1¼ in. (3.5 cm) border of fabric all around. For lighter fabrics I use a lightbox, but taping the template to a window and placing the fabric over the top works well too. Use a sharp pencil to draw onto the fabric, so that the lines are fine enough to be covered by the stitching.

 The Mindful Maker

3. If you are using a dark fabric for the smaller designs, you may not be able to see through it to trace the design. In that case, cut out the main shape from your tracing paper and place it in position on the fabric. Draw around it with a fine black pen—when you come to the embroidery, the stitching will cover the lines. I tend to just draw a few guidelines by hand and then stitch each line following the previously stitched line. (You could also use transfer paper—see the Techniques section on page 8.)

 The Mindful Maker

4. Secure the fabric into its corresponding hoop and start stitching the design. The design on the smallest hoop is whipped backstitch using a single strand of embroidery floss (thread), as I wanted the stitching to be delicate. The other two designs both use two strands of embroidery floss. The medium-sized design on the orange fabric is made by stitching bullion knots close together and the larger design is created using straight stitch (see on pages 10–11 for more on stitches and how to do them).

 The Mindful Maker

5. When you have finished stitching the design, thread any loose ends at the back through the stitching and trim back the fabric border to about ¾ in. (2 cm) all round. With a needle and thread make a line of running stitch all around, about ¼ in. (5 mm) in from the edge. Pull the thread to gather up the fabric and pull it in tight. Finish off the thread with a knot to secure.

The Mindful Maker


This project is from The Mindful Maker by Clare Youngs. To get more fab blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox - be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.

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