Warp and Weft and Why and Why Not

Does it matter which way the fabric's warp and weft threads go when doing a counted cross stitch project?

In weaving, warp threads run up-and-down while weft threads run side-to-side. The selvage runs up-and-down, in the same direction as the warp threads.

Some people recommend stitching on a project so that the warp threads go from top to bottom, with the selvage at the side. If a finished project is to be suspended from the top, such as a bell pull, it could make a difference.

Do the warp and weft directions generally affect counted cross stitch? There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. If you notice a difference, then do what works best.

If you want to determine the warp and weft on a piece of linen that has no selvage:

  • Remove a thread from each direction. The warp thread will be straighter and the weft thread will be wavier.
  • If the fabric is square, remove a thread from each direction. The shorter thread is the warp and the longer thread is the weft.
  • Lightly stretch the fabric. The warp threads won't stretch as much as the weft threads.
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