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What is the main difference between Aida, Evenweave and Linen?

Aida 14 count fabric in multiple colors

Choosing the right fabric for your cross stitch and needlework project can be challenging. In this blog we explain the main difference between Aida Evenweave and Linen: the most populair types of cross stitch fabrics. We will also touch upon other cross stitch fabrics like Waste Canvas, Interlock Canvas and Perforated Leather. Each embroidery fabric is designed for a unique purpose. Therefor they all have  a different weave, texture, feel and sheen.

What is the best cross stitch fabric for beginners?

For beginners it is the easiest to start with 100% cotton Aida fabric. The square weave and open holes make this fabric easy to use. Aida creates very square stitches, frays less than evenweave and comes in a wide range of colours and counts.  If you have some experience and  prefer a finer endresult you can opt for an Evenweave of Linen fabric.

Read on for more detailed information about the different fabrics.

Aida cross stitch fabrics

Aida 6 count ivory cross stitch fabric

What is Aida fabric?

The “Aida” weave was invented by Zweigart in 1908. The fabric is made by little squares of 5 threads in both directions and four clearly visible holes at the corners. One hole for each corner of your cross stitch. Most Aida’s in our shop are made from 100% cotton. The fabric has been stiffened so that the threads do not move, which is important when it has such an open weave. Panama fabric is a different name for Aida.

Fractional stitches (1/4 stitches and 3/4 stitches ) can be much easier to do on an evenweave material. On Aida, the needle needs to punch through the middle of the fabric square. Especially with finer Aida fabrics (like the 20 or 18 count) this is a bit tricky to do with a blund needle. We recommend to make fractional stiches with a sharp needle when using Aida fabric.

Witches from the Once Upon a Pixel book stitched on Aida 6 and Aida 18 count

What do the counts in Aida cross stitch fabric mean?

We sell Aida a wide range of counts, from a fine 20 count fabric to a large 6 count fabric. The count number stands for the number of crosses that you can make in an inch.

The most common count is 14 count white cross stitch fabric. This means you can make 14 crosses in an inch (or about 5,4 per cm). The higher is the count, the more crosses your will be able to make in an inch, and therefor the smaller your work will be.

The 6 count fabric is great for blowing up your cross stitch project to giant proporsions. In our Once Upon a Pixel book we share some great examples of dolls. As the holes are very easy to see, this fabric is commonly used for teaching children or beginners to cross stitch. The 18 and 20 count fabrics are a lot finer, and therefor more used by experienced stitchers.

Aia 14 sparkling gold fabric

Special Aida Fabrics

Aida Iridescent

This fabric has a metalic thread woven into the fabric, which makes it shine when the light hits it. The Stardust Gold color is beautiful for Christmas or Wedding decorations, and the White Iridescent Aida fabric will light up all your nursery projects. We sell this fabric in different sizes of Aida 14 count.

Aida French or Aida Country French

This is a cotton Aida fabric with a very soft, luxurious texture.  It is great for baby quilts, clothing or washable items and it drapes nicely.  It does however fray quite easily, so it is best to surge or tape the edges when working with it.

magic aida 14 count fabric

Magic Aida

Magic Aida is a cotton Aida 14 count fabric with a pink grid for every block of 10 by 10 stitches. The lines can be washed away with water once you finish stitching. Because of the washable lines this fabric makes counting a breeze. It is a great fabric for larger and more complex cross stitch projects.

7 cm Aida Ribbon White

Aida Galon

This 14 or 16 count fabric is a ribbon made of 100% cotton. Both sides of the fabric are nicely finished, either in white or with a contrasting color.  You can use it to decorate towels, bedlinen, backpacks, or baby bibs. Stitch your design on the ribbon and sew it onto the object you like to decorate. You can also create some personalised book markers or napking rings with them. The options are endless :-). It can also be called Aida Ribbon or Aida Band.

Shop our most populair Aida fabrics here

Evenweave and Linen cross stitch fabrics

Evenweave 28 count fabric

What is Evenweave Fabric?

Evenweave fabric has a grid layout with the threads in both directions being evenly spaced – hence the Evenweave name. It’s a single thread crossing another single thread. This fabric is mainly used for cross stitch. With counts ranging from 18-45 threads per inch, it is a finer fabric, which will make your finished product look more refined.

Evenweave fabric is softer and more supple than Aida and a lot of people like to work with it.

Linen 32 count undyed color

How do you stitch on Evenweave fabric?

You have to be a bit more carefull when stitching on Evenweave fabric, as the threads move easier. The trick is to not pull to hard on your yarn and slowly glide through the holes.

Usually evenweaves are stitched “over two threads”. When stitching, you miss one hole and go into the next. So you stitch on a square of 2×2 threads. The most common count of evenweave are 28 count and 32 count. Stitching on an 28 count over two will give the same size as stitching over one on Aida 14 count fabric.

In some of our kits we also include instructions for stitching “over 4 threads” . This way you can blow up a design to extra large proportions. Evenwave can also be stitched over one thread, and in that case you will have a proportion stitches/inch equal to the fabric count.

Linen 32 count undyed

What is the difference between Evenweave and Linen fabric?

The main difference between evenweave linen and regular linen, is that the stitches per inch may not be the same count vertically and horizontally. Linen is a natural fiber fabric. Therefor linen threads do not all have the same thickness. Evenweave linens is woven in such a way that they have equal amount of stitches per inch. Other linens may not have te same count.

In our shop you will only find Evenweave linens as we select our fabrics mainly for cross stitch projects.

Both a regular linen and an evenweave linen can be used perfectly for free hand embroidery projects. For cross stitch projects an evenweave linen is recommended.

Shop our most populair Evenweaves and Linens here

Other needlepoint fabrics

Waste Canvas

Waste Canvas

Waste Canvas is used to make perfect stitches on any fabric you like. It has an even grid of threads, woven on such a way that you can easily pull it away under your stitches once you finish. For instance when you want to cross stitch a flower on your denim jacket. You can find a tutorial here on our blog. We sell waste canvas in 25 count and 14 count.

We also sell a soluble waste canvas. This is slightly more expensive, but after you finish stitching you can simply wash the canvas away.

Interlock Canvas

Interlock Canvas

This is a special fabric that is woven as a square netting. The vertical and horizontal threads are twisted and locked together at the intersections. This ensures that the fabric stays in shape, even when you use tight tension.  It will not easily distort during stitching or knotting. And you don’t need a frame as it is stiff enough to hold in your hands.

Interlock Canvas works best for straight stitches and stitches that cross more than 4 canvas threads. That is why it is the preferred canvas for the Long Stitch or Bargello needlepoint projects. Needlepoint stitches are worked at the intersections of the warp and weft threads, covering the canvas entirely when stitching a design.

In our shop we sell rug interlock canvas. This has a very open netting, and is suitable for rug stitching with giant stiches (and thick yarn) or latch hook techniques.

Penelope Canvas

Penelope Canvas

This is a tapestry fabric that is woven as a square netting with a double threads that interset. Hence, it is also called double canvas.

You can use this canvas to stitch both petit point (small needlepoint stitches) and gros point (large needlepoint stitches) on the same design. Most stitchers first paint a design on their canvas, and then fill the pattern with a combination of both petit point and gros point stitches. You can find Penelope Canvas here in our shop

The downside of Penelope Canvas is that it is easier to distort then a Interlock canvas. The netting is finer however, which gives more options for finer details.

Shop our needlepoint fabrics here

Other supplies you might need for your stitching project

More cross stitch tutorials


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