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Glossary & Terminology

Embroidery has its share of both common and unusual terms. Search for glossary items alphabetically to learn more about this fascinating hobby.

Away Knot
An Away Knot is one of two types of knots used in embroidery that allow you to anchor your embroidery thread without having a permanent knot on the backside of your project.

Awl or Tailor's Awl
An awl is a handled tool used to pierce fabrics, such as when making embroidered eyelets. It can have a sharp or ball-point end.

Biscornu
Learn about biscornu pincushions

Conversion Chart
If you prefer a different brand of thread rather than the one recommended in a project, conversion charts will help you find the corresponding color numbers from other manufacturers.

Crewel
Crewel is a type of decortive surface embroidery featuring plants, animals and sometimes people, arranged in a fanciful, flowing design or repeating pattern.

Crocking and Dye Transfer
Crocking or dye transfer can be common with certain colors of embroidery thread. Learn how to combat this problem.

Embroidery Floss
Embroidery floss is a mercerized cotton embroidery thread composed of 6 threads which can be separated. Each strand of thread has 2-plies, but can not be separated any further.

Embroidery Hoops
Embroidery hoops are used to keep your fabric taut, providing support as you stitch.

Evenweave Fabric
Evenweave fabric has the same number of vertical warp threads as it does horizontal weft threads and can be made from cotton, linen, wool or blends.

Floche
Floche is a mercerized, single-strand cotton embroidery thread using for fine needlework.

Laying Tool
An embroidery laying tool is used with stranded threads, ribbon, or other embroidery threads when a smooth, flat finish is desired.

Needle Minder
A needle minder is a handy tool to keep in your workbasket. Attach it to your fabric to keep your pre-threaded needles safe and on-hand while you stitch.

Needle Threader
A needle threader is an indispensible embroidery tool that should be in every workbasket. They are available in different types and sizes to suit the type of yarn being used.

Plainweave Fabric
Plainweave refers to any fabric used for embroidery that does not have an easily recogzinable weave, or has densely woven threads that are difficult to count.

Scroll Frame
A scroll frame is handy for larger projects, as the excess fabric is rolled into the frame instead of sitting in your lap.

Seam Sealant - Fray Check
A seam sealant, such as Fray Check from Prym Dritz, is liquid used to secure the edges of the fabric and stop fraying.

Selvage
The selvage is the finished, self-bound edge of a fabric and runs parallel to the vertical warp threads in a fabric.

Stretcher Bars
Stretcher bars serve the same purpose as embroidery hoops and scroll frames.

Tambour Frame or Hoop
A tambour frame or hoop is used for tambour and other types of embroidery, and rotates 180 degrees, allowing access to both the front and back sides of the work.

Tambour Hook
A tambour tool is used for bead embroidery as well as decorative chain stitch embroidery called tambour work. It has a small, bent tip similar to a crochet hook or rug hooking tool that catches the thread on the back side of the fabric, pulling it to the front side to create loops or attach beads

Thread Heaven Thread Conditioner
Thread conditioners such as Thread Heaven cut down on the stress caused by thread drag, the wear caused by continually pulling a thread through the fabric while stitching.

Tiger Tape
Tiger Tape is a temporary adhesive tool used to help space stitching when working embroidery, applique or quilting stitches. It's available in several varieties and sizes.

Transfer Pencils
Iron-on transfer pencils create a permanent design that is transferred to embroidery fabric using the heat of an iron.

Warp and Weft
Warp and weft refers to the vertical and horizontal threads in a loomed or woven fabric.

Waste Canvas
Waste canvas is a temporary canvas used to work cross stitch, needlepoint or counted thread stitches on fabric that would not normally be used for these types of techniques.

Waste Knot
A Waste Knot is one of two types of knots used in embroidery that allow you to anchor your embroidery thread without having a permanent knot on the backside of your project.

Water Soluble Canvas
Learn about using water soluble canvas.

Water-Soluble Pens and Pencils
Water-soluble pens and pencils are used to transfer a design onto fabric temporarily. The marked lines wash out when the item is laundred or blotted with a damp sponge.

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