How many times did you get a puzzled look on your face when you first ventured out into the world of stitching blogs and internet groups, when people in these groups seemed to have a language all of their own? Places where you could see people having discussions in a special mysterious code due to the total nonsensical words that were uttered to everyone’s comprehension but your own … “I decided to work on my HAED today, it’s a PITA BAP but I thought I should work on it for the SAL this week so it continues to be a WIP instead of a UFO”. I’m sure if I had read that sentence years ago the next acronym that would have sprung to mind would have been the more universal choice of “WTH…?”
After a while we tend to forget that there are still newbies out in internet-land that haven’t been exposed to this strange language, and are often too embarrassed to ask those of us speaking in code what these things mean … a recent discussion on a Facebook group I belong to prompted me to put a few meanings together on here just in case anyone was interested. Please feel free to let me know if there are others that you would like to see added, and I’ll update the list accordingly.
So, without further ado, here is the list of oft-used stitching and needlework acronyms out in the world today:
BAP = Big Ass Project/Big Arse Project (depending what country you live in): A very large project.
BF = Blending Filament: An evil (yet beautiful) metallic thread made by Kreinik that often brings out Turettes in stitchers, and it is rumoured it is best tamed by the use of Threadheaven (another stitching accessory something similar to beeswax but softer and synthetic).
BS = Backstitching: While some stitchers love it, others think it rather resembles the more general understanding of the term “BS” outside stitching circles.
FUFO = Finished UnFinished Object or Finished UnFramed Object: A project where the stitching has been completed but it is still sitting in the finishing pile waiting to either be framed or finished into it’s final form (eg needlework smalls etc).
GAST = Gentle Arts Sampler Threads: Manufacturer of an overdyed thread.
HAED = Heaven and Earth Designs: Designer of some exquisite designs whose projects are numerous pages long (often also referred to as “BAPs” – see above).
HPI = Holes Per Inch: Measurement of fabric. Aida is measured by the ‘blocks’ (ie one hole at the start and finish of each little square block), eg 14 count (14ct) Aida = 14 holes/squares per inch. Linen/evenweave fabric is measured by the holes either side of each thread of fabric, therefore 28 count (28ct) linen = 28 threads of fabric per inch.
JCS = Just Cross Stitch: A needlework magazine (published in the USA).
LNS = Local Needlework Store/Shop.
NSLNS = Not-So-Local Needlework Store/Shop.
ONS = Online Needlework Store.
OOP = Out Of Print: Rare or hard to find patterns that are no longer published by the designer/manufacturer and are often only found by paying exorbitant amounts of money on such places as Ebay unless you can find a kind stitcher who is happy to sell/trade for a reasonable cost.
ORT (or Ort) = Old Ratty Threads: The tail end of the embroidery threads that you throw away.
PFH = Project From Hell: Often refers to a particularly bad “BAP” or “UFO” and is particularly onerous and torturous for the stitcher to work on it, often only assisted by the comfort of chocolate, wine, or both.
PhD = Project Half Done or Potential Happy Dance.
PIF = Pay It Forward: Usually an online blog writer offers to make a home-made gift for 3 people who comment on the post – those 3 recipients have to reciprocate and offer 3 home-made gifts for 3 of their commenters, and the game continues therefore sharing gifts of love throughout the stitching world.
PITA = Pain In The Ass/Arse.
RAK = Random Act of Kindness: A gift sent to a fellow stitcher “just because you can” and without desiring anything in return for the gift.
RR = Round Robin: A group of stitchers who each choose a theme or design/set of designs and in turn send their stitched piece to the next person on the list. Each stitcher gets to stitch a little piece on every other stitcher’s projects, and there is a set timeframe given where the assigned stitching must be completed by before posting to the next person. In each case you are always sending to the same person in the group – and the rotation continues until you eventually receive your own Round Robin project back once again in a finished form.
SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.
SAL = Stitch-A-long: Usually a group of stitchers working on a specified project together. Many groups will have individual stitchers working on the exact same project around the world at a given time of the week/month and participants will encourage each other by posting photos of their stitching in progress. SALs aren’t just for a set individual project, but could be a specific designer, theme, or anything that the group wants to stitch together.
S.E.X. = Stash Enhancement eXpedition: Shopping spree for needlework supplies.
SINS = Stuff I’ll Never Stitch.
StRIP = Stash Reduction Implementation Plan: Usually when your stash has taken over your house stitchers may choose to go on a Stash reduction plan, by only/primarily working on existing projects in their stash rather than buying new purchases – this tends to be a temporary ailment that most stitchers get over quickly, and the only treatment seems to be S.E.X. (see above). Most people set a goal of only permitting themselves to buy more stash once they have stitched, eg, 10 projects or for a set period of time abstaining from S.E.X.
TUSAL = Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long: A monthly online blog game where participants post pictures of their orts that have been collected over the previous month – many people have special containers set aside as their ort vessels for the year.
UFO = UnFinished Object: A project that hasn’t been touched for a significant period of time, and lies punished and ashamed at the bottom of the cupboard in solitary confinement or with other UFOs.
WDW = Weeks Dye Works: Manufacturer of an overdyed thread.
WIP = Work in Progress: Generally a project that you are ‘actively’ working on.
WISP = Work in Slow Progress: Generally a project that you are actively working on … but progressing at a snail’s pace.
XS = Cross stitch.
Some other stitching terms explained:
Frogging/Frogstitch = Ripping out stitches that are wrong, based on “rip-it, rip-it” which sounds similar to “ribbit, ribbit”. Also known as “reverse stitching”.
Reverse Stitching = See Frogging/Frogstitch above.
Stash = Your own personal stock of stitching supplies, eg charts, fabric, threads etc.
Stitching Smalls = Not lingerie worn by your stitching, but rather a term referring to needlework items such as needlebooks, pinkeeps, pincushions, thimblepips etc.