What is the difference between counted cross stitch and stamped cross stitch?
I had a customer who was perplexed when she received a cross stitch kit with a piece of blank fabric included. This is counted cross stitch. She was expecting stamped cross stitch. So what's the difference?
Counted Cross Stitch
Counted cross stitch kits include a blank piece of fabric (usually Aida fabric which is woven with holes to indicate were to put your needle to stitch the X) instructions with a chart, thread and needle. The chart will have a symbol for each stitch indicating which color thread to use. The instructions will guide you on how to get started. Usually you will find the symbol at the center of the pattern on the chart included. This will be your first stitch. Find the center of your fabric and place your first stitch with the appropriate color thread indicated by the symbol on the chart. From there, you will be "counting" each stitch required on the chart and stitching on your fabric.
Some prefer to buy just the chart (pattern) instead of the entire kit. Nothing is included except the pattern itself. This enables them to choose what fabric they would like to stitch on; Aida, linen, plastic canvas, perforated paper, etc. As well as their preferred brand of thread.
Stamped Cross Stitch (aka Printed Cross Stitch)
Stamped or printed cross stitch on the other hand always has something printed or stamped on the fabric to indicate where to put the stitches. The print on the fabric can then be later removed by washing the finished project leaving behind only the stitching and any background colors if included in the design. There are two types of stamped cross stitch;
- X's are printed on the fabric (usually a cotton/polyester blend) to indicate where to put the stitch. The X's are all printed in the same color ink. A chart or pattern will be included. Much like counted cross stitch, the chart will include symbols indicating which color thread to use for each stitch printed on the fabric.
- A full color picture is printed on the fabric (usually Aida fabric). This can be a precise print (pictured) in which each square on the Aida fabric is precisely printed with the same color thread required or it can be just a picture printed on the fabric in which case some stitches may require you to make a decision of which color thread is best to use.
Stamped cross stitch kits include the printed fabric, thread, needle and instructions. Some stamped cross stitch such as pillowcases and table runners do not come in a full kit but only include the printed fabric and instructions with a list of suggested thread colors.