Term of the Week: Aida

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In this week’s Term of the Week we dive into the different types of fabric available to stitchers!

Aida (also called aida cloth and java canvas) is a type of even-weave fabric designed specifically for needlework such as cross-stitch and embroidery. It is a stiff material that softens as you work, which is ideal for stitching in hand, but a hoop or a frame can be used also.

All aida cloth is even-weave fabric, but not all even-weave fabric is aida cloth. It’s the most popular fabric for cross-stitch and comes in a variety of colors. It’s the fabric packaged in most kits.

Aida is often called a beginner’s fabric due to the perfect squares formed by the even-weave as well as the fabric’s natural stiffness. It is not good for fractional stitches due to its stiffness. In order to make fractional stitches (such as quarter and three quarter stitches) the stitcher has to “punch through” the fabric’s middle square.

More advanced stitchers prefer to use pure even-weave and/or even-weave linen rather than aida, especially for larger projects and projects with lots of fractional stitches. Some stitchers, however, prefer to use aida for all their stitching. Just like many other things in cross-stitch, it’s all a matter of preference!

By Wikipedia.it et Wikipedia.en (Wikipédia italien) via Wikimedia Commons

An example of Aida Cloth fabric.
By Wikipedia.it et Wikipedia.en (Wikipédia italien) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: Confetti Stitching

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This week there will be an extra Term of the Week because the article I wrote to go up on Wednesday, was somehow erased and saved and could not be retrieved. Soooo an extra Term of the Week instead and I’ll rewrite the article for another week.

So, what is Confetti Stitching? No, it’s not a specific technique or a different kind of stitch!

First let’s look at the actual definition for confetti, courtesy of Dictionary.Reference.com:

Confetti
( used with a singular verb ) small bits of paper, usually colored, thrown or dropped from a height to enhance the gaiety of a festive event, as a parade, wedding, or New Year’s Eve party.
An example of confetti.

An example of confetti.

So that’s what confetti actually is, but what’s confetti stitching? Well, it’s a similar thing. Confetti Stitching is having a bunch of different colors in one area, usually a 10 by 10 square. It’s called confetti due to the stitches looking like the small bits of colored paper once you’ve finished the area.

Most stitchers hate confetti stitching because it’s difficult to keep your stitching neat when you have to carry your thread all over the place. Starting and stopping your thread can be difficult as well. However some people love it!  It’s the beauty of cross-stitch – we all have different tastes and preferences.

How much confetti stitching do you usually do in a project? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Leave a comment below!

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: Needle Minder

TofW9I had never heard of this Term of the Week until a little while ago, and I had to share it with my readers!

This term actually goes by many names – needle minder, needle parker, or needle magnet are the three that I’ve heard the most associated with this term.

So what exactly is a Needle Minder?

Cat Needle Minder from 123Stitch.com

A Needle Minder is pretty much exactly what you would think it would be: it is a powerful magnet that you place in your work area or on your project as a way to hold your needles. That way the needle can’t get lost by rolling off your work area or falling out of your fabric. It saves a lot of trouble of losing needles and having people find them later by stepping on them or sitting on them.

While you can stick a magnet near your work area and let that be that, most Needle Minders are decorated with a picture or design on top of the magnet. The pictures and designs to choose from are endless, and if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, it’s easy to find someone who can custom make one for you (or you can make it yourself)!

For some more examples of Needle Minders and the different designs available, check out 123Stitch.com.

While I don’t own a Needle Minder yet, it’s definitely the next thing I want to add to my cross-stitching stash!

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: Rotation

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This week’s Term of the Week is an interesting one. It’s a term a lot of stitchers might actively do without actually knowing the name for it!

As always, let’s first turn to our handy Dictionary.Reference.com for our technical definition before we dive into the stitchy definition:

Rotation
1. the act of rotating; rotary motion
2. a regular cycle of events in a set order or sequence

The stitcher’s definition combines a lot of the technical definition into one big definition rather than all those separate ones. A rotation involves a set number of WIPs or UFOs you are working on at a time, and you cycle, or rotate, through them at a set pace.

For example, I have three cat-themed WIPs that I’m working on. When I sit down to work on them, I work on them all, and rotate through them once I’ve worked on one for a certain amount of time or gotten a certain amount of stitches done. I call these cat-themed pieces my “Cat Rotation”. I originally had it on a schedule that I’d work on one piece for one week, another piece the next week, and then spend the next two weeks working on my big cat piece. It was my ‘Rotation Schedule.’

