6 Differences Between Counted And Stamped Cross Stitch

Cross stitching is one of the most common hand embroidery techniques that embroiderers use. There are two different methods of cross-stitch hand embroidery that you can use to embroider on fabrics. Counted and stamped cross-stitch.

As a cross-stitch embroiderer, you can choose between the two techniques to make your hand embroidery. These techniques are similar as you use cross-stitch on both, use an Aida fabric, and embroidery floss and needles.

Several differences between the two result in the different names of the techniques.

What Are The Differences Between Counted And Stamped Cross Stitch?

1. Definition

Counted cross-stitch is a cross-stitch technique where you follow an external digital or physical pattern for your embroidery. Successful cross-stitch involves counting the number of stitches the pattern needs for an even finish.

So, for every part of the pattern, you will make, you know how many stitches you need to make. If, for example, your pattern has five colors, you know the number of stitches you need to make for every color.

Stamped cross-stitch is a cross-stitch technique where you follow a pattern printed on the Aida fabric. You can then wash off the pattern after you have finished your cross-stitch project.

In stamped cross-stitch, you only follow along with the pattern as it is. You don’t need to count stitches to know which color to stitch on what part of the fabric.

2. Has A Key To Decode

In counted cross-stitch, you need a key. This key ensures that you can successfully transfer the embroidery design from a digital or paper template, to your fabric. The key provides you with symbols for the different colors of embroidery floss you will use in your project.

It also provides you with a scale and directions on how many stitches you will need for each color on your cross-stitch. For example, the key will tell you how many blue stitches you need to make from the beginning of your project. It will also tell you the direction in which you will make the stitches.

Following the key requires some practice. With time you will be an expert counted cross-stitch embroiderer.

Stamped cross-stitch doesn’t need a key to guide you. You will follow the printed image on the fabric as it is. Use the different colored floss for different colored sections. You don’t need a guide as you can see where each color starts and ends.

If your stamped pattern is in black and white, your stamped cross-stitch kit may contain a key to guide you on the color placement of the pattern.

3. Available In Kits

Stamped cross-stitch is available in kits. If you want to do a stamped cross-stitch project, you will have to buy a kit. The kit includes the printed Aida fabric, printed instructions, embroidery needles and, the different colored embroidery floss you need to complete the project.

If you want to work on a counted cross-stitch, you can also buy a kit. A kit will have the plain fabric, the pattern, the key or guide to counting the stitches, and the embroidery needles and floss you need.

However, you don’t need a kit to make a counted cross-stitch project. You can get your patterns and guides online or from magazines. You will then buy the fabric, needles, and floss that you need to transfer the pattern onto an Aida fabric.

4. Complexity

Stamped cross-stitch is an easy and simple cross-stitch technique. It is suitable for beginners as the image is already made for you on the fabric. All you need to do is follow along with the image to make your embroidery. The fabric you use for a stamped cross-stitch must have large boxes for the embroiderer to see and follow the pattern easily.

Most hand embroiderers start with a stamped cross-stitch before they can advance to the counted cross-stitch technique.

Counted cross-stitch is more complex and requires you to have advanced or intermediate level cross-stitch skills. You can also do it as a beginner but it will not be as easy as the stamped cross-stitch.

Counted cross-stitch involves lots of details. You can also use a lower count fabric to make an exquisite full-coverage cross-stitch pattern which you cannot do with a stamped cross-stitch. This allows you to use a wide range of colors to make your hand embroidery project.

5. Starting Point

For a stamped cross-stitch project, you can start anywhere. Your pattern is already made and all you need to do is stitch your X stitches over it. You are not bound to start at the center of the fabric like in counted cross-stitch. Depending on the stamped design, you may be required to start at the center of the design moving outwards.

In counted cross-stitch, you start your embroidery project from the center of the fabric. This allows you to count your stitches from a specific point moving out to fill the whole fabric.

6. Type Of Project

Another significant difference between counted and stamped cross-stitch is the type of project that you can make from each.

Stamped cross-stitch allows for smaller and simple design projects. You can use it to make table mats, and other small decorations you can hang in your house.

If you want to make a large hand embroidered project, you will need to rely on counted cross-stitch. Full coverage cross-stitch designs made with counted cross-stitch technique. As the name suggests, this is a project that covers a large fabric fully. When the project is done, it resembles a painting.

Many full coverage cross-stitch patterns are framed and hanged as decoration. Since you need a large space and more color to complete this project, it would be difficult to do it with a stamped cross-stitch.

Counted cross-stitch projects are more complex than stamped cross-stitch projects. Gridding your fabric helps you to count your stitches much easily. This helps to make progress even with complex projects much faster. Different grids on your fabric can hold different colors or different parts of your design.

What Do You Need For A Cross Stitch Project?

Whether you choose counted or stamped cross-stitch, you need the same tools and materials. Cross stitching is an embroidery technique and thus you need to have the right tools to complete your project as you would like.

One of the most integral tools that you must-have for a cross-stitch project is fabric. Aida fabric, Evenweave, or linen are the most common fabrics used in cross-stitch embroidery. Cross-stitch requires fabric that has holes so that you make a single in the holes already in the fabric. Aida fabric which is the most commonly used for cross-stitch is made with wide open-weaves that have visible holes.

The other item you must-have for a cross-stitch project is a hoop. Embroidery requires that your fabric is kept taut as you work on it. Hoop your cross-stitch fabric every time. This makes it easier for you to see the holes in the fabric. For stamped cross-stitch, you can also clearly see the printed pattern on the fabric when it is hooped.

Embroidery floss is a must-have for a cross-stitch project. Embroidery floss has six strands of thread. In cross-stitching, you will rarely need all six strands. Most projects require you to use a single or only two strands. Make sure to choose high-quality floss for all your cross-stitch embroidery projects.

Embroidery needles go together with your floss and cross-stitch fabric. Depending on the fabric you are using, the number of strands of embroidery floss, you will need a different embroidery needle. You must have a range of embroidery needles to complete your cross-stitch project.

Is Needle Point The Same As Cross Stitch?

No. Needlepoint and cross-stitch are different types of hand embroidery techniques. However, both techniques produce beautiful embroidery on the different fabrics they are used on. Needlepoint is embroidery done with wool on open-weave canvas. Cross-stitch on the other hand is done with embroidery floss on open-weave fabric such as Aida or linen.

Another significant difference between the two embroidery techniques is the type of stitch used. Cross stitch uses the X stitch while needlepoint embroidery allows the use of a range of stitches. You are not limited to a single type of stitch in needlepoint. The most common stitch for needlepoint embroidery is known as the tent style. Which is used together with other stitches.

Needlepoint is a surface embroidery, while cross-stitch goes into the fabric being stitched. A major skill you need to have when using needlepoint embroidery is to make sure that you don’t pierce through the fabric that you are working on. Your stitches should be on the surface of the fabric. For cross-stitch, your X stitches must go into the holes on the fabric.

When you needlepoint embroidery, the pattern is usually drawn on the tent fabric before you start sewing. Making it much easier than cross-stitch. While working with cross-stitch embroidery, requires you to transfer a pattern from another source onto the fabric. Thus it is more time-consuming and complex.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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