Stitching On Linens and Other Evenweaves

Linen may be an evenweave or an unevenweave fabric. Sometimes an unevenweave linen is used when recreating old samplers. For the purposes of this FAQ, we'll assume we're always discussing evenweave linens. Other evenweave fabrics are made of cotton, man-made fibres and blends.

For a look at the "Aida vs. linen" debate, see section "1. Selecting the Fabric - Aida vs. Evenweaves/Linen". For information on the fibber content of different fabrics, see the "Needlework FAQ: Fabric".

First, the traditional rule--stitch on Aida using a hoop and stitch on linen and other evenweaves "in the hand". In actual practice, people do whatever works best for them. See section "6. Hoop or Hand?" for a discussion of the "in-the-hand vs. in-a-hoop" debate. See section "30.2 Hoops, Scroll Bars and Such" for more information on the equipment itself.

Evenweaves are generally worked "over two" threads. This means that a 28 count (28 threads per inch) linen produces the same size picture as a 14 count (14 squares per inch) Aida.

Experienced stitchers of evenweaves recommend starting next to a vertical thread. This is easier to explain using a picture.

If you start your X's like "/", then...

Come up at X and go down at Y (or vice versa). If you start your X's the other way, like "\", then...

Reasons for starting next to a vertical thread:

  • Stitches started next to horizontal threads sometimes can roll under to the back side of the fabric.
  • Starting next to a vertical thread makes it easy to tell when you have mistakenly gone over 1 or 3 threads.