How Many Threads For Cross Stitch

There are quite a several cross-stitching threads to choose from the categories. The threads come in different forms of thickness and colors.

Thus, it’s up to you and your preferences to choose the best thread that suits your type of fabric. However, cotton, silk, and wool are the most common threads used for cross-stitching.

Below is a guide to choosing the best thread for your cross-stitching.

How Many Threads for Cross Stitch?

Cross stitching is an art that gets better with each learning experience. The number of threads needed to complete your cross-stitching depends on many things.

The type and size of your fabric are significant determinants of how many threads you will use. Besides, the type of pattern you are stitching on your fabric will also dictate the number of threads you will need.

Nevertheless, complex patterns will use more threads than simple ones.

Most Recommended Thread for Cross Stitch

Stranded embroidery cotton has been the traditional most common cross stitch thread. The thread is the best because of its texture and strands.

Moreover, the strands give you the option of choosing the number of strands you need for your fabric. So, that makes it a flexible thread to work in cross-stitching.

The thread also comes in over 500 shades of colors that you can choose from for the project. At no point will you miss a mix of colors for your cross stitch pattern.

Let’s say you primarily work on Aida and don’t feel confident about the number of strands. In this case, you can complete some cross-stitches for the testing purpose.

After that, take a look at your stitching in the light. You will notice that some colors might need more or fewer strands to suit the design.

What Are Different Types of Cross Stitch Thread?

There are many types of embroidery threads in the market, but not all are for cross-stitching. Threads for cross-stitching include cotton thread, metallic thread, Perle cotton, wool, and silk.

1. Perle Cotton Thread

Unlike stranded cotton thread, Perle cotton is non-divisible. By being non-divisible means, it should cross stitch the way it is.

Yet, it comes in different thicknesses and colors, making it easier to choose the best one. Perle cotton thread is heavier than a single strand of cotton thread.

Every single Perle cotton thread consists of two different fibers tightly twisted. The tight twist is what makes the thread non-divisible.

Moreover, Perle cotton has a great texture that makes it great for cross-stitching.

2. Silk Thread for Cross Stitching

Silk threads are perfect on fine stitching. They come in beautiful and brilliant shades of colors.

Silk thread is not only strong but has the highest sheen of all the natural embroidery threads. Moreover, silk thread comes in different forms.

It includes stranded silk, flat silk, buttonhole silk, and twisted silk.

Stranded silk consists of spun silk, and it behaves more like stranded cotton. Flat silk, buttonhole silk, and twisted silk consist of filament silk.

Silk thread tends to fade, and sometimes it may fade. The fading is because of bleeding.

Nevertheless, you can use silk thread to couch other threads.

3. Stranded Cotton Thread

Stranded cotton thread is the most used thread for cross-stitching. That’s because the cotton thread has a gentle and soft look.

The thread is strong and comes in many different colors. DMC, a leading thread manufacturer, provides over 500 different colors of cotton thread.

Thus, it gives you a wide range of colors to choose from for whatever pattern you want to create.

Stranded cotton consists of 6 strands of threads that are loosely twisted. Cross stitching needs only one to two strands at a time.

So, it means you can make many stitches out of a single piece of 6 strands. It’s easy to split the strands as they are loosely twisted.

4. Metallic Thread for Cross Stitching

Metallic thread is beautiful and brilliant, but it frays, tangles, and tarnishes. Moreover, this unique thread comes in different shapes and sizes.

You may find it difficult to wash a cross-stitch fabric with metallic thread. Moreover, you can stitch the metallic thread on its own or use it to make highlights in an embroidery pattern.

A combination of metallic thread and other threads gives a sparkle to your cross stitch.

The metallic thread consists of a fine twisted metallic foil. These metallic foils make a smooth and strong thread.

However, they are not of metal but synthetic material. It comes in many shades of color to choose from for your project.

5. Wool Thread for Cross Stitching

The wool thread is also famous as tapestry wool or crewel wool. The wool thread is the best choice when you want to achieve that fuzzier effect for your pattern.

That’s because it is hairy and thick. The wool thread consists of two loosely twisted strands.

One strand of wool is as thick as two strands of cotton thread. The wool thread is usually suitable to add texture to your cross stitch.

What’s more, you can use one strand at a time or both depending on the texture you want to bring out.

Felted wool is pure wool that undergoes the felting process for a fuzzy texture. Also, it is the best wool to cross stitch with when you are looking to get a fuzzy finish.

6. Variegated Threads

Variegated thread classification is according to the colors. It comes in different shades of colors in the same skein.

What’s more, it also comes in different thread fibers of cotton, rayon, and silk. This thread gives a stunning look of blended colors to your cross stitch.

Moreover, you can choose it if you want to give your pattern a stunning finish of blended colors.

What Threads Should You Avoid for Cross-Stitching?

On the other hand, embroidery threads may not be so suitable for cross-stitching. It’s always good to know which threads to buy for your cross stitching project to get you the desired finish.

1. Beading thread

Beading threads are not suitable for cross stitching due to their texture and thickness. However, you can try this thread if you are cross-stitching leather, although not the best choice.

Nevertheless, the beading thread uses include binding and beading. The thread is, yet, strong and durable.

2. Crochet Thread

Crocheting can use any thread, but there is a specific one manufactured for that. The crochet thread may not be the best for your cross stitch.

Despite being beautiful and being manageable, its texture is not suitable for cross-stitching. Nevertheless, crochet thread also comes in many beautiful colors to select for your other projects.

3. Sashiko Thread

Sashiko thread is common in Japan. It’s very suitable to do clothing repair called Sashiko hence the name.

What’s more, this thread is thick and has a unique twist. It is solid and durable, but it’s not suitable for cross stitching fabric due to its vast thickness.

How Many Threads Do You Need for Cross Stitch?

First of all, choosing the number of strands to use in a needle is an art. So, you can play around with this fantastic art.

Knowing the number of strands you use for cross-stitching can be tricky for beginners. The type of fabric you are cross-stitching determines the number of strands you need.

Moreover, the type of texture you want to achieve for your embroidery is another factor to consider.

Cotton threads consist of 6 strands loosely twisted together for easy splitting. However, thick fabrics need more than one strand to cross stitch to achieve a standard texture.

So, the thicker the fabric, the more the number of thread strands to use. Using more than a strand of thread also improves the texture as well as solidifies the color.

We can take a different view on this question. Let’s consider 14 and 16-count Aida.

When you work on 14-count Aida, it is more preferable to use two strands. These strands could be of stranded cotton.

The exact number applies to your 16-count Aida, too. What’s more, it is fair to mix up the total number of threads while working on the same project.

Nevertheless, one can choose to work with one and even three thread strands to get better finishing and texture.

How Many Threads Do I Use on 14 Count Aida?

Generally, cross-stitching should use two strands of thread on 14 -count Aida. But you can mix the number of strands within the same project to alter the texture.

In short, you can alternate the number of strands between one and three. However, going beyond three strands might make your project look too un-proportionate.

How Many Threads Do I Use on 18 Count Aida?

In an 18 count Aida, one or two strands of thread are perfect. It will depend on how heavy you want your finished cross stitch to look.

So, using two strands will mean a heavier and more solid coverage. Likewise, using one strand will give you a delicate and light finished piece.



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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