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How to Cross Stitch on Linen and so much more.

Image result for aida cross stitch fabricCross Stitch Fabric come in two catagories Aida and Linen.  

Now most beginners start off using Aida which is a excellent cotton fabric, woven in blocks, giving obvious holes for the needle to enter. Aida has a squarish and more modern look than and linen and comes in 6 through 22 thread count per inch. Each Cross Stitch Stitch is worked with 2 floss fibers over over one Aida square.

Linens & Evenweaves are woven in a grid but come in a much finer count starting at 18 and going all the way up to 40 fabric threads per inch. When stitching on linen they are usually stitched 2 over 2. Which refer to how many floss fibers over how many fabric thread. With linen the basic rule of thumb is two over two. Two floss fibers over to fabric threads. But with so may fabric fibers per inch you can stitch smaller then that. That is one over one, this would be 4 small stitches in place of one 2 over 2 stitch. Some designs will call for one over one when the designer want more detailed and definition for such features as faces & hands.

Linen offers a more “old fashioned” look to a piece. Traditional Linen has a very rustic look to it, especially in the more natural colors like "raw linen". Linen fabric has a very "crisp" feel however it is a bit more challenging to use then Aida. It does require a bit more skill to control the tension of the floss as well as the tension of the fabric. Linen is not even, you will see that some of the fabric fibers are thicker and some are thin.

Now Evenweave...This is a description of a fabric which is smoother than Aida or most linens, this would be your Jobelan and Lugana. It is smoother because it is made of half natural fiber and half a man-made fiber like polyester. Even-weaves have a nice soft plush fell to them and each fabric fiber is the the same dimension hence even-weaves.

The Cross-Stitch Stitch, stitch consists of 2 diagonal stitches, which together form a X, or a cross. There are various ways you can do this, but you must be consistent about the direction of the stitches. If you start making a / and cover it with a \, all the stitches through the piece should be going the same direction.

If you have several stitches of the same color in a row, you can make all the bottom / stitches across, and then work back making the top \ stitches.

Now if you are working with hand-dyed floss you will want to complete each cross (X) as you go. You wouldn’t want the bottom to be one color and the top to be a different color, because of the variation of hand-dyed floss. So when working with hand-dyed floss complete your X as you go.

Tweeding is when you use two different floss colors in the same needle, usually one strand of each color. It will create a beautiful custom color. (example: one strand of DMC 501 & one of 502).

To get your stitched to lay nice and flat try Railroading your stitches. The will help prevent twisting in your floss and let them lay flat. When completing the top stitch pull the needle and thread through to the front to start the stitch in the usual manner. Then put the tip of the needle between the two threads right where they come through the fabric so that the needle is pointing in the direction it needs to go to complete the stitch, and take it over to finish the stitch. This will ensure a flat stitch with no twist.

We all know how I love the EZ Stitch Scroll frames and stitching two handed is just one more reason I love them.

Now that I am not holding a hoop with my hand by either using the EZ Stitch - Lap Stand or having the scroll frame rest on my arms. Both of my hands can be used for stitching. Now it doesn’t matter what hand you have on top or bottom, just what is comfortable for you. I have my left on top and right underneath.

Now my floss will be going up and down at a much straighter angle so there will be less wear on it. Also my stitches will be neater as it is easy to railroad my stitches. I also think two handed stitching is much faster then the stick n stab method, as there are no wasted movements. In the video above you can see my arms are barley moving, all the movement is in my hands.

To take any tension out of my shoulders my left hand completely resting right on the Lap stand so there is no strain. Even when I am stitching on my couch I will even put a pillow under my right arm so I have no strain on my shoulders at all. Making stitching a enjoyable relaxing process, as it should be.

Design on the Scroll Frame is Nora Corbett's Snapdragon Pixie.

Remember the First Rule of Cross Stitching... Stitching is to be enjoyed, a hobbie that is fun and relaxing! 


I hope you enjoyed this week's Tips & Techniques video.   For past Sit N Stitch videos and other Tips & Techniques check out Donnett's Needlework Blog.   Also, make sure to turn on the notifications as that's how you will know that new videos are up.

As always, I love to hear your comments and suggestions for new videos and new content, so leave those for me below.

Enjoy & Happy Stitching -- Donnett

Margo M.

Thanks! Lots of good tips here and I will need all of them to start my first even weave project. :-)

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Renee L.

Thanks for the "railroading" technique and also the tip about how to work with hand-dyed floss! Very informative!

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Donnett H.

Thanks Renee we are always trying to bring you informative stitching help!

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