Linen fabric, also called Cashel, makes stitches visually pop and creates a smooth, attractive background. Cross stitching on linen isn't difficult, but it does require a little focus and practice. Here's a tutorial on how to cross stitch on linen!
What is Cashel?
Linen is often called Cashel, which is a 54" wide fabric that is made from 100% linen fiber. It is an evenweave, meaning it has evenly spaced warp and weft yarn. Most evenweave Cashel comes in 28 count, which is equivalent to 14 count Aida cloth. Cashel comes in a great variety of colors, including heathered tones and sparkle. We're going to refer to Cashel as "linen" for the remainder of this article as the terms are interchangeable, with "Cashel" mostly being used to distinguish between evenweave linen for cross stitch and linen for sewing.
A close-up of evenweave linen (Cashel) in front of a light
Preparing Linen for Cross Stitch
If your linen is wrinkled at all, press it with a hot iron and steam. Make sure to only iron it with the grain (move the iron up and down or side to side) and not diagonally, as that can distort the weave. Use a spritz of Flatter or Best Press for really stubbon wrinkles.
1. The most important thing about cross stitching on linen is to remember you are going over TWO warp and TWO weft yarns for every stitch. Picture a hashtag or pound sign # under each stitch, and you are stitching in the 4 outer holes, treating the 2 warp and weft yarns as one. Just as for Aida cross stitch (read that post here-- it's the same technique, just crossing 2 strands up and down instead of the one in Aida,) come up the lower left hole and down the upper right. Pull taut but not tight.
2. Come up the lower right hole and down the upper left. Look at your work and make sure you crossed 2 warp and 2 weft, and that the strands are perpendicular to each other and on the straight of grain (not diagonal.) I promise the first few stitches on linen are the hardest--once you have more than one stitch to referece, it's much easier.
|To use linen in a charted cross stitch pattern, each square on the pattern represents 1 stitch. Keep crossing over 2 warp and 2 weft for each stitch. To count out to the side or above or below to know where to stitch next, be sure to count 2 strands as 1--the picture to the left shows only 2 stitches and would be represented on the pattern as 2 boxes, even though there are technically 4 yarns.|
Tips & Tricks
- Use a Q-Snap frame instead of an embroidery hoop-- the round shape of the hoop tends to distort the weave and makes harsh creases in the fabric. I can't emphasize enough how much easier my life became when I converted to Q-Snap frames!
- Whether you prewash your linen (hand wash and dry flat) or not is up to you, but I'd recommend it only if the final design will be washed (like tea towels or pillowcases.) Washing can wrinkle and shrink the fabric, and it can be tricky to re-align the grain after washing. Most good quality linens will come to you flat and perfect, ready to stitch and frame upon finishing.
Cross Stitch Kits with Linen:
More posts about cross stitch: