|A to Z|
Welcome to our A to Z of cross stitch - have we missed anything out? If you are looking for something we do not have, or have a suggestion for an item to add, please email us here and we will update our page for you.
Acid Free Mounting Board
See: - mounting boardAida
Aida is a fabric particularly suited to cross stitch as the weave provides regularly spaced holes for each stitch. Aida fabric is available in many different counts. The count
of the fabric is the number of blocks (or stitches) to the inch, so the higher the count, the finer (and smaller) the finished design. The most popular count
is 14/28, but 16/32 and 18/36 are often used as well.Aida Band
Aida Band is a strip of Aida
fabric which has been neatly finished at the sides with a decorative trim. Aida Band is commonly used for book marks, towel edging and cushion trims. It is also ideal for making a band to go around a Christmas or Birthday cake. We use Aida Band in our lavender bag kits.Backstitch
Backstitch is normally added after all the cross stitch
has been completed and is generally done in a single strand rather than the usual 2 for cross stitch. We include instructions with every kit and pattern we supply, these include a full explanation of how to backstitch.Batting
An alternative name for WaddingBinca
Binca is a fabric similar to Aida
but is has a much lower stitch count
which makes it ideal for beginners, children and those with limited eyesight. Binca is usually available in 6 count
Beads can be added to cross stitch designs to add interest. Small glass beads are ideal for eyes or the center of flowers etc.
The count of a fabric is the number of holes per inch, this sets the size of the stitches and the size of the finished design. The higher the count the more stitches per inch and therefore the smaller (but finer) the finished work will be. Most people find 14 count to be a happy medium between the difficulty of stitching and the look of the completed design.Counted Cross Stitch
Counted Cross stitch is a particular type of cross stitch where the design is stitched from a paper pattern and the xs are literally counted and then sewn according to the pattern. The alternative is where a design is printed on to the fabric and the stitcher sews xs in the appropriate colour.Cross Stitch
Cross stitch is a specialised form of embroidery where the design is made up of stitches that look like little xs. It has been popular for hundreds of years and there are examples of samplers dating back to the 1500s still in existence.
Back To TopD Daylight Bulb
Normal tungsten bulbs produce a yellow coloured light which distorts colours and tires the eyes. Daylight bulbs have a special coating which makes the light more like natural daylight and it makes stitching more pleasant and less draining.
Daylight bulbs are available in many different sized fittings from hardware shops and can be used in normal lamps.
Method (of starting a new thread)
When you start a thread which requires 2 strands you can use this easy start method
1. Fold a single strand in half then thread the needle with the free ends.
2. Put the needle into the fabric from the back to start the first stitch and then pull through so that a few inches hang out of the back (which form a loop).
3. Put the needle back through the fabric to form the first stitch but before pulling it tight, pass the needle through the loop at the back of the work.
4. Gently pull the thread tight and you are ready to go.Evenweave
Evenweave is a fabric popular for cross stitch. It is a loosely woven fabric with a hole
between each single thread. Normally it is stitched over two threads, so great care is required to get the stitches to line up correctly. The other major type of fabric used in cross stitching is AidaEmbroidery Hoop
This is a pair of hoops (either plastic or wood) which fit together and can be used to stretch any embroidery, including cross stitch, while you sew. Stretching is a good idea as it keeps your work flat and even, and also makes it easier to stitch. Always remove your hoop when you are not stitching as it can leave marks on the fabric.
Back To TopF Floss
This is the American term for stranded cotton.Fractional Stitches
Where a 'square' on the chart only contains a symbol in one half of it (the square will be halved diagonally) the stitch required is called a fractional stitct. Sew a quarter stitch in the required colour by bringing your needle through at the correct corner and then going back through in the centre of the square. You can then add a backstitch along the diagonal line that halves the sqare.
If a square on the chart is half one colour and half another, sew each quarter stitch in the required colour and add a backstitch diagonally in the most appropriate colour. Full instructions and diagrams for fractional stitches are included in all our kits and patterns. If you would like a copy of these instructions simply download one of our free patterns!French Knot
A French knot is an embroidery stitch which creates a small knot above the fabric. They are often used to for eyes or flower centers although we do not use them in any of our cross stitch kits or patterns.
Back To TopG
Graph paper is very useful for creating your own designs, each square representing one cross stitch.
All of our alphabet patterns contain a blank grid of the correct scale to allow you to plan your work accurately before you stitch it - also, because our patterns are supplied electronically for our custmers to print themselves, you can print as many blank grid pages as you require! No need to go out and find somewhere with a photocopier and then pay high photocopying charges.
Back To TopH Back To TopI Instructions
All Country Cross Stitch Kits products come with complete instructions. A lot of the kits and patterns also come with additional instructions where required - for example all of our wedding samplers have instructions on how to layout and then add your required names and date while our card kits have specific instructions on how to make up the card and add the insert etc. with extra instructions on how to make them up.
If you would like a copy of our cross stitching instructions simply download one of our free patterns!
Unwanted knots are the curse of cross stitchers! Try to avoid creating knots by checking your thread regularly for twisting. Knots form when the thread twists round itself so keeping it parallel helps.
If you do get a knot dont worry (it happens to us all sometimes!) Try to gently untangle the knot using your needle, if this fails do not be tempted to sew it in to the back of your work, that will just make it lumpy. It is much better to cut the thread behind the knot, sew in the loose ends and start again.
Back To TopL Back To TopM Metallic Thread
As the name suggests metallic thread has a 'glittery' look to it and it therefore great for adding sparkle to a design. You use metallic threads exactly as you would standard cotton thread although you may find the metallics gets tangled more easily. To help prevent this use shorter lengths and straighten your thread often. We include some extra instructions in any of our kits that use metallics that offers advice on using this type of thread.Mounting Board
This is a type of strong cardboard used in framing pictures, it is the piece between the picture and the glass of the frame itself.
White mounting board is ideal for stretching embroidery ready to frame. Use acid free
mounting board if possible as this prevents the discolouration that can occur over time with normal mounting board.
Back To TopN Needles
The ideal cross stitch needle will have a slightly blunt tip which helps you to pass the needle between the fabric fibres rather that through them and thus prevent weakening and damage to the fibres.
All Country Cross Stitch Kits come with TAP24 blunt tapestry needles which we find ideal for cross stitch on the 14 count Aida
fabrics we tend to supply.
Number of Threads
If you see a reference to 'number of threads' it will usually be referring to how many strands of thread are used in each type of stitch used in a design. In all of our kits we recommend using two strands of thread for the cross stitches and one for the backstitching. This can vary however depending upon the fabric count and the overall effect the designer is trying to achieve.
Back To TopO Organiser
A thread organiser is a piece of stiff material, such as cardboard, with holes punched in it and a key printed on it which indicates which thread should be sewn in which place on the pattern.
All of our kits come with pre-printed thread organisers already filled with the correct threads, this means you can get stitching straight away without the need to sort out the large tangled mass of threads some companies feel it is a good idea to supply!
If you would like a copy of our cross stitching instructions simply download one of our free patterns!
Back To TopP
A pattern is is alternative name for a chart, It shows where each stitch is located on the fabric. A pattern or chart is required for all counted cross designs.
Plastic canvas is a stiff plastic grid used in place of the fabric to cross stitch onto. It is available in a variety of counts (7, 10, 14 etc.) and in pre-formed shapes of larger sheets.
Back To TopQ
Quick Stitch Cards
Our range of 'quick stitch' singe aperture cards are ideal for special occasions. They come complete with everything you need including aperture card, envelope and white paper insert for you to write your message on. As the aperture is only 22 stitches by 22 stitches they do not take long to sew.
Back To TopR Ruler (Cross Stitch)
A 'cross stitch ruler' is a ruler marked in stitches rather than in millimetres or inches. It is used by laying it over a row of stitches and then reading off the scale to see how many stitches there are. It is vital that you use a ruler that corresponds to the count of fabric you are using or the result you get will be incorrect!
You can download a free cross stitch ruler
by visiting our 'Stitch count Rulers' page.
