Embroidery vs. Cross stitch vs. Needlepoint – (Differences)

Last Updated on February 13, 2024

Welcome back, embroidery lovers! We’ll explore the differences between embroidery vs. cross stitch vs. needlepoint today.

The main difference lies in the techniques and outcomes. Embroidery is a broad term encompassing various needle and thread crafts, including needlepoint and cross stitch. Cross stitch involves creating images with x-shaped stitches using counted threads, while needlepoint uses a square-by-square pattern to cover the fabric surface with various stitches.


  • While embroidery, cross stitch, and needlepoint share standard components, they offer distinct creative expressions through unique techniques.
  • Embroidery can be done by machine for mass production or by hand for intricate and personalized designs.
  • Cross stitch, with its counted threads and x-shaped stitches, is commonly used to create framed artwork.
  • Needlepoint involves a square-by-square pattern, offering a precise and layered approach often seen in fine fabric items.

While these art forms share common components like cloth, threads, and needles, they each have distinct techniques and outcomes. Join me as we compare cross stitch, embroidery, and needlepoint to help you decide which one suits your creative aspirations.



Embroidery is a versatile term encompassing needles to enhance cloth and related materials with colored thread or string.

This broad category includes needlepoint, cross stitch, and other needle and thread crafts like crochet. Whether done by hand or with a machine, embroidery allows for a wide range of creative expression.

Different Types of Embroidery

  • Machine Embroidery: Embroidery machines have become indispensable in the fashion industry, enabling mass production of unique designs and decorative patterns. Computer software creates a template, which is then embroidered onto the fabric. High stitch counts make machine embroidery ideal for polyester-based materials.
  • Hand Embroidery: For those who prefer a hands-on approach, hand embroidery offers the freedom to create intricate designs using various stitches and threads. Unlike machine embroidery, hand embroidery allows for unique and creative designs, making it a popular choice for personalized projects.

Cross Stitch

Embroidery vs. Cross stitch vs. Needlepoint
Cross Stitch

Cross stitch is a style of surface embroidery using counted threads, primarily creating images or layouts with x-shaped stitches. This technique involves back stitches for shapes and minor features, with partial stitches for shading. Popular materials for cross stitching include embroidery floss, linen, or ADA fabric, often resulting in framed artwork.

Types of Cross Stitch

  • Stamped Cross Stitch: The intended pattern is stamped or printed on the fabric, serving as a guide for the designer to follow.
  • Counted Cross Stitch: This method allows the embroiderer to start from the center and count stitches outward, following a template to create a finished piece.


Embroidery vs. Cross stitch vs. Needlepoint

Needlepoint is a unique form of embroidery requiring a square-by-square pattern to cover the fabric surface. It involves various stitches, including beading, and is often done on fine fabrics.

Needlepoint is commonly used for creating layered embroidery on items like purses, rugs, wall hangings, and carpets, with wool being a popular choice for materials.

Embroidery vs. Cross stitch vs. Needlepoint – What is the main Difference?

Cross stitch involves creating images with x-shaped stitches on counted threads, embroidery is a broader term for decorating fabric with colored thread, and needlepoint uses square-by-square patterns to cover surfaces with various stitches. Each technique offers unique creative possibilities.


Can I use the same materials for all three techniques?

While they share some common materials like threads and needles, the specific materials can vary. Cross stitch commonly uses embroidery floss, linen, or ADA fabric, while needlepoint often involves finer fabrics. Embroidery, being a broader term, can use a wide range of materials depending on the specific technique.

Is machine embroidery or hand embroidery better?

It depends on project’s requirements. Machine embroidery suits mass production and intricate designs, while hand embroidery allows for more creativity and unique, personalized designs.

What materials are commonly used in needlepoint?

Needlepoint is often done with fine fabrics, and wool is a popular choice for materials. It can create layered embroidery on items such as purses, rugs, wall hangings, and carpets.

Can I use the same patterns for hand and machine embroidery?

While some patterns can be adapted for both hand and machine embroidery, they are generally designed with the specific technique in mind. Machine embroidery often uses pre-programmed patterns, while hand embroidery allows for more flexibility and creative expression.

Is cross stitch only used for framed artwork?

While cross stitch is commonly used to create framed artwork, it can also be applied to other items like clothing, accessories, and home decor. The versatility of cross stitch allows for a wide range of creative possibilities.


Embroidery, cross stitch, and needlepoint offer diverse avenues for creative expression. Whether you find relaxation in the rhythmic process of embroidery or prefer the precise patterns of cross stitch and needlepoint, each technique has its own charm.

Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed learning about the differences between these art forms, and feel free to ask any questions. Thanks for joining us on this creative journey!