Cross Stitch Academy

Glossary of Cross Stitch Terms

In any articles – whether online or in magazines – that talk about cross stitching, you may come across some terms that you don’t immediately understand. To keep things simple, we compiled a list of cross stitch related terms and definitions. In some cases, the term will send you to the corresponding tutorial article on our website.


Aida: One of the most popular brands of fabric used in cross-stitching especially among beginners.

Fabric Count: The number of squares within an inch of fabric. The higher the count, the more squares there are within an inch.

Linen: A type of fabric material from flax used for cross stitching


Anchor: A brand of 6-strand floss used for cross stitching.

DMC: A brand of 6-strand floss used for cross stitching.


Color Key (or Legend): The list of colors with their corresponding thread number that come with the pattern.

Pattern: The actual grid showing what thread to use in each square.


Backstitch: The type of stitch used to draw an outline in your piece.

Blended Stitch: When you use two different colored threads together while stitching.

Fractional Stitches: A half, quarter or three-quarter stitch

French Knot: A raised type of knot, used for example for eyes or flower centers.

Full Cross Stitch: The most common stitch in the shape of an X.

Half Stitch: Just like its name, the half stitch consist of one line, or half the X

Quarter Stitch: When the thread “pierces” the square instead of going in the corners.

Three-Quarter Stitch: A half cross stitch completed followed by a quarter stitch.

Scroll to Top