Search here...

Monogram of the Month – A tribute to a friend

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

How do you cope with the end of life of a dear friend?  It’s never easy – especially when life seems to have been cut way too short.  Whether you’re an embroiderer, sewer, crafter or other form of artist you have an opportunity to use your skills to create something special to honor the deceased’s memory.  This month I decided to create a special monogram with a friend in mind.  She passed away at the young age of 30 from ovarian cancer.

I enjoy the challenge of learning new software—so I chose to work with Art and Stitch 3.0 software.  I was delighted with the built-in designs and features—plus the program is very intuitive.

Open the program, then select File / New.  In the dropdown menu I chose Embroidery for the type of design and chose PES format.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I clicked on the Monogram Tools button and discovered a library of monogram styles to choose from.  Keeping my friend in mind, I chose the Pioneer Monogram.  The ribbon and flowers reminded me of her.  I typed my friend’s initials in the letters box.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Although it’s Monogram of the Month—I didn’t want to stop with a monogram.  I want more text and the opportunity to use more features in the software.  Art and Stitch has a fun feature—adding text on a circle path.  I typed “Loving daughter” in the upper portion of the circle then added “and friend” in the lower portion of the circle.  While I could probably write pages of text, I figured those two phrases would cover most everything not only for her family but for people lucky enough to have known her.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I saved the design and sent it to the embroidery machine.

Depending on your work habits you could have chosen the thread colors in the software then saved the design.  I usually don’t know what colors I want to use until I have ALL the “crayons” in front of me.  Once in my sewing studio I selected thread colors that I thought would not only coordinate well but would celebrate Alana’s life.  This is also when the creative process really did turn into a process!

First I grabbed some blue fabric.  I liked the “almost” denim look and thought it would be perfect to stitch the monogram.  But when it came time to select thread colors I realized the challenge of making sure the embroidery popped against the now not-so-nice blue fabric.  The thread colors don’t merely need to be bright—they need to be attractive and coordinate.  Not to mention they need to be colors my friend would have liked.  That is a daunting task!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The blue sample above just didn’t work.  What was I thinking when I stitched teal ribbons next to the green leaves?  The colors don’t work well together.  On the bright side, I did like the red thread.

Undaunted, I tried again.  This time I switched to white fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Now, before you scoff at this sample, let me explain my logic at the time.  The leaves needed to be green.  The red worked in the previous sample—so surely they’d work for the ribbons.  But as I stitched I realized the sample was turning into Christmas with the red and green.  So I thought I’d balance things out with the stark black thread for the initials – then a dash of teal for the lettering.  I almost didn’t finish stitching this sample.  It wasn’t my best color selection!

After the first two samples I decided to regroup.  I focused on my friend’s favorite color:  emerald green.  I selected a pretty emerald green thread—and let it lead the way as I chose the rest of the colors.  The rose and golden yellow coordinated well.  I really wanted to incorporate teal—the color for ovarian cancer awareness.  So I chose a darker version of the color than I had been using.  Confidently, I stitched the sample and well, I think the results speak for themselves!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

There is a lesson in this blog.  Maybe a couple lessons if we look hard enough!

  1. Select one color and build around it.
  2. Be open to experimenting with different thread color combinations.  If you don’t get it right the first time, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it on the next attempt!
  3. Every stitch-out is an opportunity to learn!

Now that it’s stitched it’s ready to be framed and given to Alana’s family.


Here’s your assignment this week:What thread color combinations would you have chosen for the monogram?  One random comment will win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:
I’m sure you’ve come across the empty bobbin message. What do you do to avoid this? Wind several bobbins? Purchase pre-wound? Throw away almost empty bobbins? Or just bear with it? A random comment will be selected to win a pack of Print & Stick Target Paper!The winner is: Karen M.  – “Empty bobbins are not fun! I try to always keep at least 6 bobbins ready to go simply because I dread the task!”  








  • Belinda Germain

    I like the blue stitch out except I would like to see Navy blue bows.

    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Belinda,
      Yes, I like that suggestion. A darker blue would have certainly worked.


    • Jan

      I would have made the leaves a softer color green. They stand out too much. I would have made the text teal as she was her favorite color. Otherwise the design is very special.

  • Linda Stewart

    Being a survivor of ovarian cancer, I would have made the ribbons teal and built from there. I like your choice of colors, I would just prefer the teal ribbon which stands for ovarian cancer. Sitll lovely work and very thoughtful of you.

  • Cheryl Boatner

    Love love it!! It’s perfect!

    • Denise Holguin

      It makes me happy that you do! Thank you, Cheryl!


  • Karen

    I would have out the lettering in something more bold…perhaps orange…. And then yellows and lighter greens to compliment and give an overall softer appearance.

  • Helen Gilbert

    Since this was a tribute to your friend I think it is great that all the colors were built around her favorite “Emerald Green”.

  • Carolyn Ford

    I love that Emerald Green was her favorite color. I like the gold letters because they make the design “pop”. I might have tried the bows in pink or lavender. Lovely design. So much to learn!

  • Virginia Frazier

    I would probably chosen lavenders and purples since it was a tribute to a dear sister and friend.

  • Kathy

    I would build around gold as a dear friend is very precious to me

  • Erin Jenkins

    I love it!!! 🙂 You’re so talented!

    • Denise Holguin

      Thank you, Erin! I appreciate you stopping by the blog.


