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Here you can find the most important and most used embroidery stitches at a glance.


Base stitches run from the bottom left to the top right, while the top stitches run opposite. Important for a uniform embroidery pattern: All top stitches must lie in the same direction.


With stem stitch, the direction of stitching is from left to right.


A spider stitch refers to a staying stitch which emanates outwards radially from a central point.


The blanket stitch is used as a border stitch. This makes it very important, especially in Hardanger embroidery.


These stitches must lie loosely, otherwise it will result in a thin line instead of a chain.


The individual chain stitches are a simple and effective way of stitching flowers.


Here, a vertical cross is stitched over a normal cross-stitch.


The square stitch can be used as a border for motifs.


The direction of stitching is from right to left.


Parallel stitches lying very closely together.


With French knot stitch, the direction of stitching is from right to left.


The branch stitch is usually used as a decorative stitch.


Named after the painter Hans Holbein, who precisely reproduced such embroidery in his paintings.


This technique is like a satin stitch, but only involves individual stitches.


Eyelet stitch is pulled through the fabric.


The bundle stitch is usually used as a decorative stitch.


There are different types of needlework fabrics which can be used for embroidery. The difference between the tissues lies, among other things, in the different types of binding, which are explained here along with other important terms.

What are needlework fabrics?

Needlework fabrics are the most important fabrics for embroidery, since most embroidery techniques can be used on them. They have a clear surface structure and are square, so that warp and weft thread count is always exactly the same. Needlework fabrics have several characteristic features:

  1. The fabrics are absolutely square meshes, above all so that cross-stitches will lie in a nice line and not get crooked and skewed.

  2. Needlework fabrics always have to do with counted embroidery, i.e. stitching over two mesh threads.

  3. Most needlework fabrics have a firmer structure, so that they are easy to embroider even without an embroidery frame. They get soft after being washed.

  4. The most important feature is good countability, which is achieved by weaving the fabrics with great precision. This is especially important with cross-stitch motifs.

  5. Needlework fabrics are also weaved more openly so that they are easier to embroider.

What is a mesh?

A mesh is a textile fabric consisting of two thread systems which cross each other at right angles. With needlework fabrics, warp and weft have the same number of threads.

What is a thread system?

A thread system is an arrangement of many parallel threads of the same lengths. The lengthwise system means warp, the
crosswise system means weft. The warp and weft are interlocked on the loom – a process known as weaving.  The way
the warp and weft cross one another is called the weave. The schematic depiction of the weave is called the drawdown, in which the lifts in the warp threads are shown as dark and the depressions are shown as light.

What are embroidery canvases?

Canvases are open, lattice-like meshes which are generally stitched over or buttoned over. They are almost always support fabrics for wool and other embroidery threads. Our Waste Canvas even makes it possible to embroider uncountable fabrics such as clothing with cross-stitch motifs. Find out more under “Technique.”

What does “cover fabric” mean?

Cover fabrics come in dobby and Jacquard patterns. They also include damasks. Many cover fabrics which we produce
have integrated embroidery options which allows you to decorate the fabric individually with embroideries.

What is an Aida weave?

The Aida weave (also known as Scheindreher or Ajour weave) is derived from plain weave by adding and removing lifts. This
weave typically features square blocks from float stitches of warp and weft threads arranged in a staggered pattern with corners which form tiny holes. This makes Aida the classic base mesh for learning evenweave embroidery.

What is a canvas weave?

Canvas weave, also known as linen weave, is the shortest intertwining of warp and weft. Each warp and each weft thread is
alternately on top and bottom. The stitchers are arranged like a chessboard and the mesh has the same appearance on both sides. The embroidery is usually done over two mesh threads.

What is the difference between dobby and Jacquard weaving?

If the weave repeat of the warp is so large that it can’t be woven with the dobby machine (up to max. 28 dobbies), then a
Jacquard machine is used. Very finely drawn weaves can be produced by lifting individual warp threads (thread intertwinings) – albeit up to a maximum of approx. 30,000. The ability to move each warp thread
individually allows any conceivable pattern to
be woven. Dobby machines enable you to produce simple designs (such as stripes) with a maximum repeat of 28 threads.

What is a weave repeat?

A weave repeat is the minimum number of crossings of warp and weft for a weave pattern. You can weave on a dobby
machine with a weave repeat of up to dobbies. If there are more than 28 dobbies, a Jacquard machine is used.


