Frogging in cross stitch is something we all hate to do, but if you’re wondering what it means, you’re about to learn some of the other lingo that’s specific to our beloved craft. This glossary of terms and materials for cross stitch will grow as we think of it or you ask us questions.

Cross Stitch Terms You Must Know


A popular type of cross-stitch cloth, great for beginners due to its even weave and stiffness.


The mercerized embroidery thread used in cross-stitch, typically composed of six individual threads or plies. DMC is generally regarded as the best quality floss – it’s colour-fast, has a brilliant range of colours, and is widely available so it’s easy to get. Other quality brands include Anchor, Semco, and Cosmo.

Tapestry Needle

A needle with a large eye and blunt round point designed for tapestry and cross-stitch projects.

Embroidery Hoop

A tool used to keep the fabric taut while working on cross-stitch projects.


A way of describing a fabric that’s great for cross stitching, and a type of fabric where the threads of the fabric itself are of even thickness and spacing, so that when you stitch on it, you get perfect little crosses.

Aida is one type of even weave. You’ll also hear about linen, Lugana, Jobelin, and others. And you’ll hear about other things to stitch on, like plastic canvas and even phone cases made of drilled wood.

Techniques and Stitches

Whole Cross-Stitch

The main stitch used in cross-stitch, forming a full x-stitch.

Fractional  Cross Stitch

As the name says, this is a part stitch. It could be 1/4, 1/2, 3/4. This type of stitch helps to create curved lines, subtle shading, and intricate designs that a full cross stitch may not capture.


A line of stitches used to define a motif or add details to a cross-stitch project.

French Knot

A knotty stitch worked by wrapping the thread around the needle, used to add texture.

Danish Cross-Stitch

A method of stitching half cross-stitches in one direction and then completing the crosses in the other direction, ideal for large areas of the same color.

Cross-Stitch Acronyms

FO (Finished Object)

Refers to a completed cross-stitch project.

UFO (Unfinished Object)

Projects that have been started but not completed.

WIP (Work in Progress)

An ongoing cross-stitch project.


The process of ripping out stitches in your project after making a mistake. It’s a term used across many handcrafts where you might have to “rip-it rip-it” (ribbit ribbit – like a frog – geddit? :)) like knitting, crochet, embroidery and sewing.

Patterns and Charts

Cross-Stitch Chart/Pattern

The guide that tells you where to stitch and what color to use.

PDF Pattern

A digital file type for downloadable patterns. It can be used on Windows, Mac, Android and other devices because it’s platform-independent.

Gridlines, Gridding

Gridlines are the heavier lines printed on cross stitch patterns that help you count and align your stitches accurately.

Gridding is creating gridlines on fabric, to help count and align stitches with the pattern.


A piece of cross-stitch produced to record samples of stitches or patterns.


This is a great app for your mobile device, to help you keep track of your patterns and your current project.

Symbols Key

A symbols key links symbols to their corresponding floss colors. Each symbol represents a specific color.

Special Threads and Effects

Mouliné Étoile

A DMC thread with a twinkle effect for a delicate shimmer.

Variegated Thread

Embroidery thread that changes color along its length, creating tonal patterns.

Stitching Methods

Confetti Stitches

Isolated cross stitches scattered around your design.

Loop/Knotless Method

A way of starting your cross-stitch that secures the thread without a knot.


Parking is usually done when working on intricate and complex designs with multiple colors. You ‘park’ your thread in the fabric so you can pick them up when needed.


This technique involves guiding the needle between the threads of floss as you create each stitch, so the threads lay next to one another on your fabric, rather than twisting together.

Our Free Printable Cross Stitch Ruler

Our Free Printable Cross Stitch Ruler

Get our Free Printable Cross Stitch Ruler!

Never puzzle over Aida fabric size again!

Our Free Printable Cross Stitch Ruler is the perfect tool for helping you to identify fabric counts fast.

Just type your name and email below and it will be on the way to you instantly.

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