If you're feeling a little rusty about the different types of stitching fabrics, it might be a good time to go back and review
Important! The link you use above corresponds with which prerequisite course you started with.
For this course, Stitchery Crossover in Color, blocks and lessons, generally, I'll stick with two basic types of fabric - evenweave (Lugana or Jobelan), and Aida - in thread counts that achieve 14 stitches per inch and 16 stitches per inch. For reference, 28-count Lugana was provided in both the Mia Rosa and Piazza kits. Stitches were worked one stitch over two threads, yielding 14 stitches per inch.
14 stitches per inch is far-and-away the most common/popular thread count throughout the stitching universe.
It's your project, so you can choose a larger weave if you prefer! BUT, you'll be on your own with the math used to calculate the block sizes and fabric requirements. I'll provide details for 28 count evenweave (14 count aida) and 32 count evenweave (16 count aida).
If the math intimidates you, and you still want to count fewer holes, I recommend trying 14 count aida rather than switching to a larger fabric weave. Aida isn't my first choice for Stitchery Crossover projects, but it is a perfectly viable option. More on this below.
Test first! Before you stock up on any stitchery fabric options that you aren't already familiar with, try stitching a small project first before investing in yards and yards.
Linen? I do NOT recommend linen for Stitchery Crossover projects because the linen threads can vary considerably in thickness. Plus, I haven't personally tested the 'washability' of Stitchery Crossover blocks made with linen.
However, just because I don't recommend it, you may use linen as your stitchery fabric if you prefer. Consider testing the launder-ability in a quilt-like project before proceeding with a large-scale Stitchery Crossover project.
One consideration you'll have to face right away as you begin to make choices toward your Stitchery Crossover in Color quilt blocks is stitchery fabric color. My recommendations follow:
Avoid hand-dyed stitchery fabrics. They're lovely, but they may create a distracting element for a stitchery crossover project. If you decide to go with a hand-dyed stitchery fabric of any kind, be sure to test for color-fastness, my second reason that I prefer to avoid them - the dye may run.
Ultimately, we're making quilt blocks, and most quilt blocks may eventually be washed. No need to invest in beautifully hand-dyed stitchery fabric if the color will go down the drain--or into adjacent fabric--on the first wash.
To test colorfastness, cut off a small square of fabric from your hand-dyed stitchery fabric selection with pinking shears and wash it rigorously by hand or machine. Compare the swatch to the rest of the fabric to make sure the color hasn't faded.
Avoid very dark fabrics like black or navy. They can be beautifully dramatic when stitched, but they are difficult to see threads and spaces. If your project is a multi-block long-haul affair, working with dark fabrics can cause eye strain, even with bright lights, magnifiers, and excellent eyesight. If you just can't get past the allure of using dark stitching fabric, test it with a small project and see what you think. Try putting a white sheet of paper or piece of fabric on your lap as you stitch so you can more easily see the spaces and threads as you stitch. Ask yourself seriously if you'd be happy using that fabric for a long period of time, such as a year, then make your decision.
Choose white, antique white, or a pale, soft color like pale yellow, green, baby blue, or ivory stitchery fabric. I have more Antique White stitchery fabric in my stash than any other color.
IMPORTANT: Note that it can be very hard to judge colors online, so before you buy in bulk, purchase a smaller quantity to make sure you love, love, LOVE the stitch fabric color.
PLUS: It's YOUR project, if you're planning a Stitchery Crossover in Color project with more than one block, there's no rule that the stitchery fabric used in each block has to match! As you plan, don't rule out using a variety of stitchery fabric colors in your project.
I'm sure you're sick to death of my saying this, but I ALWAYS prefer evenweave over aida for a Stitchery Crossover project. Evenweave was in your prerequisite Mia Rosa or Piazza kit. Evenweave has a softer, more 'quilty' hand, and I like the flexibility the thread lines and spaces provide for fractional stitches and for quilt fabric placement (discussed in more detail in a later lesson).
