All About the Criss-Cross Hungarian Stitch

The criss-cross Hungarian stitch is one of my all-time favorite stitches.

It’s time for a peek at another one of my all-time favorite canvas embroidery stitches – the criss-cross Hungarian stitch! It’s a combination stitch because two different stitches are joined together to create a new stitch: the Hungarian stitch and the standard cross-stitch.

Work the criss-cross Hungarian stitch in two steps.

Here’s the diagram for step 1…

Criss Cross Hungarian Stitch step 1


 The Hungarian stitch is usually worked ‘upright’, but here, it’s executed at a slant – and to make things even more visually interesting, the slant of the stitches is reversed on every other horizontal row.

Here’s the diagram for step 2…

Criss Cross Hungarian Stitch step 2


The spaces between the slanted Hungarian stitch units are filled in with standard cross-stitches, but you can jazz things up by substituting a bead or tiny sequin, a French knot, or a colonial knot.  

Don’t let the complexity of this stitch deter you from using it.


The criss-cross Hungarian stitch can be employed for any number of design components…

but three of my favorite ways to use it are on Santa’s bag, tree tops, and angel wings. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a medium-size stitch, so you’ll need ample room to establish the pattern. What does that mean? Well, if you can’t get three repeats of the pattern in the designated space, the stitch is too large. In other words, you want to be able to get 3 horizontal rows of at least 3 stitch units into the space.


Now, let’s take a closer look at those uses for the criss-cross Hungarian stitch I mentioned a minute ago.

When utilizing this stitch to create a luxurious bag for Santa’s gifts and toys, use a satiny thread. In my example here, you can see that I used Neon Rays (N74). Instead of a cross stitch, a French knot sits between the Hungarian stitch units.

Be sure to use a laying tool when working with Neon Rays since it’s a ribbon-type thread. You want your stitches to lay nice and flat against the surface of the canvas.

Neon Rays will probably be “kinked” when it comes off the card, so you might want to use Rainbow Gallery’s handy trick of running the thread across a damp (not sopping wet!) sponge. That should help relax the thread so that it’s easier to work with.

The criss-cross Hungarian stitch makes a terrific bag for all of Santa's toys.

Moving right along, if you have a landscape design with a nice big tree on it, you can use the criss-cross Hungarian stitch for the treetop.

I L-O-V-E working with Straw Silk when I’m stitching lush treetops. You’ll definitely want to use a laying tool with this thread, too. To complete the stitch pattern, try using Soie Perlée for the cross-stitches. Soie Perlée is a twisted filament silk thread that stitches up a lot like Perle cotton. It’s dreamy to work with and is manufactured by the lovely folks at Au Ver À Soie in France. The contrast between the two different textures of thread creates quite an interesting effect. 😉


And finally, there’s nothing more elegant than Silk Lame Braid and tiny seed pearls for gossamer angel wings. I recommend using Silk Lamé Braid for 18 count in color SL02. And then, attach tiny seed pearls instead of employing the cross-stitch. Of course you could also work the entire criss-cross Hungarian stitch pattern in Silk Lame Braid. And if your canvas is finely detailed, you might think about using Petite Silk Lamé Braid to allow the artist’s beautiful shading to peek through.


Alrighty, my friend, that brings us to the end of our spotlight on the criss-cross Hungarian stitch. If you decide to use it on one of your canvases, share a picture on social media. 🙂 (Please remember to include our hashtag – #SerendipityNeedleworks – so I can find your pics.) 

You just never know when you might see your project center stage on my Instagram or Facebook posts. 

Until next time, happy stitching…

Stitch with a smile!




PS: I love hearing from you here on the blog, too, so pop down to the comments and say hello! And tell me what you’re working on right now. 🙂

2 thoughts on “All About the Criss-Cross Hungarian Stitch”

    • You’re very welcome, Sherryl! I’m happy to know that you enjoyed trying your hand at the criss-cross Hungarian stitch. It’s such a versatile little stitch – I think you’ll find yourself using it over and over again!
      Happy stitching…


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Serendipity Needleworks

Hi, I’m Ellen. A needlepoint teacher and author dedicated to helping motivated but overwhelmed stitchers at every stage find exactly what they need to stitch with confidence. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the needlepoint world or you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, I’ve fine-tuned a learning experience just for you.

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