Aida cloth is a woven fabric traditionally 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and linen traditionally used in counted cross stitch and in fact is frequently referred to as “The Cross Stitch Fabric”. The material is an even weave which leaves perfect squares for making your cross stitches. The spaces where the stitches need to be made are readily apparent as Aida cloth is loosely woven. Due to the loosely woven nature of the material you may want to finish the edges of the fabric before starting your project. This can be done by sealing the edge with a seam sealant or wrapping the cut edges with masking tape.
The size of the Aida cloth weave (fabric count) is measured by how many stitches can be made in 1″. The most common fabric counts in Aida cloth are 11, 14, 18 and 28. Obviously the higher the number, the smaller the stitches will be, because there are more stitches within an inch. Higher fabric counts careful counting, not to mention good lighting, and may not be the best choice for beginners.
Linen has the appearance of a basket weave which provides a more old fashioned look to the work. Sometimes it is blended with cotton or nylon fabric but always has a very crisp feel to it. Linen fabric comes in counts from 18 up to 40 with the middle of that range, 28 and 32, being the most common. Unlike Aida, linen is most commonly stitched over two threads so 28 and 32 thread counts actually result in 14 and 16 stitches per inch respectively.
Fiddler’s cloth is made from approximately 50% cotton along with a blend of polyester and silk. The material comes in 14 and 18 fabric counts and has a dappled, homespun, rustic look. In spite of the different look, it is similar as Aida cloth to work with.
This material is used to apply a cross stitch pattern on fabrics that are not cross stitch friendly, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts or any tightly woven fabrics. The waste canvas is securely applied to the area where the cross stitching is wanted and used as a guide for the stitching. Once the cross stitching is complete simply wet the canvas and then the canvas strands can be gently pulled out leaving just the design on your fabric.
Our favorite brands of fabric
Weeks Dye Works, R&R, Zweigert, Permin and Lakeside Linens