This is all about the technique of embroidery. Starting with 'What do I need?' To important conversion formulas you will be told a lot about embroidery.

Materials: What do I need to embroider?

Beautiful needlework results depend on more than just your creativity and skill. It’s also important for the fabric which you
want to embroider, the embroidery thread and method you decide on to be well-matched to one another.  You also need the right tools: suitable needles, sharp scissors, an embroidery frame and – if you want to embroider holes – a bodkin, ruler, tape measure, pencil and ballpoint pen.

How do I sew the threads on the back side of my embroidery?

In the case of embroidery, one must note that it’s not possible to make genuine knots on the back of the motifs. Otherwise,
the knots would make the motif look bumpy from the front, for instance if you were to put it in a picture frame. The threads which result on the back of the embroidered motif are thus pulled through the embroidered stitches on the back 
several times and then carefully cut off.n.

When should I use which embroidery needle?

For counted embroidery, always use a needle without a point. For evenweave embroidery (such as white work), use needles with a point which corresponds to the density of the fabric and the embroidery thread.

What do I need an embroidery frame for?

With almost all embroidery techniques, it is much easier to stitch evenly if you pull the base fabric taut in an embroidery frame. However, our fabrics are usually structured to be a bit harder – i.e. stiffer – so that they are easy to embroider even without an embroidery frame. They will feel nice and soft after you wash them afterwards. Note: However, you should keep in mind that the fabrics might also shrink a bit when beeing washed.

How do I convert the specifications from count to cm?

The fineness of a fabric is generally measured based on the number of threads per cm. This means that the more threads per cm, the finer the fabric is and the smaller the embroidered motif will be. For counted embroidery – such as cross-stitch – it is indispensable for the fabric to have the same number of warp and weft threads per cm. In American templates, this is commonly specified in ct. (= count), which denotes the number of threads per inch (1 inch = 2.54 cm). This means that it’s often necessary to convert to the desired unit. Since the Aida weave differs from plain weave in that it is not stitched via two threads, but in holes instead, it is counted “per hole,” and this is referred to as a stitch.

Conversion from ct. to cm: Calculation: count/inch : 2,54 cm/inch  I  Example: 18 ct. in cm → 18 : 2,54 = 7 threads/cm

 Conversion from cm to ct. (count): Calculation: threads/cm * 2,54 cm/inch  I  Example: 7 threads/cm in ct. → 7 * 2,54 = 18 ct.

Large cross-stitch: Calculation: 1 cm : crosses per cm  I Example:  → 1 cm : 6 crosses pro cm = 0,28 cm

Crosses per cm:  Calculation: Threads pro cm : 2  I  Example:  → 7 threads pro cm : 2 = 3,5 Kreuze pro cm

Motif size in cm: Calculation: Number of crosses * cross size  I  Example:  Motif width 20 crosses, Höhe 50 crosses → width: 20 * 0,28 = 5,6 cm  → height: 50 * 0,28 = 14,0 cm

How large will my embroidered image be if I want to embroider on a fabric with a different number of threads?

This question mainly comes up when you want to choose a motif and fabric yourself instead of working with specific instructions where the fabric and motif are already defined. The following calculation formulas apply to fabrics with canvas weave.


Example 1: You want to embroider a motif with cross-stitch in which a cross goes over two mesh threads. The desired motive has a size of 125 * 75 crosses (for example) – you can simply count this from your template. You have chosen BELLANA with 8 threads/cm as a fabric (for example) and would like to know how large the motif will end up being on the fabric before you start embroidering. The following formula will help you do this. You can apply this calculation to all other evenweave fabrics too, of course.
Formula: Number of threads in embroidery area/ number of threads in mesh per cm = embroidery area dimensions in cm
First, you have to calculate how many mesh threads you will need. Since this number is always two, multiple your number of crosses in the motif by two. After that, divide this number by the number of threads in your chosen fabric – in this case, 8 threads for BELLANA. The result gives you the size of your motif. You also have to apply this calculation to the width and height of your motif. In this case, it results in a motif of 19 x 31 cm.(Calculation 1: 125 stitches * 2 mesh threads = 250 threads / 8 = approx. 31 cm / Calculation 2: 75 stitches * 2 mesh threads = 150 threads / 8 = approx. 19 cm)


