Aida and linen and even weave...oh my! So what's the difference, and which one should you use? Really it all depends on your project and personal preference. All three types of fabric are commonly used for cross stitch, but they vary in texture, fibres and colour availability. When I say fibres, I mean fibre counts. A fabric's fibre count is the number of holes per inch, which then determines the number of stitches per inch.
I'm going to go over each type of fabric to help you choose the right one for your next (or first) project.
Aida is 100% cotton and by far the most commonly used cross-stitch fabric. When first starting to stitch, Aida is a perfect choice because it has a wider open weave making it easier to see the holes to put your needle through.
One of the great things about Aida is how many fabric counts it comes in. Common Aida fabric counts are 11, 14, 16, 18 and 20. However, 14ct is probably the easiest to find in craft stores, and it's a popular starting point for beginners (it's also my personal favourite).
Aida is a starched fabric, so it is kind of stiff. However, it tends to become more flexible as you work and handle it. Of all the cross stitching fabrics, Aida has the largest range of available colours.
Many experienced cross stitchers choose linen to stitch on. It is much softer and has a higher thread count than Aida (usually 28 or 32-count).
Normally, linen is more expensive than Aida as it is a natural cloth, woven from flax fibres. Because it is a natural cloth, sometimes you may find threads that vary in thickness throughout the fabric which can make cross stitching on linen a little more difficult.
Like Aida, linen is available in a range of colours. Zweigart is one of the largest linen manufacturers. They produce Cashel Linen (a 28ct 100% linen) and Belfast Linen (a 32ct linen), among others.
Evenweave fabrics are usually a blend of cotton and rayon. The term even weave means the fibres in the fabric all have the same width, which is great for cross stitchers as it means even holes for stitching.
Evenweave has a higher thread count - usually found in 25, 28 and 32-count. On the downside, Evenweave can be harder to find and isn't available in as many colours as the other fabric options.
What are your favourite fabrics to stitch on? Let me know in the comments!