Okay, so here's the skinny on the counts. The count just means how many squares are in a certain area (for some reason I'm thinking it's 1 inch but I'm not sure). So with that logic, the higher the count (the more squares in that area) the bigger the squares are. Now this is important for two reasons. 1. You rarely use the full 6 strands of the embroidery floss. With smaller counts, you use less floss. My rule of thumb is: 12: 3 strands 14: 2-3 strands 16: 2 strands 18: 1-2 strands 20 (omfg so small!): 1 strand
For this piece (and most of my pieces) I used 14 count, it's big enough that you're not going to get lost trying to find the next hole, but small enough that you can separate the string into two sections, and your final piece isn't going to be huge
Here's a handy dandy calculator if you want to be more confused www.yarntree.com/java/xstitchc… As for types, I usually stick with Aida, it's easier to work with and a little more forgiving. I would also stick to a lighter color cloth because it's easier to see the holes.
This was also a huge help for me when I was starting cross stitch raincookie.deviantart.com/art/… I'm not as detailed as her when it comes to her pretty knots, but everything else is similar.
I really hope I didn't bog you down with information Please feel free to ask me about anything! I was often searching youtube for answers, so I know how horrible it is to start not knowing a darn thing