Cross Stitch Fabric

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Shop for: Aida 14, 16, 18 ct; Belfast 32ct; Cashel 28ct; Jobelan 28 & 32ct; Linen 18, 28, 32 ct; Lugana
There are many different types of Cross Stitch Fabric. The most common are probably Aida, Jobelan, Lugana, and the various linens. You can learn more about many of these on our Glossary page, but we'll go over them very quickly here.

Aida is likely the easiest fabric to stitch on if you are a beginner, or if you have any trouble with your eyes, because the holes are often easier to see. We carry Aida fabric in 14 count, 16 count, and 18 count. The count refers to the number of holes per inch, for example 14 count has 14 holes per inch. This also means that for every inch, you will have 14 stitches.

Linens are the traditional cross stitch fabric, and there are several different types of linens. Most are 28 or 32 count, although there are also other counts available such as 25 or 36. Notice that this means the linen has roughly twice as many holes per inch as the Aida. This does not mean, however, that there are twice as many stitches per inch. In fact, when stitching on linen, you will usually skip one hole when making your stitch, so that stitching on 28ct linen gives you 14 stitches per inch, just like stitching on 14ct Aida.

One advantage linen has over aida is the extra holes. Because you skip a hole when stitching, should you have to do a quarter stitch, there is an actual hole available to use - no jamming the needle down through the center of an aida square. Designs that have many quarter or three-quarter stitches are probably more suited to linen than Aida. Some designs intended for linen may call for some "over 1" stitching - very small cross stitches that would then work out to 28 or 32 stitches per inch, to give extra fine detail to faces, etc. Because linen has the extra holes, this is not too hard - but it would be a nightmare to attempt on Aida. It can be done, and people have done it, but not easily! Also, because linen is an "even weave," the background usually appears a little smoother and more natural when working on linen.

Regular linen evenweaves are a wonderful fabric, but they are not as soft as Aida on your hands, since Aida is generally made of cotton, where linen is made of flax. This is where Belfast and Cashel linens come in. They are still a true linen, but slightly less coarse, and as a result, feel more pleasant to your hands - and as a result, usually just slightly more expensive.

Jobelan is a bit of a linen-Aida hybrid. It is an evenweave, but is usually made from about half cotton - making it an excellent, relatively inexpensive option if you love working on linen, but have trouble stomaching the prices!