How To - Cross-Stitch Using Black Aida Cloth

How To - Cross-Stitch Using Black Aida Cloth

About Aida cloth itself

Aida cloth was first created by a company in Germany called Zweigart, back in the late 1800's. It is a type of cotton evenweave that is made to be a mesh to display tiny squares with even tinier holes, indicating where the crafter should stitch each little cross-stitch.

As touched on in a previous post, Aida cloth comes in varying sizes. The most widely used size is 14 ct, which basically means that for every 1 inch, there is 14 little squares across/high.
So the higher the count number, the smaller your finished work will be!

Varying colours

Generally, Aida cloth comes in varying shades of white ( Yes, no one white is the same!) as it is easy to stitch on, simple & more cost-effective to create and doesn't overpower how a finished piece looks in its final state.

It can be dyed, stained and even painted but generally unless it's a very dark colour (or black), you won't have any issues with stitching your pattern on it at all.

So what's the big deal about stitching with black Aida?

If you've had the pleasure of stitching using black Aida cloth, you know how difficult it is to use. Yes, patterns can look absolutely amazing on it as it brings out a totally different dimension, style and illusion to a piece. However, if you've never cross-stitched using this, just know; it is notoriously difficult to work with. Especially if you stitch a lot at nighttime!

Stitches on black Aida up close from the pattern *Flat Earth*
Stitches on black Aida up close

Some awesome examples of pieces stitched using black Aida

Don't be turned off!

Despite the difficulty that black Aida cloth can give you, it can produce some amazing completed pieces. Don't you think?

I highly recommend giving it a try. To make the most of it in the final product, you do want to stitch using a pattern that includes white-space ( vacant space with no stitches on it) so the black becomes a part of the finished product, in a way.

There's no hard and fast rule of course!

So how do I work with it?

I have two recommendations for you when working with black Aida cloth.

  1. Work in a well-lit room/outside in daylight and have a white or light-coloured cloth over your lap (or wear white/light-coloured pants).
  2. Use a light-box on your lap/under your work to illuminate the backside.


Because you want to make the most of the main feature of Aida cloth; it's mesh, grid-like holes. And when you reflect light -or shine a light directly behind it- it will show you where all of those holes are, so you can thread your needle through easier!

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Hi, I'm Kate 👋

About the author

In a previous life (AKA: pre-kids), I was a web des/dev & photographer who loved to dabble in numerous arts and crafts. Now, I'm a cross-stitch & embroidery pattern designer and full-time mum to Charlie & Alex, with adult-diagnosed ADHD. Closet nerd, self-proclaimed hermit and professional procrastinator. I have a secret crush on modern architecture, brush calligraphy, sweets, pretty nails and pastel colours.