Cross-stitch is a form of sewing and a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture. The stitcher counts the threads on a piece of even weave fabric (such as linen) in each direction so that the stitches are of uniform size and appearance. This form of cross-stitch is also called counted cross-stitch in order to distinguish it from other forms of cross-stitch. Sometimes cross-stitch is done on designs printed on the fabric (stamped cross-stitch); the stitcher simply stitches over the printed pattern. Cross-stitch is often executed on easily countable fabric called aida cloth whose weave creates a plainly visible grid of squares with holes for the needle at each corner.
Fabrics used in cross-stitch include linen, aida, and mixed-content fabrics called 'evenweave' such as jobelan. All cross-stitch fabrics are technically "evenweave" as the term refers to the fact that the fabric is woven to make sure that there are the same number of threads per inch in both the warp and the weft (i.e. vertically and horizontally). Fabrics are categorized by threads per inch (referred to as 'count'), which can range from 11 to 40 count.
Counted cross-stitch projects are worked from a gridded pattern called a chart and can be used on any count fabric; the count of the fabric and the number of threads per stitch determine the size of the finished stitching. For example, if a given design is stitched on a 28 count cross-stitch fabric with each cross worked over two threads, the finished stitching size is the same as it would be on a 14 count aida fabric with each cross worked over one square. These methods are referred to as "2 over 2" (2 embroidery threads used to stitch over 2 fabric threads) and "1 over 1" (1 embroidery thread used to stitch over 1 fabric thread or square), respectively. There are different methods of stitching a pattern, including the cross-country method where one colour is stitched at a time, or the parking method where one block of fabric is stitched at a time and the end of the thread is "parked" at the next point the same colour occurs in the pattern.