After floss, my next favourite cross-stitch supply to shop for is fabric. I have lots of fabric to choose from…but have you ever noticed that sometimes it doesn't matter how much fabric you have, you don't have the exact piece that you need?
Cross-stitch fabric is gauged by 'Counts.' This means that if you are buying 14 Count Aida cloth, there are 14 squares per inch, which translates to 14 stitches per inch. Most fabrics are available in a wide variety of colours.
There are three main groups of cross-stitch fabric: Aida Cloth, Hardanger and Evenweave (linens). For tips on choosing fabric and fabric preparation, please go to Getting Started.
Aida cloth is woven in such a way that the actual stitching squares are visible. Aida is typically available in counts from 6 to 18 with the most widely used being 14 count.14 Count Adia Cloth
Hardanger is also the name of a type of embroidery, and is name for a region in Norway known as Hardanger Fjord. Hardanger fabric looks just like Aida cloth, but has a small weave like linen. Whereas linen has 1 thread per square, Hardanger has 2 and comes in 22-count gauge.22 Count White Hardanger
Probably the first thing you will notice about Evenweave fabrics is that the threads are not evenly woven. Some are thicker than others, and even have little 'nubs' on them. This will add to the 'character' of your project, and is actually desirable in some sampler projects. Stitches done on Evenweave will not be completely even, either. This too adds character-after all, early woven fabrics weren't perfect like today's Aida cloth. Evenweave fabric is made from a variety of materials, whereas Linen is pure linen.
When stitching on Evenweave, be sure to bring your thread up next to a top vertical thread. The reason being that if you don't, your stitch will roll to the bottom, and it will look as though you have lost part of your stitch. When you stitch on Evenweave, form your stitches over two threads, unless you are doing One Over, in which case you would stitch over one thread.
A note on Evenweave-they aren't always evenly woven. Sometimes there are more weft threads than warp threads. If either thread is uneven, your stitches will either be tall and skinny or short and squat. When stitching on Evenweave, gently pull on the bias to make the fabric 'roll.' It will roll to the right side, which is the side you will stitch on.Dublin Linen
Full fabric lines can be viewed at these sites: