October 24, 2017 12 Comments

You love to cross stitch and most of the time you know what other stitchers are talking about in those Facebook groups or in Flosstube videos. But there are still a few acronyms and weird terms used in the cross stitch world that go over your head. Well you’re not alone! Here’s my comprehensive list of 65 terms, to help you understand why on earth people are talking about frogs!

Aida – the most popular fabric to use for cross stitch with brands including DMC, Zweigart and Charles Craft. Threads are woven evenly to form squares and the most popular counts are 14 and 16 (see Count below)

Back Stitch – a method of stitching to outline a cross stitch piece, usually in a dark colour.

Beads – can be stitched onto a project to add depth, colour and detail.

BAP – Big Ass Project!

Blending – (also called Tweeding) using two or more colours of thread (usually one strand of each) in the same needle at the same time to blend the colours together when stitching.

Confetti – single stitches of different colours looking like little confetti being thrown!

Chart – the cross stitch pattern to work from when stitching.

Count – the number of holes per inch. Often you will hear ’14 count’ meaning 14 holes (or squares) in one inch of the fabric.

Counted Cross Stitch – the fabric is plain and you use a printed or digital pattern as a guide to help you place each stitch.  

Cross Country – thread being used continuously across sections of a pattern when stitching rather than being finished off in one section and started again hence, looking a bit ‘cross country’ from behind!

DMC – one of the most popular brands of thread (or floss) used for embroidery and cross stitch. It comes in hundreds of different colours and effects. This is the brand of thread we use in all Caterpillar Cross Stitch kits!

dmc threads cross stitch acronymns

Evenweave – a popular type of fabric used for cross stitch. Woven with a single thread and usually worked over two threads.

Fabric – what you use to cross stitch onto. This can be aida, evenweave, linen or other variations.

FAD – Fun and Done!

Floss – another word for thread used in cross stitch e.g. DMC floss

Frog / Frogging – when you’ve made a mistake and have to cut out and remove/rip out some of your stitches – comes from the sound frogs make ‘ribbit ribbit’ sounding like ‘rip it rip it!’

Fractional Stitches – if a design has curves, you can use fractional stitches to ‘smooth’ off the edges instead of having sharp corners using only full stitches which are obviously very square!  

French Knot – a small knot used to define small details in a pattern e.g. an animal’s eye.

Full Stitches – the traditional cross stitch using one full square on your fabric (as opposed to fractional stitches that appear as a half or quarter of a square).

FFO – Finally Finished Object, Fully Finished Object or Finally Framed Object

FS – Forgotten Stash

GA – Gentle Arts Thread

HAED – Heaven and Earth Designs

Half Stitch – (see Fractional Stitches above) also called a ‘tent stitch’ this uses one diagonal stitch instead of a full cross stitch with two threads crossing each other over a square in your fabric.

Haul – when you’ve been shopping in person or online and have bought a large quantity of cross stitch related items you might show off your ‘haul’

HIH - Happiness is Homemade, the first ever Caterpillar Cross Stitch SAL project

Jobelan – a type of evenweave fabric made from cotton and modal, softer than aida.

Kit – as opposed to a pattern only. A full cross stitch kit (like those here at Caterpillar Cross Stitch!) comes with everything you need – fabric, threads, needle, instructions and full patterns.  

cross stitch acronymns terminology blog

Linen – made from 100% linen thread and woven in a similar fashion to Evenweave (see above). Linen has a natural traditional look and can be more difficult to stitch on. I personally love projects stitched on linen.

LNS – Local Needlecraft Shop

MCBAP – Massively Complicated Big Ass Project

Needle Minder – a small decorative magnetic item fixed onto your cross stitch fabric which holds your needle safe and secure when not in use.

Needlepoint - (also called Tapestry) a form of embroidery where yarn is used to stitch through a mesh canvas much like aida but larger and more structured.

OAP – Old Abandoned Project

ONS – Online Needlecraft Shop

OOP - Out Of Print (new addition!)

ORT – Old Raggedy Threads or Orphaned Random Threads

PAD – Project All Done

Parking – to use multiple needles with different threads on each to make it easier when stitching over larger areas but with fewer stitches of each shade of thread (to avoid re-threading your needle over and over).

