Cross Stitch Fabric Count: What Does It Mean?

The definition of cross stitch fabric count

Aida Fabric
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Cross stitch fabric count? What does it mean? Why do we even need to know? Can't we just cross stitch and not worry about count? Well, yes we can just stitch but knowing a few of the basics will make the work go faster, easier and the whole cross stitch experience will be more pleasurable. Let's check out what fabric count is and how it can benefit your cross stitch project. 

Most of the fabrics used in cross stitch are Aida or a finer linen so that is what we will be referring to in the definition.



Fabric Count of even weave fabrics such as Aida or linen refers to the number of threads or squares per linear inch in the material.

Common fabric counts of Aida range from 10 to 22 squares per inch. You will mostly see 12,14,16,18 in projects. The higher the count between inches, the smaller the stitch.

Linen fabric counts are based on threads per inch can be as high as 32 threads per inch or more.

Fabric counts are referred to by naming the number of threads or squares per inch and adding -count. Thus, fabric with 11 squares-per-inch is called 11-count fabric.

Sometimes you will see a project say threads per inch, this also means square per inch. 

Knowing the definition of fabric count is a great way to work on big projects. It is an easy way to break down big patterns into smaller manageable pieces. 

There are many sites that can help with counting the cross stitch or with more in-depth information about fabric count.

Yarn Treet has a great thread count calculator on their site. You simply put in the measurements of the project and she will calculate the size for you. You can see the free calculator.

Another great piece of info is this video on YouTube. You can see fabric count broken down via video. Sometimes this is easier for people to grasp the concept because you can actually see and hear someone explain it.


Fabric count is essential to a well-made project. You can certainly stitch anyway you wish but knowing what counts are and how they work into fabric will help you gauge the size of a project. You can adjust your pattern to fit whatever style and size you want. You can increase or decrease the size if you have the knowledge of fabric weave count.