Difference Between Needlepoint and Cross-Stitch
By Claire Miles - July 18, 2022

Both Needlepoint and Cross-stitch are age-old hobbies that exist widely as artistic modes of expression with very similar equipment to any other form of art: needle and thread like paintbrush and paint and some cloth as the canvas. Both Needlepoint and Cross-stitch are regarded as different forms of embroidery, but that sums up the similarities between both.

Table Summary

Simple designs made with x-stitches onlyIntricate designs made with many stitch options
Angular and boxy-looking imagesSmooth and even-looking images
Canvases include Aida, Laguna and evenweaveCanvasses are needlepoint and even-weave or types of Monocanvas


Needlepoint is a type of hand embroidery that covers only the surface of the cloth canvas in a square-by-square design using several stitch styles.

Cross-stitch is a hand embroidery that uses x-shaped stitches to create an image on a tile pattern canvas in a square-by-square design.

Needlepoint VS Cross-Stitch

While a piece of printed paper is sufficient canvas for cross-stitch, the type of canvas used in needlepoint is done by hand on the cloth and can be expensive. The cross-stitch primarily uses the Aida canvas, a cotton fabric woven into square blocks like a grid. In contrast, needlepoint canvasses are mainly known as Mono-Canvas on needlepoint weave fabric. However, the most defining difference is in the stitches: cross-stitch only works with x-stitches, but needlepoint uses several stitches (including x-stitches), mainly tent stitches that could be split into many as the continental and Basketweave stitches. The overall look with needlepoint work, as a result, is smoother and more even-looking, while cross-stitch is angular and boxy-looking. As a result of the fundamental differences in design, cross-stitch usually appears on simple materials such as bookmarks, brooches and coasters. In contrast, the intricate needlepoint designs are made on upholstery, blankets, purses, jackets and all forms of clothing.