I have just purchased "Gas" by Edward Hopper, which will be perfect for my guest bedroom, furnished in Depression-era crafts (quilt, hand-hooked rug). I am new to cross-stitching, and freezing at the fabric-choice options. I'm thinking I want to leave myself the option of a self-mat, so perhaps linen is best, but I've never stitched linen, and wonder if I should stick to something easier -- 16- or 18-count aida? If I use linen, and choose to do 2-over on a tighter weave (32- or 36-count), is this too much for a beginner? Too visually taxing? In the Gallery I see that most finished pieces are done on aida: Is that the best way to go? Two strands? Thanks for the benefit of all your experience!
Really, only you can judge what your eyes will bear. But 32ct & 36ct linen are the equivalent of 16ct or 18ct aida, respectively, so it depends on if you want to take the time to count the threads, or let the squares of aida be you guide I think most of us use aida because 1) the designs are almost all completely stitched, so a special background fabric would essentially be wasted, and 2) the size of fabric needed, aida is easier to find in big pieces and affordable. For something no one will see, I'd rather spend $15 on aida than $40-50 on the equivalent size in linen. Believe me, I spend enough on hand dyed linens for other projects
And there's no reason you can't let the aida show around the outside - aida isn't ugly except to linen snobs, which I'm not, though I know they are out there
The most important part of the whole question is this: get what YOU are most comfortable with; if you don't like something you are working with, you will become less motivated to work on it and finish it. I use everything - linen, evenweaves, aida - so long as I can put thread down on something, I'm a happy camper My Lady & Unicorn is on 22ct aida - I chose that because finished size is a concern of mine, due to the cost of framing, and if I can trim a couple of inches off by using 22 over 18, I will - and the detail is sharper the smaller you go. But I am also biased, because I do a lot of over-1 stitching, on 28ct up to 36ct so far - and over-1 on 40ct is in my not-too-distant future
That probably wasn't a darn bit of help, was it??? At any rate, pick the fabric you enjoy using the most, because you will be using it for a while on one of these And really, there's no "beginner" with these - they are huge, yes, and have blends, but really, it's just one X at a time - not any backstitching or fractionals or anything like that to deal with.Time consuming, absolutely; difficult, not really!
I know this was one question that bugged me when I was starting out too so I know how you feel. I was pretty much told that aida is cheaper and easier- you don't have to count threads. So I did many many projects on aida before I even tried evenweave. But once I did that was it! I couldn't go back! Call me a snob if you will but for me it's not really about the visual aspect, it's about the feel. If I'm going to be working on something for that long then it has to be a real pleasure to touch and for me that's worth the extra bucks. And you don't have to buy linen to get that nice feel either, you can just get a cotton blend evenweave- I like to use 32 count, because I like big pieces- and it just feels lovely and supple in your hands. The counting over-two thing doesn't worry me either, you get used to it very quickly.
But as Rife wisely says, you need to go with what you prefer because you will be spending a lot of time with this fabric so you'd better like it!
Here's my twopenneth - I started out working on then moved onto evenweave and am now working Ehret die Frauen on linen.
The pluses: evenweave and linen are great 'in the hand' as stated previously and I also like going over 2 strands. I think the material is also easier on your threads (maybe I've just had some 'rough' aida in the past, I don't know). I also like the slightly uneven aspect of linen (so the finished product isn't too 'perfect' - if that makes sense). I also like the pin stitch you can do without too much trouble when starting a new thread, which reduces the amount of thread running behind other stitches by half.
The minuses: they fray like the devil so careful sewing up round the edges is essential. You also need to ensure that your material is cut square/straight or it creates a weakness in the edge of the fabric and, if like me, you like your work drum tight, the material can give way at the edges under the strain.
I think the set up costs for Ehret were in the region of £200 (including buying the extra wide frame) but, given the length of time it's going to take me to finish it, it works out at £5 per month, which I think is a pretty good deal. What else can you do that keeps you occupied for hours at a time for so little money - no smutty answers please
But the nub of it is - what are you comfortable with?
Very best wishes and looking forward to seeing your photos of WIP.