cross stitch lingo

Cross stitch lingo is fairly simply once you understand it. Every hobby has its lingo and cross stitching has it’s own dictionary. 

If you ever join any cross stitch groups, you will be bombarded with many acronyms and sayings that you have no idea about. 

Forget being confused, I’m here to help. I will break down the most common cross stitch lingo that you will come across.

Top 10 Cross Stitch Lingo

There are many slang words and cross stitch lingo out there. I have compiled a list of the top 10 most popular cross stitch slang words and acronyms.

A number of these are acronyms that make much more sense once you know what the words in the acronym stand for.

SAL (Stitch A-Long)

Now you are probably asking what a stitch a long is. It is just like a sing a long, but with cross stitching. 

What usually happens is you sign up for the SAL and the creator will send you the start up instructions. This will tell you what size cloth you need and possibly a list of all the colors you will need it. If there is a border to the completed pattern, you will be given this at the beginning.

The pattern creator will then email you bite size pieces of a pattern each month. The size is manageable to be able to complete it in a month. 

Once you complete the SAL you will have a complete pattern. 

Join the Wait List for My Next SAL

Frog or Frogging

This is one of those words you totally don’t want coming out of your mouth!

When you “frog” your stitching it means that you have made a mistake in following the pattern. It can be using the wrong color, or miscounting your stitches. This causes you to have to pull your stitches and re-start the section.

Many will say “the frog has come to visit me” he’s a trickster that makes his rounds through the homes of stitchers worldwide. 

A handy tool to have in the house to prepare for the frog visits is a thread ripper, or seam rippers will work. It makes the “undo” quicker so you can restart.

I do get a small reward if you shop through these links which will be used to add more to my stash!

WIP (Work in Progress)

This cross stitch lingo acronym is fairly self explanatory. It is simply a cross stitch pattern that you have in the works. 

If you are anything like me, and many stitchers, you will have a handful of different WIP’s.

FFO (Finally Finished Object)

On the topic of projects, many will refer to a finished pattern/project is FFO. 

The word finally is in there because many projects take a very, VERY long time to complete. Many patterns get put down for a long time, then picked back up. 

So, FINALLY finished object is very fitting.


UFO (Unfinished Object)

No, this does not mean little green aliens from another planet.

As I said above, many patterns get put down. This can be because you find a NEW pattern to start; or you have life get in the way; maybe it’s an injury. There are a ton of reasons. 


Confetti Stitching

These types of stitches are fairly common, especially in more detailed patterns. 

When someone says they are confetti stitching, or in a section of confetti, they are referring to a section of their pattern that has a TON of different color stitches in a small area. 

Here is an example of confetti stitching:

These areas on a pattern can be much more time consuming, and sometimes they are annoying, but they make the finished product to be so much more detailed and beautiful. The time and effort is so worth the confetti stitching.

ORT (Old Ratty Threads)

This cross stitch lingo is sort of a tradition for many stitchers. 

As we stitch we cut off the ends of threads and have many small “ratty” pieces of thread. Many stitchers save these and put them in a jar. I personally put them in a compartment in my thread box. 

The reason for saving? There really is none. Some do it, some don’t. Some even make crafts from their ORT’s.

Kit or Cross Stitch Kit

There are two ways to buy patterns for cross stitch. 

What is a cross stitch kit? It is an all in one package for a project. The kit will include the printed pattern, needed thread, sized cloth and a needle. These are great, especially for beginners.

I do get a small reward if you shop through these links which will be used to add more to my stash!

BAP (Big Ambitious Project)

There are two versions of this cross stitch lingo. Big “ambitious” or “ass” project.

These are patterns that are much bigger than the norm. These cross stitch patterns are large. I’m in the process of stitching this Tinkerbell and Friends pattern – it is 40″ wide and 25″ long. 

These are long term projects and require patience.


Every cross stitcher, and every crafter in general, will have a stash. 

It’s just a cat’s stash of toys, or a pirates stash of treasure. It is your hoard of supplies.

This includes things like:

  • Aida cloth
  • Thread
  • Needles
  • Needleminders
  • Patterns
  • Scissors
  • Lights
  • Organizers

Many non-stitching family members may frown upon the obsession of the stitcher. This will result in the possible need to hide your stash in clever places.

Cross Stitch Lingo

Now you can easily blend in among the stitching community – no one will know you’re a newbie!

Happy Stitching!