What do I need to cross stitch?

The essentials you'll need are:

FabricThe material on which cross stitch is made, of the fabric is aida though evenweave and linen can also be used. Fabrics come in many colours and many counts. It can also be made of perforated paper or plastic. Only fabric especially made for cross stitching should be used for stitching, because the even spacing of the threads is very important – each type of fabric is made up of holes of an even stitch count. To stitch on other fabrics you can use waste canvas.

Our charts are designed to be stitched on aidaThe most common fabric used for cross stitch, and the best one to use for your first project. It is woven into blocks marked out by regularly-spaced holes. Use these holes to work your cross stitches. Aida is sold in various sizes or counts. The most popular size is 14-count. or evenweaveA general term for fabrics that can be used for cross stitch instead of aida. These are more loosely-woven and less stiff than aida, and come in a high count such as 28- or 32-count. They are stitched over two threads. Linda, jobelan and linen are three popular types of evenweave.. These fabrics are woven with an evenly-spaced grid of holes that you use to make your cross stitches. They come in various counts: 14-count aida is the most popular cross stitch fabric. It has 14 holes to the inch.


Most cross stitch designs are stitched with stranded embroidery cotton. This is a divisible thread made up of six strands. You can use all six or pull out as many strands as instructed in the key. Designs stitched on 14-count aida are usually worked in two strands.

NeedlesNeedles are essential for cross stitching. It is a good idea to have a selection of tapestry needles in different sizes in your workbox for the different sizes of fabric you use. Other useful needles include a crewel needle for working with waste canvas, and beading needles, which are much finer for adding beads to your designs.

A blunt tapestry needleThis is the best needle to use for stitching a design on aida or evenweave. It has a blunt end that will pass smoothly through the holes of the fabric without damaging it. is best for cross stitch. It is the most comfortable needle for passing back and forth through the holes in the aida. Use a size 24 for 14-count aida and a size 26 for 16- and 18-count aida or 28-count evenweave.

Other equipment

Use embroidery scissors to cut off the thread ends cleanly. These small scissors have very sharp points. You may also need a wooden hoopAn embroidery hoop is a round frame made of wood or plastic. This has an outer and an inner ring that hold your fabric taut while you are stitching. Stitching with a hoop can help to keep your stitches neat and even. to hold your fabric taut while you stitch and a bag to keep the materials for a project together.