Ever wonder what all of these silly and more serious cross stitching terms mean? When we first began cross stitching we found the terminology used for various things can be confusing. Even now we will see things mentioned on Facebook groups or Forums and wonder what is meant (and promptly researched the answer).
Below we have tried to compile a comprehensive list of all things Cross Stitching, if we have missed anything please do let us know and we will add it in. This is really a quick guide for us and you if anything is unclear. Enjoy!
Aida is a common fabric used for cross stitch and is strongly recommended for use in your first few projects. The fabric is woven into blocks marked out by regularly-spaced holes. Aida is sold in various sizes, known as counts.
Aida Band is a narrow strip of Aida finished off with a decorative trim. This fabric is very useful if you want to add a cross stitch design to a towels, etc.
Assisi work is a type of stitching used when the outline is stitched first and then the background filled in with cross stitch, leaving the area inside (the image) un-stitched.
Backstitch is the outline stitch used to add details to a pattern over the top of the cross stitches. It is worked in a 'two steps forward, one step back' motion.
Balger was the name of a thread firm taken over by Kreinik. This is why many Kreinik thread numbers start with a "B".
BAP stands for Big Ass Project / Bad Ass project or the more family friendly versions are Big Awesome Project / Big Ambitious Project.
Binca is a fabric with a low stitch count, it is often used for teaching children to stitch, as well as adults who may have problems with their eyesight.
Blackwork is a type of embroidery using black thread, although other colours were also used on occasion.
Blanc is the name of a white coloured thread manufactured by DMC.
Blending Floss is when two or more types of floss are blended to create a cross stitch.
Bury the Ends is a term used for securing threads without using knots and so prevents bumps in the finished, framed piece.
Chart is a grid / graph of symbols or colours that guides you on the pattern. There will be a key for the threads needed and which symbol represents that thread.
Confetti Stitches are scattered single stitches. The stitches are spread across the fabric as if they had been sprinkled like confetti.
Couching is used on more advanced patterns. When couching a strand of floss, the fibre is laid on top of the fabric and tacked down with tiny stitches.
Count is the number of holes per inch of fabric. Counts can from 6 to 55 count. The higher the number, the smaller your cross stitches will be. The most popular size in cross stitch is 14-count Aida, and this is usually stitched in two strands.
Counted Cross Stitch is one of the many styles of Counted Thread Embroidery. Other Counted Thread Embroidery styles include Blackwork, Assisi, Whitework, and Hardanger.
Counted Thread Embroidery is when you have a blank piece of fabric and where to place your stitch is determined by counting squares.
Cross Country is when the stitched works with one colour / symbol on the chart to complete that colour block. Once this colour block is complete you then move onto your next colour.
Cross stitch is an X shaped embroidery stitch.
Cross Stitch Kits are packages that include everything you need to complete a design. The pattern, fabric, floss / thread and a needle are the usually included.
Cross Stitch Pattern is the design in a grid with symbols to indicate stitch type and placement.
Danish is when you work your pieces doing half squares in horizontal or vertical rows and then return and completing the square coming back the opposite direction.
Daylight bulb is a special bulb that looks like an ordinary tungsten bulb but is moulded in blue glass which filters out the yellow light, this gives you a more natural light to stitch under (making it easier for you).
Ecru is a colour of thread similar to cream.
Embroidery Hoops are used to hold your fabric at an even tension while you are stitching.
English is when you complete a full square as you go along, stitching first one strand and then the other before moving onto your next stitch.
Evenweave is a type of fabric that can be used for instead of aida. Evenweave is loosely-woven and less stiff than aida. It comes in higher counts (typically 28-count and 32-count).
Fabric is the material used to cross stitch on. This can be aida, evenweave or linen and come in many different colours or counts.
Finish is a completed cross stitch.
Flexi-hoop are used to hold your fabric at an even tension while you are stitching, similar to an embroidery hoop.
Floss is the American term for stranded cotton used in cross stitching.
Flower thread is fine cotton yarn that can be used to get a subtle effect in cross stitch.
Fractional stitches are usually half, three-quarter or quarter stitches used to create more detailed shapes and outlines on a chart.
French knot is knot used in cross stitch to add detail. These are often seen used as eyes, noses and punctuation.
Frogging is used by stitchers (a slang term) if stitches need to be removed when you make a mistake. When you take a stitch out you have to rip it, rip it.
Gold Work is cross stitch using gold metallic threads.
Graph paper is very handy if you wish to design your own pictures.
HAED is an online company that designs cross stitch patterns (Heaven and Earth Designs) - They have some lovely patterns.