  • lynn zukowski

    When I do any type of embroidery, including monograms- I always take into consideration what other colours are in my project and in the fabrics I am using. I also choose my fonts and my patterns only after I have chosen my fabrics- is there a theme, what colour pallet is in the fabric? Only then will I choose the colours for my font and patterns.

  • Kaaren Reed

    I love browns and turquoise. But yours are lovely. Prayers to you and your friends family for this great loss.

  • Paula Hendrickson

    I especially liked the gold and green

  • Kathy Kaminski

    I would have like the letters in a flame red color

  • Diane Cockman

    Letters would be deep purple, medium purple for ribbons, light green for leaves and teal for wording.

  • Shirley Clark

    I really never know for sure until I put the letters side by side, but I think I’d like shiny gold for the leaves, teal bows, and emerald green for the letters and wording.

  • Sharon R

    I like your final selection , and I think her family will be grateful for your loving memory. I would like to see the last set of colors on the blue denim.

  • Lynn Searles

    I agree with Linda Steward. I would make the bows teal and maybe others would be more likely to get the significance. The teal, rose and emerald green are jewel tones, but the golden yellow (at least on my screen) seems a little pale, in comparison. I would try a golden yellow with more orange for the initials and use the rose for the words. I would probably also do a sample with the initials in rose and the words in the more orange golden yellow – maybe even try using gold metallic in place of the yellow or to outline the yellow when used for the initials. You do fantastic work. Thank you for sharing. Y’all are in my prayers.

    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Lynn,
      Very good suggestions! Thank you!


  • Karen Poole

    I agree with the ovarian cancer survivor, make the ribbon teal then build the colors around that, I like red monogram letters, the leaves can be changed to coordinate with th teal ribbon! And who says they have to stat green? The leaves could be gold! That would be quite exigency!

  • Jean

    The gold is my favorite.

  • Dottie

    I would try the “leaves” and bows in teal. It would look like a scroll. Then her initials in her favorite color-emerald. The other lettering could be gold or even teal–depending on how much you wanted it to stand out.

    • Denise Holguin

      That’s a great idea about making the leaves look like a scroll. I wish I had thought of it while I was stitching!


  • Bernadette

    I loved your color combination. The Emerald Green was her favorite, and the rest came together and spoke so well about your feelings for her, regardless of the ‘correct’ color to work around. My thoughts are with you and your loved ones at this difficult time.

  • Carol Best

    I was tickled to see you using Art & Stitch! I am a certified teacher of this wonderfully robust digiting Longarm quilting and embroidery software!
    Sorry for your loss,? Having lost two sisters before their 50th birthdays I understand the need to create something in their memory.
    Choosing colors that meant something to them is a perfect way to approach this! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Carol,
      Thank you for posting! We will be featuring a complete step-by-step project using Art and Stitch in an upcoming issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery. I saw a preview of the project and it’s turning out great. It’s amazing all the wonderful things that can be created with software and an embroidery machine!


  • Mary Royster

    I think the gold is appropriate, but I really like bling so I probably would have done it in metallic.

    Nice tribute!

  • Darlene Bares

    Being a big supporter for the American Cancer Society for 15 years, and losing family members and friends to this awful disease, I am actually in the process of creating a memory wall hanging in memory of my Mom. Using the teal which is the color for ovarian cancer, I would have definitely used (also her favorite color) then building around it. Love the mix of colors.

  • Bonnie Gray

    Every embroidery you do for a special person should take into consideration their favorites. That is what you did and that makes it meaningful for the people receiving it. Great job.

  • Pam

    I love the emerald green and rose!

  • Beth R

    I think your monogram is beautiful – and there are no right or wrong colors; it all depends on the favorite colors of you and the recipient. For me, I would do the ribbons in teal, monogram letters in deep gray, leaves in lighter green, and text in dark violet.

    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Beth,
      That’s a great color combination! I wouldn’t have thought of the deep gray.


  • Carolyn

    I think your color choice was spot-on, especially using your friend’s favorite color your base. I agree it’s important to choose one color as a base and work outwards from there. I lost all four maternal aunts to ovarian cancer. My mom was a breast cancer survivor. I donate a percentage of my cancer-themed products to each cancer support and research groups.

  • Pat

    Using your friend’s favorite color is a wonderful choice. I think, because Spring is coming I would have liked to go towards pastels. I think your final color selections was great and appreciate the lessons you cited in your blog. Enjoy the blog. Keep it up!

  • Sara Redner

    I thought her initials should have been in her favorite color, emerald green. Teal bows and words. Leaves don’t have to be green but maybe a lighter green would look good with the teal bows.

  • allen king

    Your tribute came from a loving heart so there can be no wrong way to make it. Doing it three times is a testament to your friendship and I’m sure it will be appreciated by friends and family well into the future. I personally tend to do most of my embroidery on black fabrics and think your final color choice would work on black with maybe a lighter green for the leaves. So sorry for the loss of your friend.

  • Saundra Romanus

    I love it (the last one) Isn’t funny how changing the colors can make it look like a completely new design

  • Jacqueline Curtis

    When I do monograms, I try to take in the value of the material that I am sewing on and of course what the person that I am sewing for wants. Everyone wants something different. Many go for a special font and what it looks like or a particular letter. All in all I just love embroidery with the machine.

  • Bruce

    I am so touched, creating memory using creativity is just awesome. Great post!