PFO – Pulled From Oblivion (if you haven’t worked on a piece for quite some time!)

PHD – Project Half Done

PAD – Project All Done

Q-Snap – a type of frame used for cross stitching that snaps together around a frame to keep your fabric taut and in place.

Railroading – passing the needle between two strands of thread already stitched to give a flatter look to the stitch.

RAK – Random Act of Kindness – where one stitcher will post or buy a kit/pattern for someone else. Often found in Facebook groups or as a surprise gift for someone they feel deserves it.

RR – (Round Robin) a system whereby one project is passed from one stitcher to another and so on until completed.

SABLE – Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy

SAL – (Stitch-a-Long) can also be a Mystery Stitch-a-Long where the theme is a secret. SAL projects are broken down into several parts where the pattern for each part is released at regular intervals and many stitchers join in stitching each part simultaneously. Find our more about our current stitch-a-long HERE!

SINS – Stuff I’ll Never Stitch

SIP – Stitching In Progress

Skein – how your thread (or floss) comes in 8m lengths wound around into loops with a small paper label attached detailing the brand and colour coding.

Stash – a collection of cross stitch related items (e.g. look, your stash is out of control!)

Stitchy Buddy – any pet that sits with you (or on you!) when stitching.

Stitching Over 2 – a term used when stitching on evenweave or linen fabric (see above) and you miss two holes before placing your needle and stitch as opposed to missing one hole like when stitching on aida fabric.

Tapestry – (also called Needlepoint) a form of embroidery where yarn is used to stitch through a mesh canvas much like aida but larger and more structured.

Tweeding – (also called Blending) using two or more colours of thread (usually one strand of each) in the same needle at the same time to blend the colours together when stitching.

TOAD – Trashed Object Abandoned In Disgust

UFO – Unfinished Object

USO – Un-Started Objects

Waste Canvas – for stitching a design onto a fabric without a grid. Use it as a guide and it can be removed afterwards either by washing away or pulling out one piece at a time leaving only the finished design behind.

WHIMM – Work Hidden In My Mind

WDW – Weeks Dye Works – a popular brand of cross stitch thread.

WIP – Work In Progress

WISP – Work In Slow Progress

WTF – Waiting To Finish

If you have any cross stitch friends who would enjoy this, please go ahead and share the blog post with them! 


 caterpillar cross stitch terms and acronymns

12 Responses


July 08, 2020

Thank you so very much! Always wondered. It was like a secret language to me!♡


May 04, 2020

WOW! It’s perfect . I’m Italian and sometime it was very difficult to understand all.Now, you opened my mind . Thank you!

John B
John B

January 30, 2020

I have a closet full of SABLEs,


November 29, 2019

Those are awesome! BAP is hilarious and SABLE made me teary-eyed.. so me… greetings to all from Zanzibar, Tanzania, may your day be filled with stitching, stitching buddies and FFO’s! Kim


November 22, 2019

I was working on a BAP and made a mistake now I’ve got some FROGGING to do. I’m serious. My Quaker Pumpkin that I have been stitching has a serious mistake. May just do it over. Thanks so much for your definitions. I have been wondering about a few.


October 30, 2019

hi :) bross :)


September 22, 2019

FFO can also be Fully Finished Object 😊

Laura Keating
Laura Keating

May 14, 2019

Add OOP, out of print.


August 04, 2018

Mom showed embroidery & cross stitch 50 yrs ago this summer. That’s what happens when u say ur bored. Still love it to this day. I love now that u can connect with someone on the other side of the world over something so simple.
Peace, love, & blessings to all!!#

bea mullin
bea mullin

July 07, 2018

I am a lso an addictive cross stitcher…. Fun to read about these terms. Some I haven’t seen before. For example SINS. Have a great day. At the present time I am working on one called Patchwork/Printemps – Jardin Prive. enjoying it for sure B/Atl. Canada

Jen Small
Jen Small

November 26, 2017

I love cross stitch and really enjoyed learning some new cross stitch terms!

Margaret Allison
Margaret Allison

October 30, 2017

I simply love counted cross stitch

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