The art form of working with fabric and decorating it with different types of embroidery is a wonderful hobby. Some may think of embroidery as an old-fashioned hobby that ladies did in the Victorian era or western times. But, even today in modern times needlework is still done or being learned by many. And with all the different types of embroidery out there, you’re sure to find the type of embroidery that’s right for you. The two types of embroidery that I’m going to talk about in this post is cross stitch vs needlepoint.
While cross stitch and needlepoint are both hand embroidery techniques. There is also machine embroidery, I think that this is what most people think of when they think of embroidery. You can get a sewing machine that is also an embroidery machine, or one that is just does embroidery. Even though machine embroidery is probably faster, I prefer hand embroidery. I love that there is so many different stitches and threads you can use on your embroidery project.
I recently started embroidering flour sack towels and at first I didn’t use an embroidery hoop. But, on my second towel I started using one, I actually had to buy a new one because the wooden one I had, the inside ring was warped, so it didn’t hold the fabric. So, I bought a plastic one and I discovered how easy an embroidery hoop makes embroidering. And embroidery hoops are not that expensive, I brought mine at Hobby Lobby for under three dollars.
Besides cross stitching and needlepoint, there are other types of embroidery. Plastic canvas is another type of hand embroidery, plastic canvas is also called vinyl weave. And you use yarn to make your stitches. The canvas you make your stitches on is a lightweight vinyl that has a bunch of little holes.
I love plastic canvas, because you can make so many cute things with it. When I first started doing plastic canvas, one of my first projects was a plastic canvas paper doll. It was really neat because the doll and her clothes had Velcro, so you could dress her in different outfits.
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Okay, I’m going to talk about cross stitch. Cross stitch is a embroidery that uses mostly one type of stitch, and that’s those little x-shaped stitches. And to me it’s one of the easiest forms of embroidery to start with.
The thread you use in cross stitching is embroidery floss. I like to use DMC cotton floss, they also have satin floss, but I’ve haven’t use that. You usually use two or three strands of floss for the stitches. Cross stitch patterns will usually tell you how many strands of floss to use for the cross stitches.
What about the fabric you use for cross stitch. The most commonly used fabric for a cross stitch project is Aida cloth. Aida fabric is a great fabric and you can get it in 16 count, 18 count and more. There are many counts for Aida fabric out there. Count is the number of stitches per inch there is on the fabric. That means 14 count Aida has 14 stitches per inch and 20 count has 20 stitches per inch. And the more stitches you have per inch means that you have smaller stitches. The less stitches per inch mean bigger stitches.
You can also use linen or evenweave fabric. Linen is a wonderful cotton fabric to use for cross stitch. It has a nice drape and it gives your cross-stitch projects a time-less look. And all of these fabrics come in different colors, so you can find the prefect color for your next project.
And the count of the fabric will determine the size of your finished product. The larger count means smaller stitches which means that your finished project is smaller than if you’ve used a smaller count fabric.
And the needles cross stitchers use for their projects are usually tapestry needles. Tapestry needles have a large eye for multiple strands of thread. They also have a blunt end, because cross stitch fabric already have little holes that your needle goes through for the stitches, so you don’t need a really sharp end.
Now let’s talk about cross stitch designs, there are so many beautiful designs you can cross stitch. Cross-stitch patterns come in all sizes, you can do small simple design, or a larger elaborate design. To cross stitch you’ll use what’s called a cross stitch chart. A cross stitch chart is a bunch of little squares that represent stitches. Each square has a little design or color for what color the stitch is. If the square is blank that means there is no stitch in that area. The great thing about the charts is that there are darker lines every 10 squares. That makes it easier to read the cross stitch chart.
Now on to needlepoint, needlepoint is a harder form of embroidery than cross stitch. Needlepoint has many types of stitches. The most common of needlepoint stitches is the tent stitch. That is the most basic stitch in needlepoint. A few of the other stitches are basketweave stitch, brick stitch, double woven stitch, mosaic stitch and long stitch. That is just a few of the stitches in needlepoint, there are many, many more needlepoint stitches.
And what’s great is that you can use yarn for needlepoint. You can use just about any type of yarn, but wool yarn is the most popular. You can also use silk yarn and you can even use embroidery floss if you want. It depends on the look you want and the type of needlepoint canvas you’re using.
Needlepoint fabric is a open weave canvas fabric. And you can get canvas that already has a printed pattern on it. There are three main types of needlepoint canvas Penelope canvas, mono canvas and interlock mono canvas. Each is a little different so you can find the type of canvas that’s perfect for your project. You can also get different mesh sizes in canvas.
Like cross-stitching you use a tapestry needle for your needlepoint. Tapestry needles have a blunter end than regular sewing needles and they also have a longer eye. So, that make them perfect for the open weave fabric and the yarn you use.
In needlepoint there are many unique designs you can make. And you can get a needlepoint kit that has all the supplies you need to make a needlepoint project. And did you know that needlepoint is dated back to the ancient Egyptians.
There are a few key differences between needlepoint and cross-stitch. The main difference to me is the stitch styles you use. Cross stitch is mainly one stitch, the x shaped cross stitch, even though you’ll sometimes use french knots. While needlepoint has many different stitch types, I mean there are tons of stitches you can use in needlepoint.
Another big difference is that needlepoint is a much more complex surface embroidery technique. While cross stitch is a very beginner friendly embroidery form. So, if you’re new to hand embroidery and you’re trying to decide which of these two to start, I recommend starting with the easier cross stitching.
You also work with different threads in needlepoint and cross stitch. Because in cross stitch you use embroidery floss ( I like cotton embroidery floss), and in needlepoint you can use different kinds of yarn, and even embroidery floss.
And the fabric you use is different. Since needlepoint is a canvas work you use a canvas fabric, and canvas fabric is a more sturdy fabric and because you use thicker threads and yarn, it has larger holes than cross stitch fabric. Cross stitch fabric is a softer fabric than needlepoint canvas even though its still stiff.
Needlepoint and cross stitch are both used for different things. While cross stitch is made for pictures and ornaments, needlepoint can be used for belts, decorative pillows and you can even use needlepoint to upholster a chair. So, that means that another difference is that needlepoint is stronger than cross stitch.
And in cross stitch you will sometimes leave areas blank with no stitches. But, in needlepoint you’ll cover the whole canvas.
And because you use so many different stitches and different materials, the looks are completely different. Even if you use the same pattern to make both a needlepoint project and a cross stitch project.
So, what do you think of cross stitch vs needlepoint?
Do you like needlepoint or cross stitch better? They’re both great forms of embroidery and are both beautiful. To me one is really no better than the other. But, I like all kinds of different hand embroidery types.
I will say that if you’re at a beginner skill level in embroidery, cross stitch is the one you probably need to start with, but that’s up to you. There is no right or wrong choice in picking a type of needlework you want to do.
Thank you for reading my post and I hope that it helped you figure out the difference between cross stitch vs needlepoint.
Be sure to check out my other blog posts.
- DIY Needle Tatting (Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial)
- Shuttle Tatting for Beginners: Step by Step Tutorial
- Needlepoint vs Embroidery: What’s The Difference
- The 3 Best Curved Rulers to use for Sewing
- What are The Best Sewing Clips to use foe Sewing