What is Cross Stitch Fabric?

Anna B. Smith

Cross stitch fabric is a woven material that is used to create cross stitch projects. This type of cloth typically contains small, needle-sized holes within the weaving that allow for the easy passage of special thread. It is usually available in a variety of colors and styles, from Internet needle-craft sellers and in craft stores.

Cross stitch fabric contains small holes for the needle to pass through.
Cross stitch fabric contains small holes for the needle to pass through.

Cross stitch is a type of needlework that involves stitching embroidery floss in an X-pattern on a piece of cloth. Each X, or cross, of thread is generally less than a quarter-inch (0.635 cm) in size. Viewed together, these individual crosses, made in various colors or shades of thread, form an overall picture. Cross stitch may be used for framed pictures and embellishments on pillows, blankets, and towels.

Aida cloth can be used with any type of embroidery hoop.
Aida cloth can be used with any type of embroidery hoop.

The most common type of cross stitch fabric available is aida cloth. The open weave of this cloth allows for the easy passage of various types of embroidery thread, and is suitable for counted cross stitch. The crafter can easily count from one stitching area to the next using the holes in the fabric. The fabric is also naturally stiff and can withstand hours of push-and-pull sewing work with a cross stitch needle, without becoming warped.

Aida cloth may be used with any type embroidery hoop or loom. Two hoops are typically situated over the area to be stitched, and tightened together by means of a washer. Embroidery looms fasten the fabric to two rotating dowel rods, which may be tightened or turned to allow the crafter to work on various portions of the project. These looms may be found in sizes suitable for holding in the lap, or in larger models that rest on tall legs on the floor, much like a crafting table.

This kind of cloth is sold according to the number of holes provided per linear inch (2.54 cm) within the fabric. Common sizes of aida cloth range from 10 to 14 holes per inch. Fewer holes per inch indicates that the openings are larger in size and suitable for thicker thread types. Though most cross stitch is accomplished using thin embroidery threads, some projects may require the use of thicker yarn.

Cotton is another type of suitable cross stitch fabric. Cotton is generally used in pillows and blanket-making material, and may have the cross stitch pattern pre-printed onto it. This kind does not require counting. Use of an embroidery hoop is often essential when stitching onto cotton, as the fabric is soft and pliable and may pull easily.

Evenweave is the third most common type of cross stitch fabric. This material is created specifically for cross stitching projects by craft suppliers, frequently from linen. It is lightweight and usually made of an open weave similar to aida cloth, making it suitable for counted cross stitch as well.

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