June 12, 2020
Years before I ever started Caterpillar Cross Stitch, I didn't know what aida, evenweave or Zweigart even meant. I knew how to cross stitch and recognised the gridded fabric, but I wasn't aware of the difference a great quality fabric can make both to the experience of stitching (and we all know how long some pieces can take!) and to the appearance of the finished work.
So I thought it would be really interesting to go back in time and find out everything about the needlecraft fabric brand we love here at Caterpillar Cross Stitch, Zweigart, and what makes it so special.
As Zweigart puts it themselves; in addition to the inventive and creative aspect, the joy of making things oneself and the feeling of having created something unique, cross stitch offers one thing above all: tranquillity and recuperation from the everyday stress.
Zweigart is the weaving company that's famous for its high quality fabric. Its been, and continues to be, a traditional company who've put their passion into developing and producing high-grade needlework fabrics and damasks since 1877.
The fabric is all produced exclusively at their headquarters in Germany (Sindelfingen near Stuttgart to be precise!) The production of needlecraft materials continues to be enhanced by modern technology but the original manufacturing process has changed little.
Zweigart produces a wide range of textiles suitable for decorative needlework as well as soft furnishing textiles for homes and hotels. Sindelfingen, is on the edge of the Black Forest region, a large industrial town.
So what are the fabrics made from? Well some fabrics are typically cotton/rayon blends. Using rayon/viscose with cotton or linen, not only makes the fabric stronger and easier to use but, as the rayon is made from cellulose, its a sustainable product. Zweigart produces a 52% cotton and 48% rayon evenweave called Lugana which is beautiful to stitch on!
Hardanger is 100% cotton and it is usually a 22 count fabric. Its a relatively inexpensive fabric, especially when compared to linen. Hardanger is a method of embroidery and hardanger fabric was designed specifically for it.
In 1877 Zweigart recognized a demand for a diverse product range meeting high quality demands. Zweigart does offer a wide variety of fabrics with varying stitch counts, colours and designs which sets it apart from other suppliers. They purchase the selected source materials, dying the yarn and fabric and weaving on state-of-the-art Dobby and Jacquard machines. Every production step is carried out in-house at Zweigart including the finishing and refinement process.
Zweigart's trademark is the distinctive orange line you may have seen if you've ever purchased a Caterpillar Cross Stitch kit. Its an orange thread woven into the edge of all their needlework fabrics so you know its a genuine item!
Zweigart have been manufacturing high quality canvases and fabrics for over 115 years. Aida fabrics have an easy to count, blocked grid appearance. They are made in different ‘counts’, i.e. stitches per inch. The most common are 14 and 16 count but you can also buy 6, 8, 11 and 18 count aidas. There's a wide variety of widths and colours. Rustico is a natural country-look aida, available in 14 and 18 count.
These fabrics can be treated like aida, as they have two threads woven over each other horizontally and vertically, giving a blocked appearance. Evenweave fabrics usually have a single thread horizontally and vertically. They are suitable for finer cross stitch, for embroidery stitches which cannot be worked over blocks, or when a linen look is required.
Where cross stitch is worked over two threads of an evenweave, the work will be the same size as on an aida of half the count, i.e. working over two threads on a 28 count evenweave gives stitches the same size as on 14 count aida (therefore the overall finished stitched piece will be the same size).
Davosa (18 count), Linda (27 count) and Annabelle (28 count) form the Zweigart range of cotton evenweaves. Bellana (20 count), Lugana (25 count), Brittany (28 count) and Quaker (28 count) form the Zweigart range of mixed-fibre evenweaves.
Available in many colours, including gold and silver in Bellana, they are as easy to work on as aida, but they give a finer background. Zweigart offer a great range of needlepoint fabrics from aidas for beginners to evenweaves and linen for the more experienced stitcher.
Fun fact: currently 265 people (mainly in Switzerland and the USA) have Zweigart as their surname!
Whatever fabric you decide upon for your next project, there's a huge selection available now and we have a range available within our various cross stitch kits. Thanks for reading and now you can impress your stitchy friends with your Zweigart knowledge!
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