Half cross stitch are used to create more detailed shapes and outlines on a chart. Half cross stitch should be done in the direction of the top arm of the cross stitch so that it fits in with the rest of your picture.
Holbein stitch is also known as double running stitch. This is where you work a row of running stitch in one direction and then work your way back, with a second row, filling in the gaps.
Hoops are used to hold your fabric at an even tension while you are stitching.
Iron on vilene is a material used for backing your finished cross stitch designs to stop them fraying. These are usually used for small items such as designs for handbag mirrors, coasters and keyrings.
In Hand is when cross stitch is completed without the aid of a hoop and the fabric is simple held taut between the stitchers fingers.
Jobelan is an evenweave fabric made from cotton and modal. It has very regularly spaced holes that are easy to see, making it ideal for a first project on evenweave.
Java Canvas, also known as Aida.
Kits are packages that include everything you need to complete a design. The pattern, fabric, floss / thread and a needle are the usually included.
Knots cause problems when stitching, as they can suddenly appearing in your thread and there is nothing as annoying when you are in the swing of it. If one appears, take your needle and insert it into one of the loops of the knot and pull gently. You should find that this releases the knot and you can carry on stitching.
Linda is a 100% cotton evenweave fabric made by Zweigart for DMC. It is ideal for a first project on evenweave.
Linen is an evenweave fabric, often used when creating authentic-looking sampler or heirlooms.
Loop method is when you of starting off stitching with an even number of strands, fold the cotton in half to thread your needle and then bring the thread up through the fabric to start, take the needle down again, push it through the loop and pull it taut to secure.
LNS stands for Local Needlework Shop.
Metallic thread can be used alongside stranded cotton to highlight parts of a design. Available as a stranded skein or on a reel.
Mount board is use when stretching your stitching ready to put in a frame. It consists of strong card and is best with the white side facing up. Ask for acid-free mount board to protect your stitching from becoming stained over time.
Needles are an essential item for cross stitching.
Needle minders are a powerful magnet that you place on your project to hold your needles, and avoid them getting lost.
OOP stands for Out of Print.
ORT stands for Old Raggedy Threads.
Overdyed threads are specialist threads where a pre-dyed single colour thread is 'overdyed' with other colours.
Parking is a term used when people thread several needles and work in a grid keeping all of the threads intact, when you get to a square that doesn't use that colour you "park" your thread in the next square it appears and it waits for you there.
Perforated paper is a thin card that is punched with holes, available in a 14-count and is used to stitch as you would on aida.
Q & A is the best way to become a better stitcher - ask questions and there will always been keen stitchers to answer. Comment below and we will be happy to help you.
Railroading is when you make your stitches lie flat against your fabric.
RAK is a Random Act of Kindness.
Rice stitch is a variation on simple cross stitch, to give a denser cover, because the reverse side stitching shows through more.
Rotation is when a stitcher has a number of different projects, WIP or UFO that they rotate through.
SABLE is Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy - ie. More stash than you can possibly use in your lifetime.
SAL is a Stitch-A-Long, which is when stitchers all work on a project at the same time, this is often the same chart.
SINS is Stuff I'll Never Stitch.
Stitching over two is used when stitching a design on evenweave fabric, and works each cross stitch over two threads of the fabric. This means you should count across and up two holes instead of only one.
Stranded cotton is the most popular thread used for cross stitch and is sold as a skein.
Tapestry needles are the best needle to use for stitching a design on aida or evenweave.
Tweeding is a technique where two or more colours of thread are used in the needle at the same time to give a blend of colours.
Unbleached threads are available for stitchers wishing to dye their own threads.
UFO stands for Unfinished Object - many of us have a habit of having several projects on the go at once.
Very nice people are the kind of people you'll meet cross stitching (we may be a little biased).
Wadding is a spongy material used to stuff items such as pin cushions. Available in different weights.
Waste canvas is used when you want to stitch a design on a non-stitching fabric, like a t-shirt. Secure the waste canvas over the area you want to stitch and begin stitching through the waste canvas. Once you are done pull out the waste canvas to reveal the design underneath.
Waste knot is a method to anchor your thread. Tie a small knot in the end of your thread, take the needle down through the fabric and slightly away from where you are going to start stitching. Bring the needle up at the position on the fabric where you wish to begin stitching and stitch as normal. The thread at the back of the work will be secured as you continue stitching and then you can cut off the waste knot.
WIP stands for Work In Progress.
WISP is Work In Slow Progress.
X-stitch is another way of spelling our favourite hobby!
Yarn can be worked on larger count fabric such as 6-count Binca. Any type of wool is ideal for introducing children to cross stitching.
Zweigart is a manufacturer of stitching fabric. Available in a range of colours and count.