Embroidery Journaling: Setting up your Hoop

Something that I get questions about quite often is how do I segment my embroidery journal. If you take a quick glimpse at my journal, you may not notice that there is a dividing point between where one month ends and another starts. Looking at the comparison below, you can get a better idea of how my journal is actually divided. Once you understand how an embroidery journal is segmented, it makes maintaining one a lot simpler.

For those that are just now discovering what an embroidery journal is for the first time, let me break it down for you. Once a day, I add an icon to my embroidery journal. This icon will be in some shape or form related to my day. It may be something I did, how I was feeling, somewhere I went, or even something I ate that day. Basically, it can be anything I want it to be as long as it relates to my day.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create your own embroidery journal, then check out my previous posts on the topic. Also available is an in-depth Embroidery Journal Guide.


Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Segmenting your journal month by month. Dividing my journal like a pie chart is how I’ve set up my embroidery journal over the past two years. While there are other ways you can go about it, this is my favourite way I’ve found.

Supplies List:

  • Embroidery hoops – I prefer a 12 inch hoop, but you can also use a smaller sized hoop. You’ll also need a smaller hoop for a portion of this guide – a 5 inch hoop should do.
  • Square of fabric – I use 100% cotton, but the measurements completely depends on the size of your hoop. I would suggest having your fabric square being at least 4 inches larger than your hoop. If your hoop is a 12 inch hoop, I would suggest your fabric square being at least 16″x16″ large. This will give you 2 inches leeway on either side of your hoop.
  • Template – printed out or displayed on a tablet or laptop screen. Here are some template options. I’ll be using my laptop for the below method.
  • A water soluble marker
  • Transparent ruler
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle

Step 1

Start by taking your piece of fabric and folding it into quarters. Unfold your fabric and locate the center point. Mark it with your water soluble pen. This will become the center of your journal.

Step 2

Unfold your piece of fabric and put it within a smaller hoop, I’m using a 5 inch hoop. Then put the upside down hoop over your printed out 12 piece pie chart template or tablet/laptop screen. I will be demonstrating the laptop method.

For my demonstration, I have put my fabric in a taut 5 inch hoop. Then I have placed it on top of the screen of my laptop on full brightness.

Using your water soluble pen, trace an inch to two inches across the center of the pie chart on your fabric.

Step 3

Place your fabric in your 12 inch hoop. Make your fabric as taut as you possibly can. Lay your ruler on top of your fabric, lining it up with the lines you drew in the previous step.

Using your water soluble pen, extend your lines from one edge of the hoop to the other.

Each of these 12 segments will represent one month of your year.

Step 4

Write out 2022 in the center of your hoop. I usually freehand this.

Once you’re ready, you can embroider over your handwriting.

These are the steps that I find necessary to set up an embroidery journal. However, I do have a couple of extra things that I do to my journal. There are my no means necessary, but they are helpful over the course of the year.

Optional Step 5

Position your fabric within your embroidery hoop until you are happy with how taut it is. Finding the edges of each line, create a small stitch or french knot along the edges of your hoop where each month should end.

Optional Step 6

There are loads of ways to protect the edges of your fabric over the course of the year. Personally, I like to stitch the edges of my journal using a blanket stitch. I find that this helps protect your piece of fabric from fraying, which can become an absolute nuisance down the line.

That’s it! With these few steps, you’ll have your embroidery journal set up and ready to go for 2022! You can of course organize your journal in whatever way you prefer for yourself, but this is how I’ve set mine up over the past two years and it’s worked quite well.


If you found this post interesting, then don’t forget to check out the rest of my series on how to create your own embroidery journal. You can also find an all in one in-depth embroidery journal guide on Etsy. I also frequently share tips & tricks on my Instagram and TikTok on how to maintain your own embroidery journal. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a sneak peek of any current pieces that I’m working on!

7 thoughts on “Embroidery Journaling: Setting up your Hoop

  1. How many strands of floss do you use and what type of needle? Thanks for sharing and inspiring so many!

      1. Thanks Sophie!!! Also, do you iron on interfacing to the back prior to beginning to stitch? I am so excited to get started, just want to be certain I am all set before I begin!!! : )

      2. I actually don’t use an interfacing. I just use one sheet of 100% cotton fabric. This is what works for me, but do whatever you’ll be most comfortable with.

  2. Hey Sophie! How thick is your strand when you’re embroidering? Do you do a single strand folded in half? TIA!

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