This is the ideal stitch to use to divide large areas up before you begin to stitch the full design.
Find the center of your fabric by folding it in half horizontally, and then in half vertically. Use large running stitches across and down the fabric to mark the center lines. Carefully cut them when you begin to stitch and gently pull them back out of the way as you work around the fabric. They serve as very useful markers as you work through the design. On larger projects you may want to add addiditonal running stitch lines to form a grid on your fabric, this will help ensure you stay following the pattern as it will give more reference points to count up to so you can check (and double check) your progress.
Back To TopS Stranded cotton
The normal thread used for cross stitching is stranded cotton. It is generally made of 100% cotton and normally comes in skeins 8m in length and consisting of 6 strands (hence stranded cotton). It is also known as floss
Stranded Cotton is available in hundreds of different colours, and even in variegated shades on the same skein. Stranded cotton skeins are often referred to as silks, I have no idea why, if you know drop me a line I would love to find out!
When a pattern refers to 1 strand of thread they mean one of the 6 strands from the skein, 2 means 2 of the 6 etc.Sampler
Samplers originated in the 1500s and were worked as reference pieces. They would have taken many years to complete, and were stored safely until they were required. In the 1800s many were sewn by young girls, the alphabet was included to aid their education.
Samplers have become much more popular in recent years as they can be handed down to future generations and are often stitched to celebrate special occasions such as weddings or births.Selvage
The Selvage of the fabric is the edge formed when the fabric is woven. A full width piece of fabric will have two selvages (1 at each side). often the selvage is a different texture to the normal fabric. You cannot stitch on the selvage but there is no problem with having the selvage at one side of your work, in fact you will find that the selvage does not fray, so there is no need to edge that side at all.
Back To TopT Tapestry needle
This is a type of needle ideally suited to cross stitch on as the end is blunt and passes between the threads not through them. All of our kits come with TAP24 needles which we find ideal for cross stitch.Thread Organiser
Back To TopU Un-pick
Un-picking is one of the most annoying things to have to do. Most commonly caused by stitching the wrong colour, avoid this by using a thread organiser.
There is a thread organiser included in all our kits with the key already printed on and the threads pre-sorted for you. Our patterns also include a thread orgainser, to see a sample simply download one of our free patterns!
Also, make sure you check regularly against the pattern. Remember, its quicker to re-count than re-stitch!
Back To TopV
This is a type of thread where the colour changes slightly throughout the whole length normally through different shades of the same colour. These threads can give interesting results, adding extra appeal and interest to blocks of colour.
Back To TopW Wadding
Wadding is a layer of soft material used behind a cross stitch design on a card or in a picture frame to make the design stand out. It can also be used for stuffing items such as pin cushions or lavender bags etc. An alternative name for Wadding is batting.Warp Threads
The Warp threads of a fabric are those which run parallel to the Selvage. They are the threads that where applied to the loom before weaving with the weft threads.
Warp threads, when pulled from the fabric, are almost flat.Waste Canvas
This is a fabric which is applied to normal fabric, the cross stitch design is added, then the waste fabric threads are gently pulled out, leaving the design in place.Waste knot
This is a brilliant method for starting of a row of stitches where there is nowhere to secure the thread before you start. Tie a knot in your thread and pass the needle down through the fabric, some where a little away from where you wish to start, but in a straight line with the first few stitches you wish to add. Pass the needle back up at the starting position, then as you stitch the end of the thread is automatically sewn in. Once you have completed a handful of stitches, cut the end close to the last stitch and throw the knotted thread away, hence waste knot.
See also easy startWeft Threads
The Weft threads of a fabric are those which run perpendicular to the Selvage. They are the threads which were woven by the shuttle of the loom across the warp threads.
Weft threads, when pulled from the fabric, are wavy.
Back To TopX Back To TopY
Yarn is commonly used to mean thread, although some people more specifically use yarn to mean tapestry wool used for large tapestry items.
Back To TopZ Zweigart
Zweigart is one of the best known manufacturers of fabrics, and they have a great range of colours and counts.