Can I do a Counted Technique on Regular Fabric?

Can I do a Counted Technique on Regular Fabric?

The easy answer to this is Yes. But you may need to use waste canvas if you want to keep your stitches completely even.

If you have a relatively coarsely woven fabric and can see individual threads well enough to count them, you can work counted techniques directly on the fabric. Keep in mind if you choose to do this, that most fabric (unless it’s manufactured specifically for counted work) is rarely the same count horizontally as it is vertically. It may, for example, be 47 threads per inch on the warp (vertical threads) and 36 for the weft (horizontal threads).

Ethnic Indian Embroidery
Ethnic Indian Embroidery Counted satin stitch on broadcloth

This means that square stitches when counted regularly will stitch as rectangles. Your entire design will look like it has been stretched out in one direction or the other. This effect can be really effective, especially in geometric designs for borders and such. But if you want your design to match your chart, your best shot is to use an evenweave fabric or tack down a piece of waste canvas and use that as a guide to stitch over.

4 Responses to Can I do a Counted Technique on Regular Fabric?

    • Hey Shannon, really it isn’t so much talent. Patience with yourself when you’re learning, yes. But once you’ve wrapped your head around it, it’s what keeps me sane when I’m waiting in lines, in dr’s offices.. etc. A small project can be whipped out just about anywhere!

  1. I’m so happy to have read your posting about using regular fabric for my counted cross stitch … I needed your reassurance. Not having a brick and mortar needlework store close by, I felt forced to shop for natural linen at the fabric store. I’ve used it on several projects with great results although colors are very limited. I just love counted cross stitching!

    • I’m glad it helped! The catch is, of course, always to make sure that if you want perfectly square stitches your fabric is as close to evenweave as you can possibly get it! 🙂 It can be hard with linen made for dressmaking, but it is possible!

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