In this post, I am going to share 20 FAQs about cross stitch. These are questions that I personally and ones that I see popping up on social media a lot.
These aren’t really questions about any “how-to” but if you are new to cross stitch and need some tutorials I have a lot on this blog and I recommend starting here or downloading my free E-book to get you started in cross stitch.
If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here just pop it in the comments and I will answer it if I can.
20 Cross Stitch FAQs
1. What is the difference between aida and evenweave?
Aida and evenweave are both fabric that can be used to cross stitch on. On aida you “stitch over 1” (meaning you go from one hole directly across to the next hole). But on evenweave you “stitch over 2” so you miss a hole when making your X.
For this reason, evenweave comes in higher counts than aida, but your design can still be the same size on both. If you stitch on 14 count aida and 28 count evenweave your design will be the same size.
2. What can cross stitch be used for?
There are many things you can make from a cross stitch design. You can frame it in a traditional frame or hoop to display it, make a card, a banner, a garland, a cushion, a bookmark, a lampshade and so much more.
You can find many of these tutorials on my blog but I recommend starting with this post which lists my 5 favourite ways to finish a cross stitch project.
3. Is cross stitch easy?
Generally yes, but of course when you are just starting out you will need to work to get the hang of it.
The beauty of cross stitch though is that you can just learn one stitch and still be able to stitch beautiful designs. I try and only use 1 stitch in my designs so they are almost all suitable for beginners.
When buying a kit or design it should say what stitches are included in the pattern and if it is suitable for beginners. If it does’t, you can always ask the designer!
4. Why do cross stitch?
There are many benefits to cross stitch including relieving stress and anxiety, helping you stick to a diet or to quit smoking (it keeps your mind busy), to use as a creative outlet and to use as some self-care time.
Also, it usually keeps our eyes away from a screen (if you use a paper pattern) which has huge benefits, especially before going to bed. You can read more about the benefits some of my readers have found here.
5. What is cross stitch vs needlepoint?
Although they may seem similar, cross stitch and needlepoint are different. The main differences are the type of stitch used, the fabric and the thread.
The most common stitch for needlepoint is the tent stitch ( which looks like /// ) although there are others, and for cross stitch it’s the cross (which looks like X ).
The fabric used for needlepoint is actually a canvas so is sturdier than cross stitch fabric and has bigger holes. The fabric used for cross stitch is Aida or linen which is much softer and has smaller holes.
The reason you need bigger holes for needlepoint is that the thread you use tends to be wool or yarn and for cross stitch it’s mostly stranded embroidery cotton.
6. Can cross stitch be washed?
It can indeed! Before you start washing though make sure you have used colourfast threads so your colours don’t run (DMC and Anchor threads are colourfast). And you might want to secure the edges of your fabric too so they don’t fray in the wash.
7. Can you cross stitch without a hoop?
Of course. Some people prefer a hoop because without one, their hand aches. But many people stitch without one and some even find it faster this way too.
8. Can you cross stitch on a plane and take needles on board?
Usually, yes. Most airlines will let you take a small sewing needle and a small pair of scissors in your hand luggage but please check before you fly; you don’t want to have your favourite embroidery scissors taken away! I share some more travel tips on this blog post.
9. Where can I buy cross stitch kits?
Some of my favourite designers are Satsuma Street, Stitchrovia, both of whom you can find on Etsy.
10. Where can I buy cross stitch supplies?
I loved Sew and So for supplies but they recently closed down and have been taken over by Love Crafts who seem to have the same supplies and are slowly adding more to their site. They’re just as reasonably priced as Sewand So as well.
11. How to cross stitch faster?
I hate saying this but practice! Some people find not using a hoop a faster way to stitch, but that is totally personal preference.
I do have a few specific tips that might help you cross stitch faster over on this blog post, and it also has some tips on finding more time to fit cross titch into your full life.
12. What size cross stitch needle do I need?
This depends on the count of the fabric you are using as the higher the count the smaller your needle needs to be (which actually means a bigger number).
So for example, 14 count aida or 28 count evenweave/linen needs a size 24 needle. And 16 count aida or 32 count evenweave/lined needs a size 26 needle, etc.
13. What is cross stitch diamond painting?
Diamond painting and cross stitch are actually 2 separate crafts but are often bundled together because of their similarities.
Diamond painting uses a pattern very similar to cross stitch (in fact you can use most cross stitch patterns as a diamond painting one) but instead of each square being 1 cross stitch, it is filled with a tile usually called a rhinestone or a drill. These rhinestones also match DMC threads in their colours but there is no stitching involved with diamond painting (or any painting for that matter).
14. What is counted cross stitch?
Counted cross stitch is where you follow a printed pattern (or a PDF digital one) and the fabric you are stitching on is blank. It is called counted cross stitch because you have to count your stitches as you go along so you know where you are up to.
15. What is stamped cross stitch?
Stamped cross stitch is where the cross stitch pattern is already on the fabric you will stitch on. You just simply stitch over the pattern and you don’t need to follow a physical pattern. It is called stamped cross stitch because the pattern is usually stamped onto the fabric.
16. Are cross stitch and embroidery the same?
Cross stitch is actually a type of embroidery stitch and is the oldest form of embroidery. However, people now tend to separate cross stitch and embroidery from each other.
If you cross stitch it is usually on aida or evenweave and the pattern is made up of mostly full cross stitches (although there are a few others sometimes included too such as french knots and backstitch).
Hand embroidery is usually stitched on plain cotton and uses a variety of stitches such as chain stitch, satin stitch, backstitch, etc.
17. What are cross stitch samplers?
A cross stitch sampler is ually just another name for a cross titch pattern that is made up of different designs such as words, borders, little motifs etc. Some people also use the word sampler when describing their finished piece.
If you are interest in more cross stitch terms and their meaning I have a free download “88 Cross Stitch Terms That Every Stitcher Should Know” that you can print off and keep.
18. Should I worry about the back of my cross stitch?
My personal opinion is no, especially if you are just starting out. Concentrate on the front first and try not to worry about what the back looks like.
Of course, there are times when you should worry which I go into more detail on in this post, but most of the time I would say not to stress out about the back – cross stitch is about relaxing!
19. Can I cross stitch a photo?
You can! Many people offer this as part of a service (check out Etsy) or you can do it yourself for free using the website Pic2Pat.
20. How do I cross stitch on clothes?
This question needs its own blog post and I have one!
It is relatively easy to cross stitch on clothes though; you just need some waste canvas to pin onto your clothes to use as a guide for your cross stitches and then just remove the canvas once you are done.
You can read the full tutorial here.