Is Cross Stitch Relaxing? Unexpected Benefits!


Doing cross stitch as a hobby might not be on your radar, but there are a lot of benefits that come with it that you might not have considered!

When you’re thinking of picking up a new hobby, you probably consider some form of needlework because there are so many varieties to choose from. Knitting and crochet are the most attention-getting ones, but the types of needlework that involve a lot of concentration aren’t limited to those.

Cross stitch has become more popular in recent years because of the stress relief and relaxation that it provides. Because it’s a craft that you have to pay close attention to as you do it, it forces you to concentrate on one thing, which can bring a lot of health and mental health benefits. Studies have shown that doing needlework that involves repetition and counting is good for calming your body and mind.

I asked Sarah, owner of Notorious NeedleOpens in a new tab., to give me some background on cross stitch as a relaxing hobby, so read on to find out more about it.

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Now, you can find cross stitch patterns with everything from cute kawaii fruit to adult themes to QR codes that link to YouTube videos

Sarah Leal

What is cross stitch?

Sarah says: “Cross stitch is a form of hand embroidery which uses stitches that look like X’s as pixels in a piece of art. 

“You can be forgiven for thinking that cross stitch is just for little, old ladies. Recently, this ancient form of art and self-expression has gotten an upgrade.

“No more are we limited to “Home Sweet Home” samplers with floral wreaths.

“Cross stitch has grown into a hobby that empowers people to express themselves. And the number of designers and available designs has grown exponentially since the internet.

“Now, you can find cross stitch patterns with everything from cute kawaii fruit to adult themes to QR codes that link to YouTube videos. Of course, there are tons of new, traditionally styled samplers, too. 

“People are finding new mediums to stitch on. In addition to the traditionally hoop-framed picture, you can find cross stitch on clothes, shoes, bags, chain-link fences and patio screens.

“Anything with holes in an even grid format can be stitched on. There’s even 3D cross stitch, which uses perforated paper or plastic to hold its shape.” 

What are some of the benefits of cross stitch?

Cross stitch provides people with a way to force themselves to slow down, pay attention in a focused way, and sharpen themselves mentally by creating something that involves concentration. Doing cross stitch can also help to make you feel more creative and in control, since you’ll start with nothing and end with a finished product that you created yourself.

Sarah adds “As folks learn to slow down again during the recent pandemic, cross stitch has also become a way to heal. Some people stitch to help calm anxiety, or to keep hands busy to help with dieting.

“And stitching profanity and snarky sayings can be cathartic.

“It’s versatile enough to do while you’re alone (and avoiding crowds). Or it can be shared with stitch-a-longs online or in-person stitching circles.

“And cross stitch has been making people laugh by showing up in cable news shows and super-hero movies. 

“Cross stitch has come a long way as more and more people make designs all their own.” 

How hard is it to learn to cross stitch?

Learning to cross stitch is easy because it’s a simple straight stitch that is repeated over and over to create the image. There aren’t any complicated techniques to learn, it’s more about the design than the specific stitch itself. Cross stitch is a good entry-level craft that both adults and kids can learn, and you can make the designs that you create as complex or simple as you like as you develop your skills.

The hardest part of learning cross stitch will probably be learning to read the pattern, but doing the stitching itself is something that you’ll be able to pick up pretty quickly.

This video is an excellent introduction to how to cross stitch, and Sarah provides even more tutorials on her website.

To learn how to cross stitch with Notorious Needle, start here: in a new tab.

What kind of designs can I find for cross stitch?

Cross stitch patterns come in many types of designs, including traditional florals and samplers, and in more modern versions that are more adult-themed. If you don’t want to do something that’s on the traditional side, you can always find a pattern that has a funny saying on it, or something that’s full of swear words.

I personally find the contrast between a nicely done cross stitch piece that spells out something sweary pretty funny, but if that’s not your cup of tea that’s fine!

Like Sarah mentioned, there are designs for all tastes now, and you should be able to find something that you like. If you don’t, you can always design your own!

For some free patterns to try out, you can click here to go to Notorious Needle’s pattern library.


Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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