These are the 3 main types of fabrics usually used for cross-stitch:

Aida-Evenweave-Linen swatches - Faby Reilly Designs

Aida

It’s great for counting stitches. That’s why it’s an excellent fabric for beginners.

However, its thickness can make it very tricky to assemble stitched work into finished objects. It’s also quite coarse, which means that the stranded cotton used to stitch will fray quicker as it gets caught going through the fabric. Over time, you may feel the friction affect the joints & ligaments of your stitching arm.

Evenweave

It’s a great transitional fabric for those who want something finer than aida, but don’t quite feel up to linen just yet.

Unless otherwise stated, it’s worked over 2 threads of fabric. These threads are very regular in shape, so this fabric gives a very neat and tidy finish – all the stitches being exactly the same size, and the fabric looking totally uniform all over. It’s not at all coarse like aida, but it’s still quite thick. 

Linen

It’s perfect for the confident stitcher looking for a refined finished look for their projects.

Like evenweave, it’s usually worked over 2 threads of fabric. But it’s much finer than both aida and evenweave, has a slight shine to it, and it has tons of character. Being made from natural fibre, the threads are irregular, and that means it looks handmade, vintage, it has soul, it’s perfect for your hand-stitched masterpiece. It’s just beautiful to look at & to work with.

Linen is very much part of the finished design, rather than just a support for it.

Stitching fabric comes in various “counts”. It indicates the number of threads of fabric per inch, or blocks per inch (for aida).

AIDAEVENWEAVELINEN
(over 1 block)(over 2 threads of fabric)(over 2 threads of fabric)
14 ct= 28 ct= 28 ct
16 ct= 32 ct= 32 ct

Aida is stitched over 1 block of fabric, so the count gives you the number of stitches you’ll fit on 1 inch of fabric.

Evenweave and linen are stitched over 2 threads of fabric, so you need to divide the count by 2 to get the number of stitches per inch. That’s why 14ct aida will give you as many stitches per inch as 28ct evenweave or linen.

In other words, the higher the count, the finer the weave. And likewise, the lower the count, the bigger the stitches.