Glossary of Cross Stitch and Needlework Terms

Posted by Danielle Armstrong on

Glossary of Cross Stitch and Needlework Terms
Aida – cotton fabric where groups of threads are woven evenly to form squares with easily visible holes where the threads cross.
Backstitch – a form of stitch used for outlining and detail on finished cross stitch.
Binca – 6 count aida fabric, ideal for children.
Blanc – the French word for white, used by DMC
Blending Filament – light, delicate threads for combining with other threads such as stranded cotton to add glisten and sparkle.
Chart – the pattern used for placement of stitches in counted cross stitch
Count – the number of threads or holes per inch in fabric
Counted Cross Stitch – where plain fabric and a paper chart are used to place stitches
Cross Stitch – a form of embroidery stitch made up of two diagonal stitches to form an X
Evenweave – a fabric woven with a single thread and made from cotton or a cotton mix. It is mostly worked over two threads but can be worked over one thread for very fine designs.
Embellished Cross Stitch – some of the design is printed, usually the background, you only sew the main features and add highlights.
Fabric – material used for needlework
Floss – the American and Canadian term for stranded cotton
Fractional stitches – quarter or three-quarter stitches enable more detail, such as curves, within a design. Quarter stitch is literally half a half stitch, three-quarter stitch is a full half stitch and a quarter stitch which form a T shape.
French Knot – a small knot used to define small details in cross stitch such as eyes, nose, buttons etc.
Half Cross Stitch – sometimes called tent stitch, a diagonal stitch used to define shading /
Jobelan – a popular evenweave fabric made from 51% cotton and 49% modal, it has a slight sheen and is softer than aida and evenweave.
Kit – everything you need to complete a design in one pack, usually made up of stranded cotton or thread, needle, fabric, chart and instructions.
Linen – made from 100% linen thread, woven using a single thread similar to evenweave, however, linen has a natural uneven slub which can be tricky to stitch over, this gives it a traditional appearance.
Needlepoint – or Tapestry is a form of embroidery where wool or yarn is stitched through mesh canvas.
Stitching over 2 – this term refers to how many holes you miss after bringing your needle up through a hole until the needle and thread goes back down again.
Stash – your collection of stitching stuff
Tapestry – see Needlepoint
Tweeding – using single strands of different colours instead of two strands of the same colour to stitch.
UFO – unfinished object
Waste Canvas - used for stitching designs on to garments and plain fabrics, it can be removed once the stitching is complete by dampening and pulling away the canvas threads one by one, leaving just the stitching behind.
WIP – work in progress

This is not an exhaustive list, if you come across a term not listed here, please let us know and we will add it to the Glossary of Cross Stitch and needlework terms.
Happy stitching,

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