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Topic: Embroidery vs Cross Stitch  (Read 14627 times)
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« on: July 11, 2004 01:02:54 AM »

Okay, sorry if this sounds like a stupid question...I am new to cross-stitching I actually just learned yesterday from my grandmother who use to do it A LOT. Anyways, the question I had was; whats the difference between embroidery and cross-stitching? They kind of look the same to me except the way the stitches are done. I really like the patterns @ Sublime Stitching...can these be used for cross stitching also? And is embroidery as easy to learn as cross-stitching? I hope someone can help me ... Thanks Cheesy

You were everything, everything that I wanted
We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it
All of the memories, so close to me, just fade away
All this time you were pretending
So much for my happy ending
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2004 07:01:39 AM »

I think that technically cross-stitch is a type of embroidery.  The difference, in my mind, is that embroidery has many many more different stitches to try and can be easily done on non-specialty fabric.  I learned cross-stitch from my mom when I was a kid, but I quickly found it boring because of having to follow the little diagrams constantly, the counting, not getting to pick colors, etc.  I'm learning embroidery now, and I find it much more exciting.

With some work, I'm sure you could adapt the Sublime Stitching patterns to cross-stitch.  Maybe you could juxtapose a graph over the paper patterns and follow that as your cross-stich guide.  Or you could iron on the transfers like usual and then just get creative about using cross-stitches and half stitches and whatnot to follow the lines.  As far as being easy to learn, the split stitch, which is described in the materials you get from Sublime Stitching, is really easy.  If you can cross-stitch, you can split stitch, and the stitch can be used to do most of the patterns.  Her How-to is here: http://www.sublimestitching.com/howto.html I've found this site: http://www.stitchguide.com/ to be useful in learning new stitches.

Good luck!  Personally, I've found myself entirely addicted.
shes crafty
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2004 07:38:10 AM »

I agree with embroidering the truth.  Why is it called cross-stitching?  Because it is an 'X' shape.  I did cross-stitch as a kid, and now embroider, which I like much better.  Why?  Because you can choose your own colors, fabric and distort the pattern to your individual tastes.
What might be better than adapting embroidery to cross-stitch is adapting cross-stitch to embroidery.

And now the cross-stitchers unite to kill me... sorry!!!
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2004 05:00:13 PM »

I enjoy both, they're both fun and can be relaxing...you can get alot of thinking done when you embroider Smiley

"One is never as unhappy as one thinks, nor as happy as one hopes"
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2004 08:29:09 AM »

I don't really have much to add, except to underline most of what was already said. Cross-stitch never appealed to me because it seemed too restrictive design-wise, there's only one stitch (correct me if I'm wrong) and I didn't want to bother with a chart, counting, etc.  Embroidery is more fluid, has more variations and applications, endless stitches and texture variations... and once you have a pattern to follow, you can really zone out and stitch away. That's the fun part. There are however, patterns that are like embroidery patterns where the entire design is mapped out with x's. So, you are working in cross-stitch (yes, just making an 'x'), but without a chart to follow.

Here's a little primer (each title gives links to examples):

Embroidery is what I do (the most basic: using thread to embellish or decorate), and needlepoint, crewel, cross-stitch, tapestry...all are cousins of embroidery. It can be done by hand or machine, on any fabric you can pass a needle and thread through. The fabric does not dictate where the stitches can and can't go. There is digitized embroidery (like what you see on baseball caps) or there is old-fashioned chain-stitch embroidery (like you see on rodeo and vintage western wear, bowling shirts, etc). You can follow a pattern, make your own, or just work in decorative stitches. Embroidery runs the gamut from high fashion to fancying towels. It is very easy to learn, and very inexpensive. Of course, it can become extremely detailed oriented and you can develop very sophisticated ways of executing it. It's all possible. Embroidery is the most far-reaching, creatively, of the decorative needlecrafts...in my humble, unbiased opinion. Roll Eyes

Cross Stitch- We've pretty much covered this: worked in 'x's, you generally have a chart to follow to count placement of the stitches on an open-weave fabric. This is called 'thread-counted embroidery' because you count as you work. SewKits by Sonja Todd is well worth checking out. I don't know why, but the generator would *not* let me create a link to this site: subversivecrossstitch.com. Maybe because it has profanity...?

Needlepoint is worked on an open-weave canvas, and covers the entire surface. Usually you see needlepoint on the side of purses (thing antique bags), on the tops of footstools (usually a floral bouquet), as wall hangings, etc. There's a site with really cute patterns here.

