Difference Between Needlepoint and Cross Stitch

Stitching and embroidery work has become a therapeutic hobby for many women and men across the globe. All one needs is threads, clothes and a chair by a peaceful place, preferably a fireplace.


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Over the years, many types of embroideries have come into existence as people started adding their styles into it. Two such types of embroideries are needlepoint and cross-stitch.

Needlepoint vs Cross Stitch

The difference between Needlepoint and Cross Stitch is that needlepoint allows any types of tent stitches while cross stitch only allows the stitches that are shaped ‘x’ or crossed shape. Since needlepoint includes all modes of stitches, cross stitch is also used.

Needlepoint vs Cross stitch

Needlepoint was specifically meant for the tent stitches but as years went on they became inclusive of all types of stitches. One can find a printed canvas for needlepoint embroideries and the end product is usually fluid sceneries and beautiful images.

Cross stitch is when the stitches are formed in the shape of an x as the name cross suggests. They also have printed canvas, but their final product is not as fluid as needlepoint.

They have more symmetry and also have a tiled appearance.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNeedlepointCross Stitch
Type of stitch usedThe needlepoint uses tent stitchCross stitch uses the x shaped stitch
Type of canvas/fabricUses stiff and heavier canvasUses light and smooth canvas
Type of threadUses a variety of threads like silk, wool, cottonUses regular cotton but can be substituted with nylon
Mode of stitchingAny modes of stitching can be used through the base layerOnly cross stitch is allowed
Final productCan have intricate pictures with detailsMostly symmetric or has a tiled appearance.


What is Needlepoint?

Needlepoint is one of the oldest embroidery techniques still in practice and its origin can be traced back to Egypt. They are usually done on stiff canvas that has more holes than fabric.

This is to allow more details to be included. The threads used mainly range from the common cotton to the exclusive silk, but the yarn is usually preferred.

The materials are usually found only in stitching stores or stores related to them. They are surface stitching that means, the threads do not go beyond the base layer of the canvas.

The more holes that are present in the canvas, the more details can be added to the design. It is necessary to keep a count of the number of stitches to get the perfect design and the colour.

But nowadays there are printed and painted canvas that has already have the pictures. Some have the colours filled while others allow creativity.

Needlepoint embroidery can be found on handbags, purses, belts etc. They through wear and tear, therefore stiff and heavy materials are used. 

needlepoint 1

What is Cross Stitch?

Cross stitch uses X shaped stitches on their canvas. Their canvas is usually lightweight soft cotton. 

Even cross stitch is surface stitching or base layer stitching. But since they are not used for harshly used cloth, a lightweight canvas cloth is enough for them.

Like needlepoint, cross-stitch embroideries also have printed canvases and they will have to start from the centre counting outwards to get the design right. The thread used is usually cotton that can be found in any art and craft store, but sometimes can be replaced with nylon or rayon. 

There are two types of cross stitch: partial stitch and backstitch. Partial stitch is for getting a particular texture and does not form a complete X shape.

Backstitch is for details and outlines. These stitches are relatively smaller than the other ones.

Cross stitch embroidery is mainly used for frames rather than clothes or accessories. Therefore they can be found on linen or floss cloth as well.

cross stitch

Main Differences Between Needlepoint and Cross Stitch

  1. The main difference between needlepoint and cross stitch is the type of stitches used in the two. Needlepoint uses tent stitch while cross stitch uses ‘x’ shaped stitch.
  2. The type of canvas/ fabric used is also different for both the stitches. Since needlepoint is a surface stitch, the fabric needs to be stiff and have more holes than fabric. While for cross-stitch, the lightweight cotton canvas can be used.
  3. Needlepoint usually uses woollen threads, but can also use a variety of threads like cotton, silk etc. But for cross stitch embroidery, mostly cotton is used. These cotton threads can be replaced with rayon or nylon as well, but cotton is preferred.
  4. All the modes of stitching can be used for needlepoint embroidery. It is flexible to change in the mode of stitching on the surface base. This gives variations in the texture of the product. But the surface base of cross stitch can include only x shaped stitches.
  5. The final product of needlepoint is usually very ornated scenery or textures. But the final product of cross stitch is not as fluid as in the case of needlepoint. Cross stitch usually forms symmetrical pictures or gives a tiled appearance. No other texture is usually observed for cross-stitch, whereas for needlepoint it can vary.
Difference Between Needlepoint and Cross Stitch


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=lEiGeSLKLjMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=Needlepoint+and+Cross+Stitch&ots=pPdpbRybBZ&sig=x_sBMeq8R-bptWjNAFsJwBOyRiM
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cjtTAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA18&dq=Needlepoint+and+Cross+Stitch&ots=sImqK3-SYi&sig=bcHP9geWKXgzK6HTuSMVi0qn0sw
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