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Alternating cross stitch icon
Alternating cross stitch

  • Double stitch
Alternating cross stitch main image

This stitch alternates a small cross with a larger cross, and the rows should interlock with each other.

Alternating cross stitch is generously sponsored by Lucy Aiken



Begin the first row by working the small cross stitches, which cross a single intersection of the canvas and are spaced one canvas thread apart. Ensure the top thread of the cross is worked from bottom left to top right.


Work back across the row, placing the larger cross stitches between the small cross stitches. The larger stitches are three canvas threads high by one across. Again ensure the top thread is always worked from bottom left to top right.


Begin working the next row by placing the small cross stitch underneath the larger cross of the previous row.


Then work back across the row, filling in the gaps with the larger cross stitches.

Alternating cross stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques


  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004)
  • Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (Revised Edition) (1989) , p.77–8
  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.100
  • Rachel Doyle, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Canvaswork (2013) , p.38