Crewel Embroidery - Crewel differs from embroidery only in that is uses wool yarn (instead of cotton floss or some other thread) traditionally stitched on linen. The patterns are generally floral, and the stitches are mostly long, satin stitches (to fill up solid areas). It's also worked with a needle with hook-shaped tip, although I think a regular needle is also an option.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2004 08:31:43 AM by SublimeStitcher » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Embroidery Rocks! Sublime Stitching RULES.
Kits - Patterns - How 2

Embroidered Artwork by Jenny Hart
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2004 04:32:01 PM »

Since no one is prepared to stand up for cross-stitch, I'll do it.  I suppose everone is technically correct that cross-stitch is just the ex.  But what most designers are designing now is counted thread embroidery which just means you're doing embroidery stitches on more of a grid (ie evenweave fabric).  It's probably a bit easier for new stitchers to learn the stitches on a grid than freestyle--at least initially it would help make your stitches even, you know, if you care about that kind of thing. 

Also, just because a pattern is written a certain way (with suggested colors,etc) doesn't mean you can't change the pattern to suit your needs.  You can change colors out.  (http://www.silversites.net The Silver Needle changes lots of patterns from plain vanilla six strand floss and uses Rainbow Gallery Threads, wool, beads, etc.  When I was teaching cross-stitch in Poland (I was a ESL teacher who had to also do "activities" with the students), all the students were beginners and none of them had hang ups about using the "right" colors or doing the pattern exactly as it was written.  Their joie de vivre should inspire us all.

And there's more to life than AIDA cloth!
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2004 06:46:19 PM »

Since no one is prepared to stand up for cross-stitch, I'll do it.  I suppose everone is technically correct that cross-stitch is just the ex.  But what most designers are designing now is counted thread embroidery which just means you're doing embroidery stitches on more of a grid (ie evenweave fabric).  It's probably a bit easier for new stitchers to learn the stitches on a grid than freestyle--at least initially it would help make your stitches even, you know, if you care about that kind of thing. 

That's great that cross-stitch is becoming more varied.  Honestly, my opinion of cross-stitch is formed from the patterns I used as a kid back in the 80's and from what I remember of what mother and most of the other women in my family made--lots of counting little x's, country critters, etc.  Right now, as I'm working on developing my skills, I'm doing some fun designs from transfers on regular cloth, but I'm also doing some original free-hand work on the kind of linen made for cross-stitch for the very reasons you mention above.  Without the grid, I can't yet get even rows of satin stitch or straight lines of back stitch, etc.

Thanks for posting a different POV, annavs.  Doing stitching projects with Polish ESL students sounds very cool, also.  The international language of stitching.  <g>
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2004 07:08:33 AM »

I'm actually surprised that more people haven't gotten excited about cross-stitch and needlepoint, since it has so much in common with pixel art. Witness:

http://www.drokk.com/projects/dungbeetle/ (an oldie but goodie)
http://www.bikiniqueens.jp/macoto/ (via Sublime Stitching!)

Then again, I guess the tedium of it must be a big deterrent. To me it doesn't seem any more "tedious" and repetitive than knitting, but then again I've never tried!
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2004 08:28:52 AM »

I will stand up for cross stitch, too, annavs!

I learned to stitch in the 80s and it was all bunnies and boring crap, but it has come a long way since then.  The X stitch is still the main stitch, but there are a lot of other stitches to be done now.  There is also a lot of variety in thread available now, instead of just the standard cotton floss.  There are metallics, silks, etc.  Plus beading and such.

The thing I still love about cross stitch is that it does have some structure to it, that linear process just appeals to my personality, I guess. There are a lot of beautiful things to be stitched out there, and I also have software that allows me to create a chart from any graphic image or photo, so there is really no limit to the creativity.

Here are a few sites that have designs that differ from the traditional bunnies and florals:

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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2004 03:04:53 AM »

sorry, bit late jumping into this discussion.

I do, and enjoy, both cross stitch and more "surface work", each for their own reasons. I dont feel that one is better than the other - each has their strong points and their fans!

A nice article on playing with the xs of cross stitch to make something new can be found here:


check out some of the other projects for good stuff as well (my fave is the Encrusting Calico)

Stitchalicious - funking up embroidery

Street art and Graffiti cross stitch patterns!
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