Is Cross Stitch or Embroidery Easier For Beginners?

Cross stitch is simply a form of embroidery stitches formed of two stitches crossing each other making it form an X shape on the fabric material to create a design while embroidery stitch is a kind of stitch used in creating designs on a fabric material using a needle and thread to follow a particular pattern. Besides, cross stitches can only be achieved by making use of your hand but embroidery is done by hand or machine.

From the definition and the practical aspect, cross stitch is easier to learn and work with than embroidery for beginners that are into creative art because of its simplicity and other reasons. However, based on interest, few people seem to have it easier with embroidery than cross stitch.

Cross stitch is also a subset of embroidery and also has its disadvantages as embroidery has some advantages over cross stitch but let’s take a deeper look so that you can be able to decide on which one is easier for you to practice.

Why Is Cross Stitch Easier Than Embroidery For Beginners?

Cross stitch has its advantages and limitations too but the advantage seems to weigh more than the disadvantages when it comes to learning it. Here are a few reasons why beginners love to learn cross stitches before going into embroidery stitches.

1. Easy To Learn

Cross stitch uses a simple pattern of a stitch crossing the other, making it look like an X shape, which is easy to learn for anyone not putting age into consideration.

2. Easy To Follow Pattern

Patterns in cross stitches can be replicated on the fabric by counting the number of squares to create a piece of art on the fabric, instead of printing it on the fabric.

3. Ready-made Hole On Woven Fabric

The stitch is made on a piece of woven fabric with pre-punched holes, which will guide you on where next to put your needle to acquire neat stitches.

4. Limited Amount Of Threads

Compared to embroidery stitches, cross stitches use about two to three strands of cotton (floss), making it easy to learn even without an instructor.

5. Cheap to Practice

Cross stitch requires your hand, needle, floss, and the fabric you want to work it, unlike embroidery, which might require a machine to achieve some pattern.

What Advantage Does Embroidery Have Over Cross Stitch?

Few beginners prefer embroidery stitches to cross stitch, and that is because embroidery can produce a certain result that cross stitch cannot provide. Let’s look at a few of those results.

1. Easy To Complete Project

An embroidery project is easy to complete, as the stitches are big enough to see without having to strain your eyes.

2. It Is Therapeutic

Embroidery is a great type of stitch for you to work with, as it helps keep your mind focused, teaches you patience, and helps boost your confidence.

3. Flexibility in Use Of Stitch

There are varieties of stitches and knots to use in embroidery, unlike cross stitches, where you have to use the X-shaped format to do all your designs. All you have to do is master the basic stitches in embroidery.

4. Diversification

Compared to cross stitch, which can only be worked on fabric embroidery, you can use different things as mediums for your designs, ranging from fabric to plastic and leather. Besides, in embroidery, every mistake is a design, as a short stitch in a long stitch could depict a design.

5. Machine Enabled

Some machines can help you interpret your creativity on your material without having to use your hand to stitch.

What Are The Challenges Of Embroidery?

Art instructors tend not to expose beginners to embroidery because of the challenges needlework beginners have encountered over time, and these are a few of the challenges.

1. Expensive

To master embroidery stitches perfectly, you will need to spend more, as you have to buy different materials, from ribbons to yarn.

 However, starting embroidery is inexpensive, but as you go higher in learning, you will have to spend on purchasing things needed to learn new styles and get different mediums. Do not worry, these challenges can be overcome if you do the work neatly and sell it.

2. Wide Scope of Learning

You need an instructor and need to learn widely when it comes to learning and mastering embroidery. As there are so many stitches to learn about, some are easy to learn, and others are a bit challenging to learn.

How To Cross Stitch For Beginners?

Cross stitching for beginners might take about two hours, and the materials needed for the task are all in your kits, but you can also come up with yours.

  • A stranded cotton
  • Tapestry needle
  • 14-count Aida or linen fabric.

The steps involved are as follows

Step One: Read Through The Cross Stitch Chart.

The chart opens up your understanding of everything that is needed to know about cross stitch patterns. While reading it, make sure the chart is turned upside down or right side up to have the right patterned design.

There are three things you need to go through when studying your chart pattern, and they are the legends, symbols, and pattern notes, which will help you get it right easily and faster.

However, you will get it all wrong as a beginner if you start stitching at the right-hand side or left-hand side, so you should start stitching at the center of your design. You can read further online on how to read a cross stitch chart.

Step Two: Protect Your Fabric

The most common fabric used by beginners for cross stitch design is the Aida fabric, but you can also consider using a linen fabric if you have an instructor around.

However, this fabric tends to get smaller while stitching, as the edges fray easily. This can be solved by making a zigzag stitch on the edges either with your hand or with a serger. After doing that, make sure you press the fabric with a not-too-hot iron.

Step Three: Locate The Centre Of Your Fabric.

The center of your fabric can be easily located by folding your fabric into two halves, then inserting your pin into it for you to locate it after you might have opened your fabric.

After locating the center of your fabric, you can decide to put the fabric in an embroidery hoop, which will make the stitching easier for you as a beginner, as it will hold your fabric in place.

Step Four: Prepare Your Floss

In cross stitch, floss is used as thread, and you will not need more than two strands of floss for your design. Especially when you are using Aida fabric. This can be prepared by gently pulling the strand out of the floss, and making sure not to pull two strands out simultaneously to prevent your floss from scattering or knotting.

Moreover, do not pull more than 18 inches of the strand out at a time to prevent it from knotting when stitching.

Step Five: Insert The Floss Into The Needle

Insert your floss into a round end tapestry needle, which is always used in cross stitching. They are of various sizes ranging from 18 to 28, but you will have to choose depending on the nature of your fabric. In a simpler form, the larger the fabric hole, the larger the needle required for stitching.

Step Six: Start Stitching

Cross stitching is mostly done from left to right in a horizontal manner. Put your fully threaded needle into the front side of the fabric, allowing an inch of the thread to be left at the back of the fabric. Then put your needle into a hole diagonally from the first stitch to make a slanted stitch holding the thread at the back of the fabric.

Put your needle into the hole below the one you used, making the needle come back up and allowing the thread tail (leftover thread at the back) to be covered by this new stitch.

Continue stitching until you make 4 to 5 rows, then make another half cross stitches across the row, making it form an x shape. Then end it by placing your needle under the last 3 to 4 stitches to lock the thread. You can also decide to make individual X stitches, depending on the design you are working on.

Step Seven: Repress Your Fabric

After you might have completed the project, it is important to flatten your fabric to bring out the beauty of the design and for the longevity of the design.

Buying Guide:


If you are planning to go into handcrafting or needlework, the best place to start is to learn cross stitch before learning embroidery, as the cross stitch is easy to learn with low cost, unlike embroidery stitches which involve the use of a machine for some designs.