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Aida-Evenweave-Linen swatches - Faby Reilly Designs

AIDA – it’s a great fabric for beginners, as the squares are very easy to spot, and it’s pretty hard to miss the holes and poke the needle in the wrong place, with this fabric. It’s also great for full coverage patterns. It’s usually a stiff fabric, so it’s also quite useful to use for small patterns, if you prefer to handle your fabric rather than use a stitching frame or a hoop. It’s a really practical starter fabric.

EVENWEAVE – I always recommend evenweave as the next step up from aida. It’s got a smooth look, and you normally work it over 2 strands of fabric (as opposed to 1 square of aida), which makes it much easier to stitch fractional stitches and special stitches. Those more advanced stitches often require you to push the needle through the fabric someplace other than the 4 corners of a plain cross-stitch, so working with separate strands of fabric makes your life much easier! It’s often cheaper than linen too, so that’s good news when you’re trying your hand at a new type of fabric.

LINEN – it’s the guilty pleasure of advanced stitchers. Once you’re confident with the separate strands of fabric concept, then try linen. You will love it. It’s got a slight shine, which evenweave doesn’t have, it doesn’t stretch like evenweave, and it’s got that vintage feel that’s sooooo classy. It looks like real fabric, rather than a coarse weave. It’s like writing on quality paper, as opposed to lined paper. You just don’t get the same pleasure out of lined paper, do you now. So unless you’re working on a full coverage piece (in which case it’d be a waste of money!), treat yourself to some linen. You’ll LOVE the look of your finished work!

Fabric come in various counts. That’s the number of threads of fabric per inch (or stitches per inch, in the case of aida).

So 28 count fabric will have 28 strands of fabric per inch and will allow you to stitch 14 stitches per inch if you cross-stitch over 2 strands of fabric. It make sense, doesn’t it.

If a pattern calls for a certain type of fabric but you’d like to use a different type, you need to get how these fabrics work so that you choose an appropriate alternative. Also bear in mind that the lower the count, the bigger the stitched area (as you get less stitches per inch) and the bigger the stitches will be too.

Here’s a quick table to show different options for the 2 most widely used fabric counts:

(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