Cross Stitcher




Aida is the ideal choice for cross stitch beginners – it is a block-weave fabric, which is divided into squares with a grid of holes. Each cross stitch is worked over one square. Aida comes in a range of sizes which are called counts. So 14 count means that there are 14 squares to the inch and this will make 14 cross stitches. Aida also comes in 16, 18 and 20 count. The larger the number, the more stitches to the inch and so the smaller the design will stitch up.

Evenweave is a woven grid of threads in a finer count. Each stitch is usually worked over two threads, so a 28 count evenweave with each stitch worked over two threads will mean your stitching will be the same size as if you stitched on 14 count aida. Fractional stitches are easier to work on evenweave, as there is a central hole so there is no need to split the block as with aida.

Once you are confident try using linen, which is produced in some even finer counts like 32, 36, 40 and even 56 count.


For cross stitch you will need a tapestry needle that has a blunt tip and a large eye. Use size 24 for 14 count or 28 count evenweave, and a 26 for 16 count aida or 32 count evenweave. Use a sharp embroidery needle for finer details such as backstitch­ing and French knots. A thin beading needle is also very useful.


Embroidery thread is also called stranded cotton, or floss in the USA. Each thread length is made up of six strands of cotton twisted together. The chart key tells you how many strands you’ll need to stitch with. Stranded cotton comes in skeins of 8m, and in three main brands – DMC, Anchor and Madeira – all are divisible and colourfast to 95 degrees.


Embroidery scissors with small sharp points are important for cutting stranded cotton and unpicking. Use these scissors just for cross stitch, and do not use them to cut fabric. A separate, larger pair should be used to cut aida and evenweave. Protect the tips from getting damaged between uses, and do not use for paper.


Though not absolutely essential, we do recommend using an embroidery hoop or frame to keep an even stitching tension when you are working on a large project that is heavily stitched. For cards or small projects it may be easier to hand hold the fabric.

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