A Quick Little Monogram

Every medical student in Canada gets a free backpack when they start their program, all in a single colour per year. They’re high quality bags, with thick padding and extra clips to help distribute the weight of your computer, the charger, your little notebook, your big notebook, your pocket-sized reference book, the smaller bag you carry around with you all day, your stethoscope, your lunch, your dinner, your water bottle, and your travel mug. Some people attach badges or pins to mark theirs as their own, but someone in my class embroidered her name on hers, and it got me thinking.

The bag in question.

I liked the idea of coming up with a modern-looking monogram. It would be nice to have something to embroider in some of my larger projects, à la JuebeJue.

My initials are symmetrical letters which I think is kind of cool, so I sketched out a quick doodle, cut off that square promotional patch on the front pocket, and (very apropos) used the diaphragm of my stethoscope to get a perfectly round circle.

The big side is called the diaphragm and the small side is called the bell.


I used black embroidery thread because I left the cream at my parents’ house when I was finishing my hot water bottle cover. It was really hard to pull six strands of thread through the fabric of the bag–I think that the diamond texture might be some kind of rip-stop, because it’s insanely durable!

I originally planed to put some extra stitches at each point where the letters touch for a kind of welded look, but it looked good enough as is and I didn’t want to mess with it.

I do think the middle point of the M should be lower, but overall, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It’s not as much of a distinguishing feature as I would have liked, though, because the black thread blends in with the general look of the bag.


After staring at it for a few days I realized that it reminds me vaguely of the Deathly Hallows symbol.


Both are shapes-within-shapes, with a circle, a central vertical line, and a bunch of acute angles. I was going to say, “Great minds think alike,” but like a lot of people who loved Harry Potter as children and then have watched it be heavily retcon-ed and squeezed for more and more profit as adults, I have heavy sighs and ambivalence about J.K. Rowling. Still though, I think the Deathly Hallows symbol looks good.

Well, that got a bit sad. Let’s end with a fun snapshot of my lecture notes from my most recent academic half-day. See if you can tell when in the lecture on pediatric heart murmurs I fell asleep:

Whoops. Good thing I downloaded the PowerPoint.

4 thoughts on “A Quick Little Monogram

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