We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Counted Cross-Stitch?

By Jane Harmon
Updated: May 16, 2024

Counted cross-stitch is a form of embroidery. Cross-stitch is stitching an 'x' into the fabric. There are two main classes of cross-stitch: stamped and counted. Stamped cross-stitch has the pattern to be created stamped in color directly on the fabric. Counted cross-stitch uses a pattern printed on paper laid out on a grid; the cloth remains unmarked. The embroiderer must count across, plus up or down, to know where to put the stitches.

Counted cross-stitch is easier if done on aida cloth. Aida cloth is a type, not a brand-name, of woven fabric. There are gaps in the weave at very regular spaces; using the holes to guide your stitches makes your counted cross-stitch pattern very regular. Aida cloth comes in several different counts, or stitches per inch. For example, 11-count aida cloth will measure eleven stitches to each inch. Other common counts are 14 and 18 - the higher the number, the finer the weave.

Different styles of counted cross-stitch patterns call for different weaves; a primitive scene or sampler styled on those done by young girls in the 18th and 19th centuries might be in a wider weave, so that each stitch shows an obvious 'x' pattern. Delicately shaded floral patterns might be done in a tighter weave, with many shades stitched very closely together so that no underlying fabric is visible. In this case, the embroidery can take on the look of petit point, or even a finely detailed painting.

Counted cross-stitch is typically created with cotton embroidery floss which comes in small skeins of six-ply thread. Before using, the thread must be separated into one, two or three threads, depending on what 'count' cloth you are working. Embroidery floss is available in hundreds of shades, and hundreds more can be created by using two threads of different colors together in one needle.

Counted cross-stitch patterns are available in every theme or style imaginable. You can buy the patterns alone, to use with your own selection of aida cloth and embroidery floss, or buy complete kits that contain everything you need to finish your project.

Your completed counted cross-stitch projects can be framed like a painting, form the front of a throw pillow, or decorate the edge of fine linens, among other decorative uses.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By SZapper — On Jun 23, 2011

@Monika - Counted cross stitch definitely takes patience but I think it's worth it. I knit and cross stitch and I find the knitting much more relaxing. However, my counted cross stitch samplers are definitely among my prized possessions. They took so much time and effort and concentration to complete!

By Monika — On Jun 22, 2011

I used to do counted cross stitch when I was in high school. I finished a few projects but I definitely bought more counted cross stitch kits than I used! Years later I still have all those kits stored away somewhere. Maybe now that I'm older and have a little more patience I'll give it another try.

By anon59356 — On Jan 07, 2010

As a seasoned vet of cross stitch I found this article informative and enjoyed reading it. --Paula

By ram — On Jan 06, 2008

is there any agency through whom i can sell cross stitch work done by me?

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.