Cross Stitch Slang Terms

cross-stitched pillow in female hands
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Every subculture has its own language. Don't believe it? Listen to a group of teenager talk for about 5 minutes. You will be utterly confused! The cross stitch and needlework world also has its own language. Frog, WIP, UFO are just a few of the terms that have a totally different meaning in the cross stitch community and the real world. Let's get an education in the slang of cross stitch, shall we? 

Frog or Frogging: Have you heard this term and had no idea what it meant? At first, did you think that everyone was stitching the green little guy and you wondered why so many people were frustrated with Kermit. Wanna know what the term Frog is? It is a slang term used by stitchers to refer to removing stitches when you make a mistake. When you take a stitch out you have to rip it, rip it. Get it? It had nothing to do with frogs at all, well except for the rip it. It is a common belief that this term began by people stitching in public and instead of saying the F word, they screamed out FROG! 

You will see people, especially on Facebook use WIP when talking about what they are working on. In the craft world WIP is: Work in Progress. It is a piece that you are working on at the time or one that you worked on, put down and picked back up. If you are a cross stitcher you know that you will not have just one WIP, you will have a basket full. 

Many times you will also see people inviting you to a SAL. You will wonder why everyone is so excited about three little letters. An SAL is a Stitch Along. Many designers will do year long SAL's that people join in January (although they can join at any time) and each month you get another piece of the pattern. You will not know what the pattern looks like, only the theme. It is a like a surprise gift each month! There are also SAL's that involve themes where everyone stitches what they want as long as it is a part of a theme. has a monthly stitch along that involves a revolving theme. Each month a person can win a prize for participating. SAL's are fun way to meet people and practice your stitching. These pieces are usually very big, but knowing that you can put it down and pick it up at any time is nice. 

What is up in the sky? Is it a bird? A plane? Superman? It's a UFO. In the rest of the world, UFO stands for unidentified flying object but in the realm of cross stitch it stands for Unfinished Object. It can be used the same way you would use WIP. Example: I have so many UFO's and WIP's in my basket, I will be stitching for years to come. A UFO is also a project that you started, got bored with and didn't like it, and then put down whereas a WIP is something you will definitely finish. 

Raise your hand if you have ORT's laying around your house? It's okay, you are not alone. What is an ORT? It is Old Ratty Thread. You know, the little bit that is left over from a project or the bits you cut off after stitching. You just can't push yourself to throw them away, so they sit and you do nothing with them. They become old and ratty, hence ORT. I am here to tell you that you have to let go. Sit them out for the birds to use in nesting. 

So, now you are hip to the lingo and down with the cool cross stitch kids. Use these slang terms along with others to describe your stitching experience.