Needlepoint vs Cross Stitch: Difference and Comparison

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.

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Needlepoint is a form of embroidery that involves creating designs on an open-weave canvas using a variety of stitches and threads, resulting in a textured, decorative piece.
  2. Cross-stitch is a type of counted-thread embroidery that uses X-shaped stitches on even-weave fabric to create a design, featuring a more pixelated appearance.
  3. The key differences between needlepoint and cross-stitch involve the materials used, stitching techniques, and the appearance of the finished work, with needlepoint using an open-weave canvas and various stitches. In contrast, cross-stitch employs even-weave fabric and a single stitch type.

Needlepoint vs. Cross Stitch

Needlepoint is a term used in clothing. It is a type of tent stitch. A heavy canvas can be required for needlepoint stitching. In this stitching, multiple threads can be used. A cross stitch is a type of stitch in an X shape. Cross-stitching can be done on a smooth canvas. In this stitching, regular cotton is used.

Needlepoint vs Cross stitch

Needlepoint was specifically meant for tent stitches, but as years passed, they became inclusive of all types of stitches. One can find a printed canvas for needlepoint embroideries, and the end product is 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/fabricIt uses stiff and heavier canvasIt uses light and smooth canvas
Type of threadIt uses a variety of threads like silk, wool, cottonIt uses regular cotton but can be substituted with nylon
Mode of stitchingAny mode of stitching can be used through the base layerOnly cross stitch is allowed
Final productIt can 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 done on stiff canvas that has more holes than fabric.

Also Read:  Knit vs Purl: Difference and Comparison

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

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

The more holes in the canvas, the more details can be added to the design. Counting the number of stitches to get the perfect design and color is necessary.

But nowadays, there are printed and painted canvases that already have pictures. Some have the colors filled, while others allow creativity.

Needlepoint embroidery can be found on handbags, purses, belts, etc. They go 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 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 have printed canvases and must start from the center, counting outwards to get the design right. The thread used is cotton which 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. A 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.

Also Read:  Mermaid vs Trumpet: Difference and Comparison

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. Needlepoint uses a tent stitch, while cross stitch uses an ‘x’ shaped stitch.
  2. The type of canvas/ fabric used is also different for both stitches. Since needlepoint is a surface stitch, the fabric needs to be stiff and have more holes than the fabric. While for cross-stitching, lightweight cotton canvas can be used.
  3. Needlepoint uses woolen 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 also be replaced with rayon or nylon, but cotton is preferred.
  4. All the modes of stitching can be used for needlepoint embroidery. It is flexible to change 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 very ornate scenery or textures. But the final product of cross stitch is not as fluid as in the needlepoint case. Cross stitch forms symmetrical pictures or gives a tiled appearance. No other texture is observed for cross-stitch, whereas for needlepoint, it can vary.
Difference Between Needlepoint and Cross Stitch


Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

21 thoughts on “Needlepoint vs Cross Stitch: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I’ve always preferred cross-stitch, perhaps due to its more symmetrical and tiled appearance. It’s fantastic to understand the technical differences and the origin of these two traditional embroidery methods.

    • I agree, the uniformity of cross stitch is really appealing. It’s great to see how these techniques have continued to be relevant and loved across generations.

  2. I wish the article would have included tips for starting needlepoint or cross-stitching. It’s clear the differences between the two, but some beginner pointers would be helpful. Nonetheless, it’s a comprehensive comparison overall.

    • That’s a valid point – beginners could use some guidance on starting out. Perhaps they could explore online resources or seek out local stitching groups to help them get started.

  3. Needlepoint and cross stitch hands down, the best ways to get creative and relax. It’s enriching to see the diverse ways in which one can express themselves and create beautiful art through these methods.

  4. I really enjoyed learning about the different materials and techniques used in needlepoint and cross stitch. Understanding these intricacies contributes to a greater appreciation of the artistry involved.

    • Agreed, the more we understand the techniques and materials, the more we can experiment and create unique designs. It’s a fascinating journey to embarking on.

  5. I’ve always enjoyed needlepoint – it’s a therapeutic hobby that has been around for centuries. Needlepoint allows for intricate, delicate pictures with a variety of detail, thanks to the stiff canvas and range of threads available. I’m looking forward to broadening my horizons and trying out cross stitch too!

    • Yes, needlepoint really is a timeless craft. The combination of various threads and stitches provides such a wide array of artistic possibilities – it’s definitely worth exploring.

    • Absolutely! Needlepoint is such a versatile and beautiful craft. It’s interesting that the canvas has more holes than fabric – it’s all in the details.

  6. I wish they had included more about the modern applications of these techniques along with the historical and technical comparison. Nevertheless, it’s an insightful and engaging read.

    • Modern applications would certainly be interesting to explore, it would be great if the article had delved into that aspect as well. However, the historical and technical information is quite informative.

  7. I found the historical origins of needlepoint interesting. It’s amazing to think about how these techniques have evolved over time. It really gives a sense of appreciation for the craft.

    • Absolutely, exploring the roots of needlepoint and cross stitch adds another layer of depth to the craft. The influences from different cultures and times make it such a rich tradition.

  8. I appreciate the clear and concise comparison between needlepoint and cross stitch. The detailed explanation of each method, as well as the table comparison, made it easy to understand the differences.

    • Yes, the information provided really helps in distinguishing these two embroidery styles. The different materials and techniques used make each of them unique in their own way.

  9. I love a good comparison! The clear differences in materials, stitches, and finished appearance between needlepoint and cross stitch really help distinguish the two. I’d be interested in learning some advanced techniques for both methods.

    • Yes, advanced techniques would be intriguing! The more intricate and detailed the project, the better. I enjoy the challenge of refining my skills on complex designs.

    • Absolutely – the differences make it easier to choose the right method for a particular project. I find cross stitch particularly fascinating due to its more pixelated appearance.

  10. I love learning about the details that make needlepoint and cross stitch unique. These types of articles help make art more accessible and understandable to a wider audience.


Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!