Glossary of Cross-Stitch Terms

In any articles – whether online or in magazines – that talk about cross-stitching, you make come across some terms that you don’t immediately understand. I mean, that’s what I did the first time I heard of a French knot! To keep things simple, I compiled a list of cross-stitch related terms along with their definitions, so you can bookmark this article to refer to it whenever it is needed.

This article is a one-stop cross-stitch glossary. In some cases, the term will redirect you to the corresponding tutorial article on this website. It will constantly be updated so be sure to check in constantly.

Note: This list of definitions and terms are organized thematically.



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.