There are so many options for cross stitch fabric from embroidery linen to aida cloth. Sometimes it's hard for me to choose the right one!
I have learned that it's important to consider the fabric fiber, count, and color.
Cross stitch is always done on an evenweave fabric. Evenweave means that the fabric has equally woven warp and weft threads which come together as small squares.
Fibers have different properties:
There are 100% pure fiber fabrics and fabric blends available in various fabric counts. Different blends, weaves, and count have different names.
A general list of cross stitch fabric names according to fiber:
If you want to do cross stitch on a pair of jeans or some other clothing item, you'll need to use waste canvas over the fabric to keep the stitches straight.
Some people also use gingham since the design can serve as an evenweave guideline.
The count of your cross stitch fabric affects the size of the final piece and how the design details look.
Use the fabric count formula to calculate the completed pattern size, then add enough to have a large enough margin on each side for your intended project or 3 to 4 inches minimum on all four sides.
Choose a needle based on fabric count:
These are only floss suggestions. Patterns usually tell you how many strands to use for each stitch type.
White and off white are the most common colors for counted cross stitch fabric, but there are many more colors available. Dark colors such as navy or black can give stunning designs, but they're harder to work on since it's more difficult to see the tiny holes.
Remember that optical illusion about how background affects color appearance? Visit this optical illusion website to see examples of the effects of bordering and simultaneous contrast. If you decide to stitch on a different color of cross stitch fabric than the pattern calls for, think about how it will change the appearance of your thread colors.
Need to calculate how much fabric to use and how many strands of floss? Here's a handy Cross Stitch Calculator that will help you figure it out (opens in a new window).