Cross Stitches

Click on the images to enlarge them!

Cross Stitches

Cross stitches are usually done on eaven-weave fabric, such as Aida or Jobelan, where the warp and the weft threads are of the same size, and there are visible "holes" between them. This implies, that stitches of the same "count" (hence "counted work"), i.e. crossing the same number of fabric threads, will all have the same length and width. Cross stitch is mostly done with two threads of floss in a tapestry needle. Tapestry needles have a blunt tip, so that they don't snag on the fabric threads or even split them.


The little crosses are most commonly stitched over 2 threads of fabric. They can be larger or smaller, though, depending on the count of the fabric and the desired size of the crosses. So, in Canvas Work (or Needlepoint), for example, you generally stitch half crosses over 1 thread only. In any case, the crosses should be done in a square, i.e. they should pass over the same number of threads horizontally and vertically. Make sure, that the thread lying on top of the cross is always pointing in the same direction.

Full Cross Stitch




cross stitch


punto de cruz


point de croix


punto croce






ścieg krzyżykowy


ponto de cruz

There are two main ways of doing the cross stitch.

The first one, called single cross stitch, is based on working every single cross individually, just as shown in the diagrams above. 

The second way, the actual counted cross stitch, is based on stitching a whole row of the lower diagonal lines first, then going back, crossing them with the top lines in the opposite direction. 

As the title full cross stitch suggests, there are a couple of partial variations of this stitch, too, such as ...

These variations are often used to create more detail in a cross stitch pattern, to add a sense of depth or to work specific shapes, corners or circles.

Long-Armed Cross Stitch


Wiener Flechtstich, langarmiger Kreuzstich


long-armed cross stitch

This cross stitch variation is popular in Assisi embroidery, but it can be used for borders or textured fillings as well. It results in a nice plaited line. Therefor, to work it correctly, it isn't possible to first stitch a row of half cross stitches, crossing them with the upper diagonal on the way back, because all the diagonals have to interlace with each other.  

Nordic Needle shows three versions of working the long-arm cross stitch in their stitch dictionary. One starts with a normal full cross stitch, the second with the first long arm, and the third adds a little compensational stitch at the beginning and end of each row. In Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, you will find only the open second version. I used the first version in my Assisi sampler, and this is what I will show here. You can easily check up the other two versions on the Nordic Needle website by clicking on the link above. 

The end of the row remains open, that is you don't work another simple cross stitch at the end as you did at the start. Ending a row of long-armed cross stitch at a slanted outline can prove a bit tricky. For more information look up the Assisi sampler

For the second row, it is best to return to the left side and work it again from left to right. If you don't want to wast thread, however, you can work the second row from right to left, but you have to consider that it will result in a reversed braiding of the threads. 

© Design & Content: Angela Nowicki