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- Resources- Glossary
(Click on the Blue Underlined Titles below for more Information)

Aida A kind of canvas with several strands between each hole, often three. This is also known as Java Canvas, Fancy Oatmeal and Toile Colbert. It is usually made of cotton and it comes in widths of 18" to 54". This is sewn in every hole (one over one) with usually 14 to 18 holes per inch (linear) for cross stitch, but there are also 6 to 20 counts available.

Backstitch Frequently done in black, the basic backstitch - a continuous chain of overlapping stitches - outlines an embroidered design. The backstitch appears frequently in black work embroidery, a centuries-old form of elegant needlework featuring geometric designs made with black silk thread on white or ivory linen.

Bargello Long stitches worked on canvas in vertical stitches, forming peaks or points. By varying the colors, shaded effects can be produced. Also, called flame work or Hungarian point.

Blackwork Black thread on white or cream linen, defining geometric designs. Stitches used are the back stitch, cross stitch and running stitch.

Chart A form of pattern showing the design to be sewn using symbols or colors (representing floss colors, beads, metallic threads and specialty materials) on a graph. There are also supplied a legend, which is the listing of what colors of thread or other materials all tghe symbols mean, a list of materials and theinstructions. Also known as a Pattern, Graph or Design.

Count This refers to the number of threads or holes to the inch (linear) in the fabric. There are two major types: Aida normally comes in 10,12, 14, 16, 18 threads or holes to the inch; Even Weave normally come in 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32 threads or holes to the inch.

Counted Cross Stitch The fabric is plain (unpatterned), and a pattern or design chart, the graph, shows where each stitch goes.  The graph is a grid (of squares representing all the holes of the fabric) showing the relative position and color of each stitch.  A legend shows the conversion of symbols used on the chart to the color numbers of the threads, beads, etc. to be used. This is sometimes called Full Counted Cross Stitch.

Crewel Sometimes called Jacobean embroidery. Embroidered stitches worked in wool yarns.

Cross Stitch A form of embroidery where all the stitches are basically the same - forming diagonal crosses at each intersection. All bottom stitches should go in one direction, and all top stitches should go in the opposite direction. 

Cutwork Parts of the design are cut away before or after the motif has been embroidered. Tiny running stitches are placed close to the edge to give a raised effect to the finished work

Drawn Thread Threads are removed from the embroidery material producing a lacy foundation to work the stitches.

Ecru This color is similar to the color of raw silk, cotton or linen.

Embellished Cross Stitch Some of the background is pre-printed so that you only have to sew the main features.

Embroidery The embellishment of fabric with needlework. Designs are stitched into fabric that has a close weave such as cotton or linen. The design is drawn on the fabric and the stitcher follows the pattern with her needle and embroidery thread.

Even Weave A fabric which is smoother than Aida with one strand between each hole. Cross stitching is usually sewn over two strands of evenweave, in every other hole (over 2), because it has the higher counts - 24 to 32 threads per inch. Faces and hands are often sewn in every hole for more detail.

Fabric The material on which cross stitch is sewn. Often the fabric is linen which comes in many colors and many counts. It can also be made of cotton, man-made material, or a mixture of natural and man-made materials, or even perforated paper or plastic. Only fabric especially made for cross stitching should be used for cross stitching, because the even spacing of the threads is very important.

Floss Mostly this refers to a type of cotton thread. It comes in skeins of 6 strands loosely twisted together, and with a color-coded number. It is normally sewn in cross stitch using only two or three strands in a needle. There is also silk, rayon, metallic and nylon floss.  Floss is used as the main ingredient in sewing a cross stitch designs.  Most cross stitch designs are sewn with only floss.

Half Stitch This is one half of a cross stitch. Only one stitch is sewn and its direction is sometimes given on the chart.  The other half to make the cross is not sewn. The half stitches are either just the single under or single top stitch of the cross stitch depending on the direction indicated on the chart, or their use.

Hardanger A needlecraft with Norwegian origins. It combines satin stitches with drawn thread and cutwork.

Linen A fabric made of flax, which has an even weave with one strand between each hole.  It usually has counts of 24 to 36 holes to the inch.

Needlepoint Technique of putting stitches on openwork mesh canvas so the canvas is completely covered with stitches.

Needlepoint Canvas Usually cotton or linen although plastic "canvas" is growing in popularity. Needlepoint fabric is stiffer than fabric used for cross-stitch. The gauge of the canvas is measured by the mesh size or number of squares (holes) per inch.  Typically the gauge runs from 5 to 26-mesh. A 5-mesh canvas would have 5 holes per inch, for instance.

Petit Point Needlepoint worked in fine yarn on very small, single thread canvas, usually about 20-mesh to the inch or smaller.

Printed or Pre-Printed Cross Stitch Part of the design is printed, and not sewn on. This is usually the background.  It is the finished picture for that part of the design. 

Quarter Stitch Quarter stitches are just that, a little stitch that ends in the center of the normal stitch.  It is half the length of a regular half stitch.  They can go in any diagonal direction depending on what the chart says. They are usually used to soften outlines or where two colors meet.

Stamped Cross Stitch The design is printed on the fabric. You see the complete design as X's on the fabric. The legend (or graph) shows you what color to use for each X..  All the stamped X's are sewn over so that they do not show in the end, and they usually wash out.  This can be done on almost any material and you do not count holes. The crosses are much larger than counted cross stitch crosses.

Three-Quarter Stitch Literally a half-stitch plus a quarter stitch.

White Work Various stitches are worked with white threads on white fabric.


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Crafty Needle - PO Box 916010 Longwood, FL 32791-6010
Phone: 1-800-345-3332 (US Only) or 321-214-4379 Fax: 321-206-3143 Email: shop@craftyneedle.com