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What does it mean to cross stitch over two threads?

how to cross stitch over two threads on linen and aida

In certain cross stitch patterns you might encounter the instructions to "stitch over two threads." The technique is most common when stitching on linen or evenweave fabric, but it can also be used on Aida and other types of fabric.

Stitching over two means you carry your cross stitch over two threads both horizontally and vertically. The instructions below show you how it's done.

How to stitch over two threads

When stitching over two threads, think of your stitching area as a tic-tac-toe board. There are nine squares (or holes) in play. Your cross stitch is created using the four corners of the board.

Cross stitch over 1 compared to cross stitch over 2 threads

To stitch over two threads, first bring your needle up in the bottom left corner. Passing diagonally across the fabric, insert your needle in the hole that is two horizontal and two vertical threads away. Repeat to create a line of "over 2" half stitches.

How to cross stitch over two threads on linen

Note: If you're stitching on linen, it's best to bring your needle up alongside a "top" vertical thread. Read more in this post on how to stitch on linen.

Next bring your needle up in the bottom right corner of your row of stitches and work your way back across the row, always passing over two horizontal and two vertical threads as before.

How to cross stitch over two threads on linen

Why stitch over two threads

Stitching over two is most commonly done when stitching on linen because linen has a higher thread count. Stitching over two on higher thread count fabric creates stitches that are easier to see and easier to do. For example, if you stitch over 1 on 28-count linen you would have 28 teeny tiny stitches per inch. Stitching over 2 on 28-count linen gives you 14 stitches per inch (28/2 = 14), which is the same as 14-count Aida.

Stitching over two threads on 28-count linen

Stitching over two threads also makes it easier to do fractional cross stitches like one-quarter and three-quarter cross stitches which are sometimes required in more detailed patterns.

Finally, stitching over two can be used on Aida and other lower-count fabrics to create a light and airy effect like in the design below.

cross stitch over 2 threads on aida fabric

Looking for Aida or linen for your next project? Shop the fabric collection.

How to cross stitch over two threads on linen

13 Responses

Allison

Allison

May 09, 2021

If I’m stitching over two, does that mean the pattern itself is showing 10×10 grids, but when I draw the grid lines onto my fabric I need to draw 20×20?

Donna Smith

Donna Smith

March 28, 2021

Thanks for the advice. About to do it for the first time. Yikes

Glenda

Glenda

March 20, 2020

Thank you for the info on 28 count cross stitching, this is going to be an interesting project.

Susan Fitgerald

Susan Fitgerald

May 13, 2019

@Donna
Yes, that is correct. See our post about stitching on linen for more info: https://stitchedmodern.com/blogs/news/how-to-cross-stitch-on-linen-fabric

Donna

Donna

April 30, 2019

When using linen. If I’m using a pattern I go by the thread count written in the directions, however usually you use 2 strands while working over linen since your work comes out as though your working over 14 cnt aida cloth.
Donna

Martha Last

Martha Last

February 28, 2019

How many strands of DMC would you use to stitch over 40 ct Linen?

Kristy Collins

Kristy Collins

January 02, 2019

So if my pattern calls for stitching over two threads on a 28 ct linen, but I buy a 14 ct Aida instead, would I still stitch over two threads or only one? Thanks so much!

vicki

vicki

December 21, 2018

It has really helped me see how to do it

a maka

a maka

November 06, 2018

This was so helpful. Thank you. I’d never come across this instruction before.

Carrie B

Carrie B

October 14, 2018

Thaaaaank you! I keep seeing this phrase but couldn’t guess what it was.

Barbara

Barbara

August 18, 2018

Thank you for this explanation and especially for the graphics. I have never understood this before, so this clears it up nicely!

Stephanie

Stephanie

August 10, 2018

Getting ready to start my first linin progect and this helped so much

Shanan

Shanan

June 30, 2018

Thank you!! I finally get It!

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