Counted versus Stamped Cross Stitch

Difference between stamped cross stitch and counted cross stitch

If you’re shopping for patterns or cross stitch kits you’ll probably see stamped, no-count, or counted cross stitch on different items.

What is the difference and which should you choose?

All cross stitch projects follow the same concept: each square is allocated a specific type of stitch and thread color.

Stamped cross stitch

In stamped or no-count cross stitch the design is printed in color on the fabric and usually comes in a kit with floss, color chart and stitching instructions.

You look at the colors on the fabric, find the corresponding floss and stitch away. When you’ve finished the piece, washing the fabric removes the pre-printed/stamped design.

Stamped cross stitch kits are excellent for beginners or those who get tangled by busy patterns. You don’t have to concentrate as hard to find the right symbol, right color AND correct position on the fabric.

Counted cross stitch

For counted cross stitch, whether it’s in a kit or not, the fabric is blank and you follow a paper (or digital) pattern. Counting stitches helps you sew the correct number of stitches for each color.

For example: Navy 5 stitches across (move down a row) 6 stitches across (move down a row) 7 stitches across (move down a row) 8 stitches across.

Is stamped cross stitch easier?

There are disagreements on this. For some people, counted cross stitch is easy. Count the number of stitches you have to do, pick up your thread and stitch accordingly.

Some consider stamped cross stitch really boring – like paint by numbers.

For children, or anyone new to embroidery, basic stamped kits are helpful to reduce overwhelm and see clearly where colors change. It’s impossible to get lost and you have a pretty picture underneath each stitch.

For photographic patterns, where colours change subtly from square to square, counted cross stitch using a symbol colour chart may be easier.

Try different kits and design styles and see which suits your brain. Everyone is different and there are millions of patterns to choose from 🙂

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4 Responses
    1. crossstitchacademy

      Hi Betty,
      There is a software called PC Stitch (pcstitch.com) that I own. It will allow you to upload a picture and will convert it to a cross-stitch pattern. You can define how many colors you want as well as the size. The more details, the larger the number of threads. You can also edit it to make it look even better. It is however not free and costs around 50$. But it’s a one time purchase so you can add as many pictures as you want or create your own patterns from scratch. There are several free options out there, but none that I found were as good with actual photographs.

  1. Brandi

    Is there any company that will take a photo of mine and make a stamped cross stitch pattern for me. I’ve never done counted before.

    1. crossstitchacademy

      Hi Brandi! You can actually do it yourself. There’s software you can buy (I personally use PC Stitch) that will allow you to import a picture and generate the pattern. You can specify the size, number of colors and so on and then generate the file to print and you’ll be ready to get started!