Piece of Aida material with a simple cross stitch indicated in red.  Piece of Aida material with a simple cross stitch indicated in red.

Aida is an even weave cloth often used for counted thread embroidery. The material is mesh-like in construction for ease of stitch counting and has enough stiffness so that an embroidery frame or hoop is not necessary. Older forms of Aida are made of linen, while most twentieth-century examples are of cotton.

Aida is manufactured using a block-weave method (mock-leno weave), by which the warp and weft threads of the cloth constitute solid blocks with evenly spaced holes. Aida is produced with various hole sizes. These are defined by the square count. For example, a 10-count Aida has ten squares per linear inch. Typical sizes are 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 22 counts, from the coarsest to the finest.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this type of cloth was also known as Ada, Aida Cloth, Fancy Oatmeal and Toile Colbert. In late twentieth century Britain, the term binca was sometimes used as a synonym for a coarser Aida.

Aida can be pronounced as eye-da or i-eeda. The second form appears to be related to the Italian opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, which was first performed in 1871 and quickly became popular throughout Europe. It is feasible that a company or shop started to use the name Aida to take advantage of the opera’s popularity. There is some speculation whether this cloth was first developed in 1890 by the German textile manufacturer Zweigart und Sawitzki. However, there are references and illustrations of Aida in the 1882 Dictionary of Needlework (Caulfeild and Saward 1882:60, fig. 111).

Digital source (retrieved 22 March 2016)


Last modified on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 14:09
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