Whether you're new to cross stitching, or have been stitching for sometime, choosing the right fabric to stitch onto can seem daunting. So here's a quick guide to the differences:
SIMPLE GUIDE TO CROSS STITCH FABRICS
Generally there are three main options to choose from: Aida, Evenweave and Linen.
Aida fabric is the most popular fabric for cross stitching, and chances are you've used this before. It's the fabric used in most starter kits as it's the easiest to see and stitch onto.
It's made from blocks of threads woven together evenly to create holes which create a clearly defined grid so it's much easier to keep track of where your needle needs to go. Personally I find it the sturdiest of the three fabrics, so you don't need to be precious with it at all.
When people talk of the count, they are referring to how many 'blocks' (which you stitch with a cross) the holes create per inch. A 14 count Aida just means that you will get 14 stitches each inch of fabric.
The higher the count, the smaller your design will look.
Here's an example of both 14 and 18 count with the same design:
Next up is Evenweave. This is a fabric which is made up from the same number of threads per inch woven in both directions (ie horizontally and vertically) and each strand/thread is the same thickness as the next. Hence the 'even' weave.
Generally, when stitching on Evenweave you don't stitch in 'blocks' as with the Aida. Instead you stitch over two threads, so you basically stitch every other hole. This can feel a little trickier to start with, but you soon get used to it.
Because of the 'miss a hole and stitch into the next one' approach, the count seems much higher then with Aida but don't worry too much.
A 28ct Evenweave, uses the same amount of stitches as a 14ct Aida as you only stitch half the holes, and the stitches should look the same size (see below).
If you're using a pattern that has a lot of stitches, or you want to make a fine and detailed design then you get the option of Evenweave could be for tyou
Because of the woven nature of Evenweave, I find it often a finer and softer as a fabric in the whole then Aida, so that can be something to think about when planning a projects end use.
Finally there's Linen. It's pretty similar to all that's been said about Evenweave, however, the threads that are woven together to make the fabric are are made up of different thicknesses.
This means the end 'grid' may not end up perfectly even, vertically or horizontally. This makes it the most trickiest to stitch, but gives it a great vintage and detailed look.
Most of my our kits come with either 14ct Aida or 28ct Evenweave. In the future, there are new designs coming out with the option of 18 count Aida.