However, you are not restricted to a kit for this project, and I understand that it can be difficult to count the spaces and threads with evenweave fabric. Since there are no fractional stitches with blackwork, you may wish to use aida for your stitchery fabric of choice with your Stitchery Crossover in Color project.
If you're not already familiar with stitching on Aida, I highly recommend you test Aida on a small stitchy project to be sure that's what you want to use for a long-haul project.
The samples appearing throughout the course will be done on evenweave in antique white, in either 28 count or 32 count fabric (one stitch worked over two threads) No surprise, right?
I saved the most important aspect of stitchery fabric selection for last. I can't emphasize enough, for these initial planning stages of your project, it's important to note that the size of your quilt block is predicated on the thread count of your stitchery fabric.
The first page of each Peppermint Purple Study in Colour chart has an indication of the finished size of the stitching using 14 count, 18 count, and 20 count. I happen to use 16-count quite often, even though it's not listed on the chart.
When stitching on aida, 14 count aida yields 14 stitches per inch.18 count aida yields 18 stitches per inch.
Because the chart says so, we know that the stitching area is 116 stitches square. That means:
Notice that I used the stitches per inch, not the fabric count to calculate the measurement. Also notice that the size of the stitched area is approximate.
To coin a phrase from the 'Pirates Code' from the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I consider these measurements to be guidelines. With all the stretching and stitching, I have found that my actual measurements can vary from what they're supposed to be. Quilters who are used to precise measurements (except for the rare occasion requiring a bid of 'fudging' to make things fit) this characteristic can be maddening! Roll with it! We're in a strange new world, now.
To determine the size of fabric needed for a Stitchery Crossover in Color block, take the approximate measurement of one stitched side, and add at least 4". The result is the size of each side of the Stitchery fabric square. When the design is centered on the stitchery cloth, fabric a 2" unstitched fabric frame around the stitching is the result.
If you're shopping at a local stitchery shop, you could typically ask for a piece of fabric in the exact size needed. When shopping online, typically the smallest fabric size is a fat quarter. Since stitchery fabric measures about 55" from selvage to selvage (in contrast to 42-44" of selvage to selvage quilting cotton), a fat quarter of stitchery fabric would normally be 18x27". With a fat quarter of stitchery fabric, you'd have enough fabric for at least two blocks for all the thread counts shown.
A metric fat quarter is slightly larger.
Note: While the measurements above assume 55" selvage to selvage measurements, always check the fabric description for the width of fabric measurement.
Going forward, since these are likely to be the most common sizes, I'll keep the calculations to the 28 (14) count and 32 (16) count stitchery fabrics.
A shopping list, in the last topic in this lesson, will include stitchery fabric in basic quantities matching the descriptions above.
Stitchery fabric color and thread count will factor into your choice of stitching fiber and quilt fabric border selections. While you don't have to purchase any one of them before the other, none of the selections happen in a void. They all interconnect in the end project, so they depend on each other. Consider how all the pieces will come together before deciding on any one element.
This is another reason why I almost always choose a variation of white. I can make white work in this context with almost any quilt fabric.
At any rate, your stitchery fabric decision will play a direct role in the rest of the measurements needed to complete your shopping list.
Are we having fun yet? I hope so!
Whenever possible, I like to purchase my supplies from local shops. That means a local embroidery shop for stitchery fabric. Not a lot of those out there, so if you happen to have a favorite local shop, I encourage you to support them.
However, it may be difficult to purchase the quantity of stitchery fabric needed for a Stitchery Crossover in Color project, particularly if you're planning to make a 12-block quilt. As an alternative, there are a couple of online shops I use and recommend:
Both these online shops carry a lot of other cross stitch and blackwork supplies, so you can do a fair amount of 'damage' on your stitchery wish list. However, I almost only purchase evenweave fabrics between these two sources.
It's really difficult to shop for colors online, so consider ordering a smaller quantity to start, then if you decide that's 'the one,' go back and order enough for your project.
Remember that Stitchery fabric is typically 55" wide, selvage to selvage.