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A look at cross stitch vs embroidery – what is the difference between the two, which is easier to learn, which should you choose to try and more!
You might have found yourself wondering about cross stitch vs embroidery…
- What’s the difference between cross stitch and embroidery?
- Which is easier?
- Which one should I try?
Technically speaking, embroidery is an over-arching term that simply refers to the art of creating a decorative design on fabric using a needle and thread. That’s it; nothing more and nothing less.
So technically, cross stitch is one specific of embroidery.
What is Cross Stitch?
Cross Stitch is a specific type of hand embroidery that uses a grid-like fabric, and counted stitches to create a specific design.
Cross Stitch uses mostly X-shaped stitches, which is where it gets its name – x stitch or cross stitch.
Cross Stitch either involves preplanned designs that are stamped onto the fabric for you to follow, or you follow a colored cross-stitch chart that functions as a map for your project.
Finished cross stitch projects are flat with boxy, angular stitches.
They work well for words or slogans, as well as other angular designs.
What is Embroidery?
We already talked about how embroidery technically refers to creating decorative designs with a needle and thread on fabric; nothing more or less.
But in today’s craft world, when people talk about “embroidery” and more specifically “hand embroidery”, they are talking about a more specific subset of embroidery.
They are talking about a hobby with some similarities to cross stitch, but uses a wide variety of stitches to create designs on fabric using a needle and embroidery thread.
Embroidery stitches and projects are usually raised and more three-dimensional, unlike cross stitch’s flat appearance.
Embroidery is also very well suited to both planned patterns and freestyle projects that you can make up as you go.
Embroidery Vs. Cross Stitch
SUPPLIES needed for Cross Stitch vs Embroidery
Cross Stitch: typically done on a cotton Aida fabric that is stiff and has clear holes in a grid pattern to facilitate the cross stitch process.
Embroidery: nearly any type of fabric. The most common are cotton, linen, muslin, or a natural fabric like osnaburg or burlap. You can even embroidery on fabric like denim if you choose.
Both cross stitch and embroidery require embroidery thread and a needle, as well as an embroidery hoop to put your fabric in to keep it taut while you stitch.
STITCHES in Cross Stitch and Embroidery Projects
Cross Stitch: uses an X stitch most of the time. Cross stitch lays flat; the stitches lay flat on the fabric.
Embroidery: uses a wide variety of stitches (straight stitch, running stitch, backstitch, satin stitch, split stitch, stem stitch, and french knot to name a few.) Embroidery is often three-dimensional and is raised on the surface of your fabric.
Should I Learn to Cross Stitch or Embroider?
The answer is: it depends. You’ll find advocates of each type of craft.
Cross Stitch was very popular years ago and is seeing a surge in popularity again.
It often comes in a cross stitch kit, which includes everything you need to try your project.
And the other main benefit is cross stitch requires learning just ONE stitch (the X stitch) before you can begin.
But embroidery is a crowd favorite for many reasons; namely the more forgiving, flexible ability to play around with a variety of stitches, and create interesting masterpieces!
If you have to pick just one, I would recommend trying out embroidery.
Get yourself a few supplies:
- a piece of fabric
- an embroidery hoop
- an embroidery needle with a large eye,
- and a few colors of embroidery floss.
Take a look at this guide for the types of embroidery stitches, and start off easy. Try a straight, running, or satin stitch and go from there.
Chances are, you’ll be hooked within the hour.
Whether you are wondering about cross stitch vs embroidery, or maybe even both, they are fantastic handmade hobbies that require very little equipment to get started.
Both cross stitch and embroidery projects are portable and are easy to start and stop when you need to. Perfect for on the go!
Which one is your favorite?