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Choosing Your Photo

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Get the best out of your photo

The best cross stitch designs come from photos that are clear with good colours and contrast. If your photo has a lot of dark shadows, this will appear on your design. In most cases we can brighten and sharpen the image but the best results come from good quality photos.

14, 16 ot 18 count Aida?


Aida fabric is manufactured with various size spaces or holes between the warp and weft to accommodate different thickness of thread. These are described by the count. For example, a 14-count Aida fabric has 14 holes per linear inch.

There is often confusion about whether to use 14, 16 or 18 count Aida when converting a cross stitch chart from a photo. The higher the thread count the more stitches per inch. 14 or 16 count is generally recommended for beginners.

Aida fabric has a tendency to fray and often needs hemming before use. It should never be laundered prior to craft work and tends to contract slightly when the finished item is washed in soap and water. Hand washing improves the appearance of finished cross-stitching because Aida fabric naturally contracts in specific areas where it is embroidered.


What Size? 


The larger the chart, the more stitches, the better the detail in the finished design. We generally recommend a design size of at least 10 x 8 inches - larger if possible to improve the detail (see below). If your design is limited in size (for example the need to fit an existing frame) then try and go for a higher thread count to compensate. Equally, if you are more comfortable with a lower thread count then try and go for a larger design size.

It is also important to bear in mind the dimensions of the original photo. You will not want us to stretch or distort the photo. For example, a square photo will only be suitable for a 10 x 6 inch design if the image is cropped either top or bottom, or both. Let us know when ordering if you want to keep everything in the photo or whether it should be cropped to concentrate on the subject.


Thread and Colours? 


DMC thread is comprised of six easily separated strands, which you separate into three lots of two strands before stitching. We supply DMC threads because they are made from the best long-staple cotton and are mercerized twice to give them exceptional sheen. The highly resistant dyes are carefully selected to ensure that the thread does not fade as a result of washing or exposure to light.

There are 447 thread colours in the stranded DMC cotton range compared to photos which have millions of colours and shades. One might think that the more colours that are used in a photo cross stitch, the better will be the detail of the finished design. However, this is not always the case. Our kits consist of approximately 40-60 colours but are individually optimised.




The amount of detail in a cross stitch chart is influenced by only one thing – the number of stitches in the design. The more stitches the better will be the detail in the design. The number of stitches depends on two factors:

  • the size of the chart (the larger the chart the more stitches there will be – fairly obvious!)

  • the Aida fabric count or number of stitches per linear inch of fabric – the higher the thread count the more stitches per inch.

A 14 count Aida fabric will give 196 (14 x 14) stitches per square inch, whereas a 18 count Aida fabric will have 324 (18 x 18) stitches per square inch – an increase of 65%!

Of course more stitches mean more stitching! See above for our recommendations on size.


Expert Advice

If you are unsure about any of the above or would like some advice, please don’t forget we have experts at Photos2Stitch to help you get the best results from your photos.

Tel: 020 8393 6943


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