Choosing Your Type of Embroidery

Deciding what type of threadwork you want to do can depend on many things. You will have to take into account your skill level, how much time you plan to devote to your project, and what you want the finished product to look like. Also factor in the availabilty of materials, most of which I provide here.

Cross stitch is the use of cotton thread on Aida canvas with the pattern superimposed on the fabric. They say this can be a good starting point for a child or beginner cross stitcher as it takes a lot of the “work” out of it, but for me it just seems like “cheating”. When I started cross stitching, fortunately I began with counted cross stitch. I think it might be difficult to go from having the pattern printed on the fabric to suddenly having it blank. I find with the counted cross stitch I have much more control of where on the fabric I place the pattern and how broad the border will be. Also the Aida “count” I choose will determine the number of stitches and the overall appearance of the end product. This requires a little bit more thought, but that’s a good thing!

There is nothing so satisfying as starting with a completely blank piece of fabric and finishing without cheating. If you must begin with the pattern on the fabric, I would advised to only do 1 or 2 and then switch to counted cross stitch as soon as you get the hang of it.

Blackwork can also use cotton on Aida, but it is exceptionally beautiful with silk on linen. The use of linen instead of Aida can be a bit tricky as the linen has smaller holes that are closer together. For this reason the silk is a good choice because the texture allows it to slide smoothly against the fabric. The result is a slightly shiny and fine finish.

The patterns that I design are mostly counted cross stitch and blackwork. These use cotton floss or silk on linen or aida exclusively. You can modify these combinations to suit you, but personally I find cotton floss such as DMC or Anchor works best on Aida, and silk works best on linen. Or let me know what you prefer and I can modify the pattern for you!

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