I am a die hard Aida fabric user when it comes to cross stitching. I also prefer to grid my fabric, which entails marking off 10 x 10 stitching areas on the aida fabric with a water soluble pen. I prefer the Clover brand. It washes away easily with cold water.
I have tried the pre-gridded fabrics as well. The Easy Count fabric is gridded with thread and the Magic Guide fabric is gridded in red.
I do not use markers which need to be washed out when stitching on hand dyed or hand painted fabrics. I grid the fabric with a metallic thread, such as Sulky Sliver, which cannot be pierced by my needle.
Sulky Sliver Gridding
I love shopping for the fabric, beads, embellishments and threads I will use on each project. I prefer off white, antique white, beige and ivory colored aida for full coverage projects. I like choosing beautiful hand dyed or hand painted aida for projects in which the fabric will be seen around the design in the finished piece. My favorite hand dyer is Picture This Plus and my favorite hand painter is Fabric Flair.