Some people use ‘rotation’ in a much broader sense. They may have 15 WIPs going at a time, and they use the term ‘rotation’ to refer to all of them, and they work on whatever piece they feel like working on at the time. “I’m working on my tiger piece right now! Hopefully I don’t have any more to add to the rotation or I’ll never get done!” Other people follow a much stricter definition, only working on a small number at a time, rotating every week or every other week or after 100 stitches.

However you view ‘rotation’, if you happen to have a bunch of pieces you’re working on, and you cycle between them, you might have a rotation and not even know it!

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: ORT

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Our Term of the Week this week is a fun one, and one that can be useful to those who like making projects from bits and pieces!

The word “ort” means different things depending on the context it’s being used in. To stitchers, the word is an acronym (hence why I capitalized the letters), but before we dive into the stitchy definition let’s take a look at the common definition through Dictionary.Reference.com:

ORT
Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

The stitcher’s definition matches up for the most part with the actual definition. “ORT” is an acronym meaning “Old Raggedy Threads.” What are old raggedy threads? They are the bits and pieces, the “scraps” if you will, of the threads that you cut away when you’re stitching. They are the leftover threads from kits or extra bits and bobs of fabric and thread you have lying around.

Really any leftover waste material that you can’t (or don’t want to) reuse is considered an ort. The stitcher’s definition is so close to the actual definition of the word (except referring to crafting instead of food) that some people don’t even think of it as an acronym.

This is the fun bit: stitchers most use the word “ort” when they are talking about their ORT jars. What are ORT jars? Jars to hold your ort, of course! People will fill their jars with their leftover bits of fabric and thread. Some people will use them as display items when they get full, others will empty the jars outside for the birds to use in their nests, and others will use the pile as stuffing for pin cushions or mini pillows.

It’s a fun and creative way to turn what would otherwise be trash into a beautiful display piece that helps the environment!

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: BAP

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For this Term of the Week we start into our stitchy acronyms, and this week’s is a fun one, albeit not something you would want to say around the kids!

BAP stands for a couple different things, depending on the version you want to use.

The original version of BAP stands for Big Ass Project. I’ve also heard it stand for Bad Ass Project. The more family-friendly version stands for Big Awesome Project or Big Ambitious Project.

The definition means pretty much exactly what one would think it means: a very large or unusual project that will be a grand undertaking on some level.

What qualifies as a BAP depends on the stitcher. For some, like me, anything over the standard 5 x 7 project size can be considered a BAP. For others, a project has to be truly enormous to be considered a BAP. For others still, as long as the piece is ambitious or different from what they usually stitch, it’s a BAP!

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: Frogging

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Frogging

Ah, the dreaded frog. This term is despised among stitchers and once we go over the definition hopefully you’ll understand why. And we’ll put a name to the deed, because we all do it.

So what is frogging? Frogging is the act of having to undo all the prior stitches due to an error or mistake of some sort. It can also be called picking, or unpicking, but frogging seems to be the most popular term for the act.

In case the definition still seems a little confusing here’s an example: say you’re working on a cross-stitch project of an angel and stitch the wings. After you’ve done about half the wing you realize you missed a few stitches! So now the whole count is off AND you stitched in the wrong color! Oh no! You have to take out all of the stitches (or even cut them out) and start all over again.

That is called “frogging,” and that’s why everyone hates it. It is a representation of having to re-do a ton of work on your project. It’s also unavoidable; very rarely can you get through a project without having to frog at least once.

Why do people call it “frogging”? I just discovered this while planning the article. In English, the sound a frog makes is written and vocalized as “ribbit.” Change a few letters around and you get “rip it, rip it,” which is what you have to do when pulling out your stitches! Hence the frog has become the mascot of the dreaded act.

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: Stash

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There are two things that make our term of the week pretty easy to cover. For one thing, it applies to any artisan who has a supply of materials, and for another, every stitcher has one. Whether small, large, or extremely large (as the case often is), a stitcher’s stash remains the same no matter what kind of a stitcher someone claims to be, and can often be a conversation piece or a bragging right.

So what exactly does ‘stash’ mean? Once again I turn to Dictionary.Reference.com for my technical definition:

Stash
2. something put away or hidden: ex. a stash of gold coins buried in the garden.
3. a place in which something is stored secretly; hiding place; cache.

