What is it
and how to select the right count for your next cross stitch project
When you start your cross stitch project, Aida fabric is king
Did you know that if you choose the right fabric for cross-stitch, it will do some of the work for you? For beginners, try choosing an evenweave fabric like 100% cotton Aida. Its precise, square-patterned weave with visible stitching holes makes this fabric easy to use and allows the needle to glide easily through the holes.
BREAKING DOWN AIDA FABRIC
When a project calls for Aida fabric, it usually lists a count, which indicates how many squares per inch of fabric. Each square represents a cross stitch and corresponds to one square on a design chart grid. Aida fabric is a popular choice for cross stitch, as it’s easy to use and allows for perfectly-spaced, foolproof stitching. DMC Charles Craft Aida is available in a variety of counts including 11, 14, 16, and 18. The smaller the fabric count, the larger the squares: for example, 11-count Aida fabric will have 11 squares per inch. Larger squares are easier to count and stitch for beginners. Available in a variety of colors and types, DMC Charles Craft Aida fabrics have a wonderful finish and is heavy enough to stitch without needing a hoop. If you are a beginner, we do recommend using a hoop because it will stretch your fabric nice and taut.
Fiddler’s Cloth is a type of Aida with a rustic appearance, and is perfect for stitching reproduction samplers and needlework. It is available in 14, 16, and 18 counts.
AIDA IS A TYPE OF EVENWEAVE FABRIC
People often learn counted cross stitch on Aida and later stitch on linen or other evenweave fabrics as they become more experienced. “Evenweave” means that the fabric has an even number of weft and warp threads per inch. Warp threads run the length of the fabric, while the weft threads run side-to-side (selvage to selvage). This determines the thread count. For example, 22-count linen has 22 vertical warp threads and 22 horizontal weft threads per inch of fabric. The higher the count, the finer and tighter the weave will be. Aida fabric is worked with one X over one square; linen and other evenweave fabrics are generally worked over two threads. The common instruction is simply “over two threads.” Stitching over two threads on 28 count linen produces the same size design as one stitched on 14-count Aida.
Evenweave fabrics for embroidery can be made of linen, cotton or blends. Linen evenweave fabrics are available in a wide range of thread counts. For example, Carolina Linen is available in 14-count and 28-count. In addition to linen, cotton and blended evenweave fabrics are available as well and include 28-count Monaco.
TAPESTRY NEEDLES WITH AIDA FABRIC COUNTS
Below is a helpful guide when selecting the proper needle for your cross stitch project with Aida fabric. For more information about selecting the proper needle for your project, please view our DMC Needle Guide Blog Post.
- Needle Size 18 - 6 Count Aida Fabric
- Needle Size 20 - 8 Count Aida Fabric
- Needle Size 22 - 11 Count Aida Fabric
- Needle Size 24 - 14 Count Aida Fabric
- Needle Size 26 - 16 Count Aida Fabric
- Needle Size 28 - 18 Count Aida Fabric
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR FABRIC FOR YOUR PROJECT
Fractional stitches (quarter stitches and three quarter stitches) can be hard to make on Aida fabric because the needle must go through the middle of the square, which doesn’t have a hole. Stitchers sometimes prefer to use another evenweave fabric, such as linen, because the needle simply goes between the two threads.
Most evenweave fabrics are soft and not as stiff as Aida. The difference in stiffness isn't usually a factor if the fabric is worked in a hoop or on scroll bars. Stiffer fabrics like Aida can be worked without a hoop with no distortion while stitching.
You want to also consider the texture and color of the cloth for the background of the design you are stitching.
Monk’s Cloth is similar to Aida, as the count is based on blocks of threads, but is a larger-scale 8-count weave that is perfect for afghans and Swedish Weaving. The ends can be easily fringed.
Hardanger is a 22-count fabric used for traditional openwork and Hardanger-style embroidery. Thread count for this cotton evenweave fabric is based on 22 pairs of threads per inch running in both directions.
Vinyl Aida is available in 13-count, but is made from vinyl rather than cotton. It can be cut, shaped and folded, and no edge-finishing is required because it doesn’t unravel. It’s perfect for placemats and outdoor projects, as well as tree toppers, gift tags and ornaments.
Soluble and Waste Canvas is perfect to stitch onto any surface. With soluble canvas, simply tack the fabric down, stitch your pattern and emerge the piece in soapy warm water and the canvas rinses right off. If you don't want to wet your item, than with waste canvas you can remove the threads of the canvas leaving the stitching perfectly intact.
For the perfect beginner fabric, try our Magic Guide Aida fabric. Our Magic Guide is an innovative fabric that takes the guesswork out of stitching. This fabric has perfectly even red grid lines so you can easily follow patterns & designs. The Red grid lines wash away easily with just water.
We hope it was helpful and maybe even inspired you to get started on that dream project you’ve been imagining.