What do you stitch on?
Well, I always say, that I'll stitch on anything that won't make me feel that I am going blind, ..anything that will give me a set up of x's, consistently throughout.
I have even stitched on napkins, scraps of fabric! When I first started cross stitching, I found it beneficial to learn to stitch on larger aida:
-"Hunca Munca"- (Beatrix Potter)
now, this type of aida is difficult to make it look primitive. I agree. The squares and holes are very apparent. BUT- you have options with aida (I'll explain in a moment)
This aida is fantastic for beginners,kids, labels, Christmas ornaments.
(photo has been zoomed in, the weave of this is actually very tiny and fine.)
My favorite is stitching on linen: (above), usually quite even weave, though this particular one has an uneven weave, which means, if I tried to stitch my x, 2 over 2 strands, my x's would be to fat and short OR to skinny and tall.
Sometimes this is perfectly rectified, compensating by stitching 2 over 3. (As in this case.)
My x's were then square. I have stitched for a long time (2 over 3)that I am used of it, however, stitching on linen requires hole counting, as the fabric is very fine, good glasses, and a spotlight can help greatly. Thus, stitching on linen takes more time. I also use 1 strand off floss. You may also stitch on osnaburg, which may require a 2 over 3 as well.
This is evenweave~ Zweigarts,(above), which is LOVELY to stitch on, however, it can be more costly.
You may get only 2 good sized projects out of 1 package, (unless you are making pinkeeps).
The evenweave is quicker to stitch on than the linen, (or osnaburg), as you may stitch the 2 over 2, which is easier, and requires less hole counting. I reserve this for my special projects, or for projects which require a denser fabric to hang correctly, (such as the case when making a cross stitched bird ornament, for example.)
Aida- 18ct shown~ stitched 1 over 1, single strand of floss.
Now I have read on quite a few stitching type websites, that aida is not the preferred fabric to use, as it is difficult to achieve a true primitive look.? And so, I was turned off it; call it peer pressure? lol
Go ahead and stitch on aida!!just use an 18 count or 22 count which is very fine. In fact, once it is hand dyed in walnut ink, then blowdried (my preferred way- as opposed to using the oven, as the blowdrier locks in the color more evenly. I also blowdry the stichery on a metal pan; the metal heats up and dries it faster. I blowdry it up close.) there is very slight shrinkage of the "holes", and they are masked well.
******TRICK: After you dye your cross stitch, (using walnut ink),back it with white fabric!
This will create an optical illusion, as holes have depth, right? And depth creates shadows, (darkness)- so, by backing the 18 count aida with white fabric, you will see a 60-70% reduction in the perception of the "holes." This only works for the finer aida.(18 & 22ct)
Not only is it an evenweave, but cost effective, holds dye amazingly well, has the stiffness and denseness to hold up for pinkeeps and ornaments, is very satisfying to stitch on (time wise), and creates beautiful, even stitches. When dyed, and backed with the white fabric, it is so similar to other evenweaves.
So yes! aida can be primitive! It is a pleasure to stitch on~ easier on the eyes, and still retains a realistic primitive look~ It is excellent for pillows, pinkeeps, ornaments, or samplers (mounting your sampler behind glass also masks the holes), and, if you wish to make a sampler, you can always use the other fabrics I have mentioned~