Geeks and crafts go together pretty effectively, but I think that one of the geekiest crafts out there is counted cross stitch. First of all, it has a math term in its name. That’s a good, geeky start. It’s also very precise, requires following a code, and is done in little squares, like pixels. I mean, it’s practically a computer program, only using cloth instead of machinery. Have you ever wanted to try it? Let me tell you some basics, because it’s not as hard as you might think and has some pretty cool uses.

A geek cross stitch wall hanging

A geek cross stitch wall hanging


Most cross stitch is done from a kit or a set. You buy the item/design you want and it has all the correct colored threads and the material to sew onto. Sometimes the kits also come with the needle and a wooden piece to hold the fabric tight, but sometimes you’ll need to provide these. If you are starting for the first time, I suggest going somewhere like Michael’s or Joann Fabric and buying the all-inclusive kits that they sell.


You really only need about three basic stitches to create most cross-stitches. 1) a basic cross stitch, which is a series of criss-crossing diagonal lines. Cross stitch fabric typically has very obvious holes in a grid format. You pull the needle up from the back through one hole and insert it down again into the one diagonally across the square. You make a row of these single diagonal lines of a particular color based upon the pattern, and then you go back across the row making the diagonal lines that cross the ones you made. What you end up with is a series of X’s. These make up most of the picture. 2) A straight stitch is sometimes needed as an outline. For this, you come up from behind the fabric and pull the needle back down through a hole immediately adjacent to that one. You’ll be along the outside of the square instead of going across it. 3) French knot. This knot involves twisting the thread around the needle a few times to create a small bundle of thread in one spot on the fabric instead of making a line.

Old school game done in old school sewing style



It’s called counted cross-stitch for a reason: there’s a lot of counting involved. Most of the patterns are done in essentially a pixelated style with different symbols for the different colored threads. You need to replicate this pattern exactly, which typically involves counting how many of one color are in various rows, how many are next to each other or not, and how many are needed to fill certain spaces.

Cute cross-stitched Pacman coasters!


Sometimes, counted cross stitch is just decorative. You can make a nice wall hanging. You can also use cross stitch to improve upon a number of household items, such as towels, blankets, and pillows. You can add cross stitch to clothing, although unless the piece of clothing is made for it, you may have to create your own grid.

This glasses case comes with a basic IT reminder!


Getting Started and Getting Geeky

There are actually a lot of online tutorials and Youtube videos showing various stitches, but mostly these kits are easy and somewhat self explanatory. You may also want to check out Etsy for some geeky patterns like ones we’ve featured before or click any of the pictures in this post. It’s a great little hobby to do while watching your favorite scifi or fantasy television show, and I’ve always found the counting and specificity of cross-stitch quite relaxing. Of course, I’m a little OCD, but I’m sure many of you geeks would still agree with me!

Do you cross-stitch? Might you give it a try?


  • Thank you for included our Pacman coasters!

    maikolo 28.Jan.2013 4:20 pm
  • Sure, they were great!

    Girls Are Geeks 29.Jan.2013 9:29 am

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