Updated on July 8, 2022 by Sarina

A cross stitch is just two straight stitches crossing each other. What variations can you make with this simple x look alike. Well, if you think that, you couldn’t be more wrong. The little x stitch with those diagonals up against each other in war, makes for many beautiful little stitches with subtle differences.

If you are thinking of starting your newest cross stitch project, simply incorporate these stitches and  you will be amazed at the fresh compliments you will receive for the difference in your work 

Check out the post on Cross Stitch – A beginner’s guide for details on how to do cross stitch embroidery, what fabric to use, what threads to use etc

Basic Cross Stitch

The usual way of making cross stitches to fill a design, is by making rows of cross stitches, as in the picture below. 

 steps to make a cross stitch - diagonal stitches are made and then they are corssed

You can  do these rows from left to right or right to left; just make the half cross stitches first and then come back and complete the stitches

The single cross stitch also works; even the upright ones do.The variations of cross stitch are even better.

10 different types of cross stitch


1. Spaced Cross Stitch

As you can see this stitch has cross stitches spaced apart. You can make this the same way as you make the cross stitch in rows – that is make the half cross stitch first, then come back and fill it.

2. Double cross stitch

double cross stitch

A double cross stitch has two more legs added to the simple cross stitch, horizontally and vertically. Simply make the cross stitches, then add the vertical stitch and horizontal stitch, over it. You can also call it by its more glamorous name – Smyrna cross stitch. 

cross stitch -double

3. Double sided cross stitch

double sided cross sstitch variation

This is a cross stitch made with one leg of the cross stitch having two parts to it. 

4. Long armed cross stitch

different kinds of cross stitch

This is a cross stitch with one leg longer than the other; consequently it starts from the middle of the previous cross stitch.

5. Hungarian Cross Stitch

hungarian cross stitch

This stitch involves cross stitch made over laid thread. Make a grid like pattern like the picture below and work upright cross stitch in between the spaces

make a hungarian cross stitch

6. Herringbone stitch

herring bone stitch is a variation of the cross stitch

The mighty Herringbone stitch is a variation of the simple cross stitch. Check out the post on herringbone stitch for more variations of this stitch

7. Double Herringbone stitch

different types of cross stitch -double herringbone cross stitch

In this stitch one more set of herringbone stitches are added to the basic herringbone row. This is usually done in a contrasting colour.

8. Italian cross stitch

italian cross stitch variation

This is a cross stitch made with a border. It is made as in the picture below. When made fully row upon row this stitch will look like a box filled with cross stitches. 

how to stitch italian crossstitch variation

9. Greek cross stitch

greek cross stitch type

This is an upright cross stitch made in four parts and then finished with a thread overlapping in the middle forming a knot.

greek cross stitch

10. Rice stitch.

This stitch starts with a row of cross stitch and then a four legged star stitch is added to the spaces in between the cross stitches, mostly in a contrasting colored thread. 

type of cross stitch -rice stitch

Whatever type of cross stitch you use, some rules should be adhered to. All the cross stitches are of the same size in a design area in a project. Then the stitching should be regular. That is, you should be having the thread laid out same way throughout (if you are going left to right for the row, do this for all rows, so that when you come back the thread will be laid in the same way) This way your completed project will look even and uniform, which is an important criterion for a beautiful cross stitch project.

Related posts : Easy flower embroidery designs.; How to embroider flowers – 25 ways

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      1. I know this is an old post, but your embroidery is beautiful. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put in to providing these wonderful guides (for free)! I’ve been going through your tutorials as a I create a stitch book and they have been so helpful