Example 2: You have instructions with an embroidery motif and the matching fabric. However, you want to know how a different needlework fabric with a number of threads different from that in the instructions and now want to know how large the motif will be on the other kind of fabric. Let’s say the instructions use DAVOSA with 7.1 threads/cm and the motif would be 50 * 60 cm on it. But you want to embroider on BELLANA with 8 threads / cm. How large will your motif be now?
Formula: Embroidery area dimensions in cm * number of threads in mesh pro cm = total number of threads in embroidery area
Now you have to multiple the width and height of the embroidery area by the fabric’s number of threads from the instructions (in this case 7.1 threads/cm) in order to arrive at the total number of threads. In order to calculate the size of the motif on the new fabric, you have to divide the result by the new fabric’s number of threads (in this case 8 threads/cm). So if you wanted to embroider the motif on a BELLANA, the motif would have a size of 44 * 53 cm.(Calculation 1: 50 cm * 7.1 threads/cm = 355 threads: 8 threads/cm = approx. 44 cm / calculation 2: 60 cm * 7.1 threads/cm = 426 threads: 8 threads/cm = approx. 53 cm)


Pay attention with Aida weaves: Since, unlike plain weaves, Aida weaves are not stitched with two threads, but with holes instead, it is important to note the following: a motif on Aida fabric will be half as large as on a plain weave if embroidered on the same count number. This means that an Aida fabric specifying 5.4 cm to 14 ct. would have to be stitched on a plain weave mesh of 10.7 cm to 27 ct. so that it will be exactly as large.


How can I embroider uncountable fabrics with cross-stitch pattern?

Uncountable fabrics (clothing, bags, etc.) can be embroidered on in cross-stitch pattern with the help of Waste Canvas. Our Waste Canvas is a canvas in which the mesh threads are only held together with starch, so that they will come apart from one another in water. The canvases used for this are our Articles 500 and 510. They come in various stitch numbers from 2.6 to 18 count, so that you can determine the size of the cross-stitches (and thus that of the embroidery motif) yourself. For the specific execution, cut the canvas 8 – 10 cm larger than the embroidery motif and staple it to the fabric. Once the motif has been fully embroidered, moisten the embroidery with a bit of water and pull the canvas out of the embroidery thread by thread using tweezers (or similar). You have now embroidered a motif embroidered with cross-stitches on an uncountable fabric.


How do I transfer motifs for free embroidery onto my fabric?

These methods are primarily intended for free embroidery. Other embroidery is stitched according to a pattern. Before you can start stitching in freehand embroidery, you have to transfer the selected motifs to the fabric. There are three different approaches to achieve this:


Method 1: First, trace the pattern drawing from the book onto parchment with a pencil. Then place the drawing onto the fabric to be embroidered (make sure to place it correctly in the process), slide tailor copy paper in between and carefully trace the lines on the paper with a ball-point pen. After that, spray the contours onto the fabric with an environmentally friendly fixative spray so that the lines do not smear while you’re embroidering. This method is usually suitable fire linen, half-linen, cotton and silk, whose surface is usually smooth.


Method 2: Trace the motif on white organza with a pencil and spray it with fixative spray. You can also draw a pattern on organza with coloured felt pens. This lets you know if you really like the colour idea. Then, staple the organza to the fabric. The organza around the motif must be at least large enough for it to fit well into an embroidery frame. Later, it is cut off close to the finished embroidery and the remaining organza threads are plucked out with a pair of tweezers. This is the only good way to embroider wool, velvet and terry.


Method 3: Do not use organza for white work. You can also draw everything onto parchment with a pencil and iron it onto smooth fabric. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package in doing so! The best thing to do is make a sample to make sure the motif is positioned correctly.


What should I pay attention to when taking care of the needlework I embroidered?

  1. Use fine laundry detergent without brighteners.

  2. Always wash colourful, folkloric embroideries separately, because excess dye may bleed out otherwise.

  3. Only spin slightly and do not fill up the machine too much. Also, do not rub, always just press on it gently.

  4. If you are used wool embroidery thread, you should wash by hand – otherwise your needlework could get matted in the machine!

  5. Wash embroidery with synthetic and metallic threads as carefully as possible, since metallic thread is prone to splitting.

  6. Don’t dry in a dryer – otherwise the fabrics will run!

  7. Hang up cotton embroideries immediately after washing and roll up wool embroideries in absorbent cloth.

  8. Iron from left on a soft underlay so that the pattern becomes ductile on the front side.

  9. Linen and linen blends should be ironed with slight moisture.

  10. Stain treatment: Place light embroidery in Wipp or laundry detergent overnight.