A stitcher’s stash matches up to the technical definition for the most part: it is a stitcher’s supply of materials, charts, scissors, kits, magazines, needles, fabric, hoops, frames, etc., which is stored in any and all manners of ways. It is generally hidden away from non-stitchers and other family in the house because of the stash’s large size; ask anyone who is a passionate stitcher how large their stash is and often times the answer will be “more than I can stitch in my lifetime.”

Because I’ve only been wholly devoted to cross-stitch for about a year, my stash is very small. I did, however, inherit some of my grandmother’s and all of my mother’s stash, and ever since I’ve started a thrift store hunt for any and all cross-stitch goods my stash has swelled and is swelling. (It doesn’t help that my boyfriend’s parents gave me a generous amount of money for Hobby Lobby from Christmas!)

Here are some examples of a stash:

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: UFO

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UFO

Our Term of the Week may sound unusual to an outsider – and trust me, when I first saw ladies using it in one of my Facebook cross-stitch groups I had no idea what on Earth they were talking about. I had to Google it, and of course the results were all about aliens and space ships, so I didn’t find my answer until after I added “cross-stitch” to the search.

To the cross-stitch community, UFO stands for UnFinished Object. What does this mean? Whenever a person is working on a cross-stitch (or anything really), that project is known as a WIP, or work in progress. Sometimes along the road the project gets put aside or put on hold, for any length of time. That’s when the project moves from being a WIP to a UFO, or Unfinished Object.

The biggest use of UFO in the cross-stitching community is a part of what’s known as UFO Wednesday. It is an event that the community has created to help people fit stitching into their busy lives. While the title suggests that Wednesday is the best day to do it, it can take place on any day of the week whenever you have time to stitch. The object is to pick up a UFO or a WIP and get as much done as you feel like doing. Overall it’s very relaxed “rules” and it’s just a day to have fun and enjoy stitching! 🙂

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

Term of the Week: Cross-Stitch

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Cross-Stitch

So I figured the very first term in our cross-stitcher’s dictionary should be the word the dictionary is based around!

What is cross-stitching? A simple search through a dictionary would give you the short-and-sweet technical answer. I pulled this definition off Dictionary.Reference.com:

Cross-Stitch
1. a stitch in which pairs of diagonal stitches of the same length cross each other in the middle to form an X.
2. embroidery or needlepoint done with this stitch.
3. verb: to work in cross-stitch.

cross-cross-stitch

An example of cross-stitch.


To put it simply the word “cross-stitch” covers three things: a type of embroidery stitch, the needlework that uses the stitch, and a verb for the act of making the stitch (although I’ve only ever seen it used like “I stitch” or “I’m stitching” but I’m sure they’re just shorthand for the word itself). Seems like a simple and easy enough concept to understand.

But I’d like to dip a little further into the term than just what the dictionary says. Term of the Week is supposed to be about words and phrases that can’t be so easily understood by a technical definition found in the actual dictionary (or they may not be in the dictionary at all), and I don’t want to leave a word with such a huge amount of meaning with only a small definition.

Ask anyone who cross-stitches what the craft means to them. In my Facebook groups about the craft ladies ask the question “Why do you cross-stitch?” all the time, and the answers are usually very similar. Cross-stitch is fun. It’s an easy craft that consist of pretty much just two stitches, cross-stitch and backstitch, and has charts and kits in all shapes and sizes for all levels of experience.

I own an old cross-stitch magazine from 1989 with a comic that reads, “Cross-stitching is my therapy!” Cross-stitch is so easy it can be learned completely by yourself, and if you poll people “self taught” is almost always the only answer. (I heard about a girl being taught in Girl Scouts once; boy I wish they’d done that in my local Girl Scouts!)

To round things off I think I’ll try to sum our Term of the Week up with this: cross-stitch is more than doing needlework. It is a joy, a passion, and a hobby for a lot of different people. It’s how some people relax and de-stress, and the pieces one makes for family and friends will last a lifetime.

Back many centuries ago, girls used embroidery and needlework to demonstrate their prowess in womanly skills, and the pieces they made became heirlooms passed down through generations. Now they hang or sit in museums on display for everyone to see. And who wouldn’t love a hobby that could do that?

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“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!

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