Creating the floral fill acorn sample hoop for the October 2022 Hopebroidery Box

Each month, I send subscribers to the Hopebroidery Box a pattern and full-length, step-by-step video tutorial for that month's project. Subscribers to the physical box also receive all the supplies you'll need for your project, including full skeins of Sublime Stitching embroidery floss, a large cut of that month's fabric, embroidery scissors from Kelmscott Designs curated specifically for that month's project, and more. You can take a look at past boxes by visiting the kits and digital patterns sections of my shop (I keep the sold out physical kits viewable in the shop just in case you want to see what sorts of supplies and designs have come in past boxes, even if they're no longer available).

For the past year or so, I've been writing about how I design each month's project in hopes that it might be helpful to see the different ways I go about designing these sample hoops. Specifically, I hope it's helpful to you (if you're a newer designer looking for examples of how this process might work), and also find that it's been helpful to me (taking the time to process how each project comes to life is informative to my future work!).


Photo of embroidery project with acorn in shades of brown surrounded by pink, brown, and green vines.
The final sample for the October 2022 box!

In this post, I share the process of creating the floral fill acorn hoop for the October 2022 box, a project featuring an acorn in shades of brown surrounded by florals and vines in shades of pink, brown, and green. If you know you're interested in stitching this project with me in October, feel free to skip to the end of this post, where you'll find information on when and how to sign up!


Designing the floral fill acorn project and pattern


Although I don’t typically release seasonal boxes, I’ve found myself in a pattern of releasing fall-themed boxes each October, with pumpkin projects in 2018 and 2019, an acorn-themed project in 2020, and my first mushroom-themed box featuring smaller acorns in 2021.


Embroidery hoop with red and white mushrooms on mustard fabric.
Last year's box project featured two smaller acorns!

This year, I wanted to create an acorn-centric design while also incorporating a favorite new-to-me technique in hand embroidery: the floral fill! I used this fun and simple technique for the mountain landscape box project, released earlier this year as a kit and digital pattern!


Hoop with white clouds, blue rolling mountains, green hills, and a pink meadow on green fabric.
This technique looks complicated - but it's really so simple and fun!

I started by sketching out an acorn-themed design int he Procreate app for my iPad; you can see a short time lapse of that process in the video below.



(If you're interested in how I use the Procreate app to turn my finished embroidery designs into patterns, check out this YouTube tutorial I published in 2020!)


Although this is the design I started with, it wouldn't turn out to be the final design at all -- starting over a few times is often a part of the process, which is totally normal (if not a bit annoying when you're on a deadline!).


Working through the first few iterations of the acorn project


I started by taking my original pattern idea and working through which colors I might use for the project itself, including this Kona cotton fabric in the color "roasted pecan," and a handful of colors from my supply of Sublime Stitching embroidery floss.


Black and white drawing of an acorn on a sheet of paper next to a cut of brown fabric and floss in pinks, yellows, green, and white.
I would end up changing up this palette quite a bit by the end!

Each box project includes a transfer method that works well with that month's design and fabric, and I thought white water-erasable pens would be a good fit for this relatively simple design stitched onto a darker color of fabric. As I transferred the design, however, I realized I wasn't too sure about the planned surrounding foliage and accents from my original pattern; and as I began to stitch, I realized I wasn't so sure about the shape of that acorn, either!


White drawing of an acorn on brown fabric within a hoop, partially stitched in using shades of yellow and brown.
I loved this floral fill, but hated the shape of my acorn -- and wasn't too sure about those colors, either!

I did a quick update of my original sketch, creating a slightly different acorn shape, and a different plan for any surrounding flowers or vines.


Black and white drawing of an acorn with pink roses and green and brown vines surrounding it at the bottom.
I took some time to draw out something that felt like a better fit than my original design.

Next, I started stitching my updated pattern, using the same colors as my first attempt (which you can see a peek of in the background of the photo below).


Hope's started to fill in her new acorn project with the same colors used in her first.
Getting started on my second attempt!

I finished this iteration and even tried to take a few celebratory photos -- but realized, through the camera itself, that this project just hadn't worked out for me, either. In the photo below, you can see a corner of my pattern notebook where I've written "NO :(" to indicate that unfortunately, I would be starting over at least one more time before I got this project just right.


Close up of the corner of a pattern notebook with the word "NO" written in blue, next to a hand drawn frown.
You'll find loads of pages in my pattern notebook marked "no"; starting over is often a part of the process itself!

Honestly, had this project not been for the box -- I might have quit at this point! I felt so frustrated and annoyed with myself! And if you know me, you know I am solidly on team "put that project away if it's starting to get on your nerves." But the process of developing samples for the box gives me an excuse to put in time toward getting something onto the hoop that does work for me -- even if it takes me a few tries to get there!


Working on the eventual actual sample for this month's project


Although I loved the initial color choices I had picked for this month's project, several failed attempts convinced me to go with something different. And so, I re-transferred my design to a fresh hoop and chose a mostly new palette to work with, incorporating just one or two of the colors from that initial handful I had picked to work from.


Acorn with flowers and vines drawn in white onto brown fabric; hoop is surrounded by floss in shades of brown, pink, green, and yellow.
Time to work on a fresh sample -- with new colors, too!

Once again, I started with that floral fill at the top of the acorn, this time using new shades of brown -- and I absolutely loved the result! This was already starting to look more like what I had in my head at the start of the project, and I felt myself getting excited for the project again!


Top of acorn has been stitched in shades of brown using a floral fill technique. Scattered supplies in background on white desk.
Now this is exactly what I was trying to do from the start!

At this point I had stitched this acorn at least three times, which meant I was able to stitch up the focal point of this design stitched up fairly quickly. Next, I moved onto the surrounding foliage, adding in green from that original palette, this new shade of brown, and pink. I think red would make for a lovely alternative color choice here, too!


The hoop now has a full acorn stitched in shades of brown, leaves in green with brown stems, and the start of a pink flower.
I'm so happy I allowed myself the option of changing up my color choices!

I was so much happier with where this project was going, but kept taking photos and sharing process pics with friends -- just to be sure I was on the right track!


Florals have been added to the hoop with pink roses and petals, green leaves, and small embellishments.
So close to the finish line!

I was so pleased with the final result! It looked great at several different angles, too!


Final project, with additional embellishments stitched and fabric tucked behind the hoop, held at an angle.
The final sample project -- worth the wait, I think!

This and last month's samples took me a bit longer to finish, but were both worth it in the end. As I mentioned in last month's post, I'm glad I didn't rush myself through the process; I am so pleased with the final result!


It's not all about designing and stitching, though!


As I'm working through the sample project, I'm also doing other things for the box, including choosing and ordering that month's scissors (you'll find scissors from past boxes available for purchase on their own in my shop); purchasing, cutting, and folding that month's fabric; bundling full skeins of Sublime Stitching embroidery floss; and loads of other steps that eventually come together into neatly packaged embroidery kits.


The process of putting together your box projects, kits, and patterns each month works a bit like a puzzle for me, and I absolutely love it! That said, the best part is creating something that you might want to recreate with me; I absolutely love seeing what subscribers make each month, either on social media or sent to me directly via email -- it's such a treat!


Interested in stitching this floral fill acorn project with me?


Subscriptions for the October 2022 Hopebroidery Box will be open throughout the month of September, and subscribers' boxes are set to be shipped (and patterns sent to your emails) the first week of October. I know subscriptions can be super confusing at times, so please feel free to reach out to me directly via email should you have any questions whatsoever before subscribing!


Thank you for being here, and happy stitching!


Thank you so much for being here! I truly appreciate you, whether you're here to shop or simply here to learn! If you're interested in embroidery kits, but aren't sure mine are the right fit for you, check out my post all about how to choose an embroidery kit -- I want to help you find the right fit for you, even if it's not with me!


Happy stitching, happy early fall, and I'll see you next month for another box design process post!