Stitchers and Sewists Glossary

If you think a term is missing here that might be helpful, please email hello@chelseabuns.ca and we will add it to our next revision!

Aida – Typically the fabric provided in cross-stitch kits, Aida is stiffer than other fabrics and is arguably the most popular fabric to stitch on. This fabric is great for stitching on without a hoop and an excellent choice for beginners to learn on. Popular brands include Wichelt, DMC, and Charles Craft. Aida is available in several different counts, the most popular being 14 and 16.
 

Backstitch – A basic decorative stitch that outlines a set of cross stitches in a pattern. Most often used to make patterns “pop” and add finer detail.
 

Beads – Available in hundreds of colours and sizes, beads add depth to charts and can really make them sparkle. Mill Hill is probably the most common bead supplier for stitchers and offers an array of spectacular beads you can add to projects.
 

BAP – Big Ass (Arse if you prefer!) Project
 

Blending – Using two or more colours of thread (or perhaps filament) simultaneously to blend the colours together when stitching.
 

Confetti – Single stitches in the same section of a chart, but of all different colours. Confetti is not for the faint of heart but is beautiful when incorporated in a chart! It gets its name because it looks like confetti is being thrown! Also warning, these can be a bit tedious and annoying, so buckle up your patience if you’re in that section of a chart.


Chart – A cross-stitch pattern that shows you what stitches to place where, what colours belong to which symbol, and any other information you require to complete a piece.


Count – The number of threads of weave per fabric per inch. When stitchers chat (and we do this a lot!), you’ll hear “28 count” or “14 count”. This refers to the number of threads per inch in said fabric.


Cross Country (also known as carrying threads) – Affectionately known as, “the back of my piece looks horrific”, cross country stitching refers to jumping over sections of stitches on the back to get to the next part of the chart that calls for a specific colour. Cross country just means you’re “goin cross country” on the back of your fabric to get to the next stitch!


DMC – The most popular brand of basic floss (thread) used in cross-stitch. It comes in hundreds of different colours and effects.


Evenweave – A very popular type of cross-stitch fabric. This fabric is woven with a single thread and stitched over 2 most of the time.


Fiddler’s Cloth – A type of cross-stitch fabric similar to Aida, but slightly more rustic looking. This cloth is slightly more irregular and gives pieces character by providing a more rustic feel.


Floss – Another word used for thread. Comes in many brands and colours. DMC is a major floss/thread manufacturer used for cross-stitch projects.


Floss toss – Taking all charted colours and “tossing” them onto a piece of fabric. This allows stitchers to see the impact of the potential fabrics they are looking at on the final project.


Frog – Oh the infamous frog! Stitchers blame “the frog” when they make a mistake and have to pull out previous stitches to fix it.


Frogging – The act of pulling the stitches out when you have made a mistake! (See Frog above!) This term was coined because frogs say, “ribbit ribbit” much alike “rip it rip it”. We hate the frog!


Fractional Stitches – These stitches are used when you want to smooth out the edges of more intricate designs using curves. You can use fractional stitches give a smoother edge, so you aren’t stuck with the “square-ness” of regular cross stitches. Fractional stitches can be either ¼, ½, or ¾ stitches.


French Knot – A small knot used to define small details in a pattern. If you can’t get the hang of a French Knot (happens all the time), they can be replaced with colonial knots or seed beads.


Full Coverage – A cross-stitch piece that has stitches covering every single block of fabric horizontally and vertically.  HAED (Heaven and Earth Designs) patterns are a good example of full coverage patterns.


Full Stitches – A full traditional cross stitch. Consists of two tent or half stitches to make a full X.


FFO – Finally Finished Object (some refer to this as Finally Framed Object)


FS – Forgotten Stash (or f*ck stitching if you’re just having a day)


Golden Eye – A type of needle made of nickel featuring a gold-plated eye.


HAED – Heaven and Earth Designs. This company has gorgeous patterns available from many different artists. They are full coverage charts, and some are very large, very complex, and have a lot of confetti.


Half Stitch – (see Fractional Stitches above) also called a ‘tent stitch’ this uses one diagonal stitch instead of a full cross-stitch with two threads crossing each other over a square in your fabric.


