What does it mean to cross stitch over two threads?

What does it mean to cross stitch over two threads?

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

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