Cross Stitch Embroidery

Example of cross stitch embroidery. Example of cross stitch embroidery.

Cross stitch embroidery is a widespread form of counted thread embroidery, in which X-shaped stitches are used to create a design or pattern. Cross stitch embroidery should not be confused with canvas embroidery. The two types of work are comparable, but the first is generally worked on a cloth ground (rather than canvas), such as a linen or cotton even weave material, and the design may cover all or part of the ground material.

It is sometimes claimed that cross stitch embroidery is the oldest known type of embroidery (see e.g. Gillow and Sentance 1999:181), but this is incorrect. The oldest surviving embroideries appear to come from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (died: c. 1323 BC) and no cross stitches were used to decorate these pieces; instead, chain stitch is the most common form of embroidery among the decorative pieces from the royal tomb.

See also the TRC Needles entry on the horizontal cross stitch.


  • GILLOW, John and Bryan SENTANCE (1999), World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques. Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, p. 181.
  • THOMAS, Mary (1934). Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, London: Hodder and Stoughton, p. 110.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 6th July 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 19:38