I remember being kind of confused when I started shopping around for cross stitch fabrics. I thought that any kind would do, and I had no idea that it came in different sizes! This article will go over the different types of fabric there are to choose from and what to look for when you are gathering supplies for your next project.
Characteristics of Fabric To Know
First, before we go over the 3 different types of cross stitch fabric, it’s important to understand a few important characteristics they all have. You may see some of these terms on the labels of the fabrics, and it’s important to understand what each one means.
Fabric is made up of warp and weft (lengthwise and crosswise) threads that are woven together. The way these threads are interlaced is what makes up the “weave” of the fabric.
For cross stitch fabrics, they are all evenly woven. This is very beneficial for cross stitch because the cross stitches you make will be the exact same width and height. Additionally, the holes in the fabric form a visible grid that you can follow to stitch a pattern.
These are the materials that make up the threads of the fabric. There are natural fibers (like cotton, linen, wool) and synthetic fibers (like polyester and rayon).
Most cross stitch fabrics are made up primarily of natural fibers, are relatively sturdy, and don’t have any stretch to them.
Even weave fabrics have the same number of vertical and horizontal threads throughout the fabric.
The thread count is determined by how many threads are woven together per square inch.
Cross stitch fabrics can come in counts anywhere from 11 and sometimes all the way up to 32.
Generally speaking, the higher the thread count is, the closer the weave and smaller the holes in the fabric will be.
How to Measure The Thread Count Of Fabric
Most fabrics will disclose the thread count, but if you don’t have the package for a particular piece of fabric, you can easily determine the thread count with a ruler. Measure one inch of the fabric (vertically or horizontally) and count how many holes are in it, and that’s your thread count!
Types of Cross Stitch Fabrics
There are three different types of fabrics that are commonly used for counted needlework such as cross stitch. They are Aida, evenweave, and linen.
Aida is a sturdy cotton fabric that has an even weave to it. It has larger visible holes in it, which makes it easy to use for beginners because it has an easy “grid” to follow. It’s super affordable and widely available in most craft stores.
The 14 count Aida cloth is a popular choice for cross stitchers to start with but some other common counts are 11, 16, 18, and 22ct.
One thing to keep in mind with Aida is it’s not as easy to make fractional stitches on. If you have a pattern that calls for them, it may be better to use linen or evenweave.
Made up of evenly woven threads that are the same width throughout the fabric, evenweave fabric contains natural and sometimes synthetic fibers in it.
It is a little bit less stiff than Aida fabric but slightly more stiff than linen. The holes are usually slightly smaller than the holes in lower count Aida fabric.
This fabric comes in a variety of thread counts including 25, 28, 30, and 32ct.
There are a few names they go by, so here they are with their corresponding thread counts:
- Lugana – 25 count
- Brittney- 28 count
- Murano – 32 count
Linen is an evenly woven fabric made of flax. It is the softest of the 3 fabrics and can sometimes contain slight inconsistencies in the weave of the fabric since it is 100% natural. This fabric is the highest quality, but it can be bit more pricey.
This fabric comes in higher thread counts, hence a closer weave so it is more suitable for more intricate or advanced cross stitch work.
Here are a few different types of linen with their corresponding thread counts:
- Linen Hardanger – 16ct
- Belfast Linen – 32ct
- Edinburgh Linen – 36ct
Determining The Fabric Count For Cross Stitch Patterns
Most cross stitch patterns will tell you what count of fabric to use for a particular design.
If you are using lower count Aida fabrics, you can choose the Aida fabric with the same thread count to stitch the design. This is because for lower count fabrics below 28ct, each cross stitch should be made across one hole (or one thread) of the fabric.
However, when you use cross stitch fabrics that are 28ct or higher, you will want to stitch across/over every 2nd hole in the fabric most of the time. Otherwise, your stitches will be tiny! This means that you should divide the thread count by 2 to find out what the thread count would be for a particular design. In this case, if you stitch over 2 holes per stitch, you will have 14 stitches per inch of fabric. This is important to calculate so you make sure you have the right amount of fabric for a particular design. (It’s a common mistake to not doing this!)
What Is The Best Fabric For Cross Stitch?
It really depends on the type of project you’re working on, your skill level, the types of stitches you are making, and your personal preference. Here are a few considerations to make when choosing a fabric.
- A more detailed project may call for a closer weave of fabric such as linen.
- If you are a beginner, it is easiest to learn on Aida fabric.
- Embroidery stitches that use fractional stitches are easier to make on evenweave and linen.
- Linen has irregularities in the weave of the fabric, so if you are looking for a fabric that is completely even throughout, go for Aida or evenweave.
Where To Buy Cross Stitch Fabric
Most craft stores carry Aida and even weave, and linen.
Another great place to check is on Etsy! Here are a few shops below that carry high quality fabrics.