Hardanger – A cross-stitch fabric made of 100% cotton and 22 count. An excellent fabric for ornaments.


Haul – When you go to a stitchy store and buy some fantastic things to add to your stash! Search #stitchhaul or something similar on Instagram to get a good idea of what this looks like.


Hoop – A circular tool used by stitchers to hold their fabric taught while stitching. Typically made of plastic or bamboo.


Jazlyn – A 28 count evenweave fabric similar to Jobelan. Made of cotton and rayon.


Jobelan – A lovely type of evenweave fabric. It is softer than Aida and is typically made of cotton and rayon/modal.


Kit – Cross-stitch kits come with everything you need to begin a project except for things like scissors and hoops. Kits will include a chart (pattern), thread, needle, and set of instructions. Kits are great for beginners who are looking for an easy and convenient way to start.


Linen – Linen is very similar to evenweave. It is made from 100% linen and has a more traditional/primitive look than evenweave. This fabric is known to have “slubs” and other imperfections that add character to a finished piece.
Different styles include Cashel, Belfast, and Cork. This is typically the most challenging fabric to stitch on.


LNS – Local Needlecraft Store/Shop


Lugana – A gorgeous type of evenweave fabric (our personal favourite!). It is heavy and soft. It is similar to Jobelan and very versatile. It is a blend of cotton and viscose.


Needle Minder – A small decorative piece with a magnet attached to the back that holds your needle for you. Often can be placed directly on fabric or a stitch cart (if you have one) so that you always know your needle is safe.


OAP – Old Abandoned Project


ONS – Online Needlecraft Store/Shop


ORT – Orphaned Random Threads (also known as Old Raggedy Threads). Some stitchers save “ORTs” over the course of a year and make a Christmas ornament out of them using a clear bauble.


Parking – A more advanced stitching technique, parking allows you to use many different needles with different floss colours on each to make it easier when stitching over larger areas. It allows you to move the thread more easily in a pattern that calls for many different colours in a small area.  


PFO – Pulled From Oblivion (You know, the things you haven’t stitched in years but still have some hope of completing!)


PHD – Project Half Done


PAD – Project All Done


Q-Snap – A plastic type of frame (commonly used in the hand quilting world), typically square or rectangular, which allows you to frame up your fabric while you stitch. Q-Snaps are great because they keep the fabric exceptionally tight while stitching. These are typically used as a replacement for regular cross-stitch hoops.

Railroading – To pass the needle between two strands of floss allowing the threads to lie more consistently and neater.


RAK – A “Random Act of Kindness” is when one stitcher does something lovely for someone else. Typically, this involves a stitcher gifting a certain pattern, or a beautiful hand dyed floss, just to show their appreciation for the recipient.


RR – A “Round Robin” refers to a cross-stitch project that is passed from one stitcher to another until its completed. This is a great way to create sentimental pieces that all your stitchy friends have contributed to.


SABLE – Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy (Yes, it happens, quite often.)


SAL – A “Stitch-A-Long” is a project that is broken down into smaller parts that many people stitch together on a specified timeline. Each pattern is released in separate charts and make a larger chart when finished. This is a great way to get started and meet new people in the stitching community!


SIP – Stitching In Progress


Skein – Floss comes in 8m lengths called a skein. For example, 8m of DMC floss comes wrapped in loops, bound by two pieces of paper which tell you the colour code.


Stash – The collection of cross-stitch related notions, patterns, fabric, etc. that we (and now you!) accumulate as the years go by.


Stitching in hand – Stitching on a project without the use of a hoop, Q-snap, or other frame or device.


Stitching Over 2 – This term is used when you are stitching on evenweave or linen fabric. It means that your needle skips over two threads of the weave of fabric before putting the needle back through the fabric to complete the stitch (or half stitch). When using Aida fabric, you are stitching over one. 


TOAD – Trashed Object Abandoned In Disgust


UFO – Unfinished Object


Waste Canvas – Allows you to stitch on fabrics that are not typically cross-stitch friendly. It is used as a guide and is removed after the fact so only the stitching remains.


WIP – Work In Progress


Working Copy – A photocopy of an original chart for personal use only. Used to highlight stitches you have completed and track your progress in a specific pattern.