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Cross Stitch : Tapestry V Crewel Wool

crewel v tapestry wool

What are the differences?

I am often asked what the difference is between Tapestry and Crewel Cross Stitch Kits…  so I thought I would try and address this / pass on some advice in this post..

Both of the yarns we use in our kits are 100% British Wool - spun and dyed by Appleton Wool Ltd - the same spinners who created the crewel yarn for William Morris and his historic tapestries.  The difference is in the thickness of the yarn (the plus) and therefore the finish of the end look.


Crewel wool is much finer than Tapestry.  It is 2 ply (has 2 strands twisted to make 1 thread) and we use it folded double to stitch on our 10 count canvas base.  This is the wool used by William Morris in his crewel work embroidered tapestries and fabrics, so it is actually fantastic to embroider with.  When designing with this wool, the finished kits were always intended to be a ‘cross over’ base, with the ability to still create fine detailed designs – but with a lovely wooly finish and easier to stitch than using evenweave or higher (smaller) hpi patterns.

As the wool is finer the end cross stitch work is much finer too, and the patterns that can be created are much more defined.  Most of the samplers are worked using crewel and classic designs such as our Original CAMPER RAINBOW in crewel wool on 10HPI

tapestry wool

Tapestry Wool is much thicker, almost like knitting wool.  It is 4 ply (it has 4 strands twisted to make 1 thread) and we use it as a single strand to stitch on our 7 count canvas base.  There is no doubt that this yarn is much easier to handle (it is thicker and smoother) and stitch with.  Plus the fact that the 7 count canvas is much bigger (almost 25 % less stitches per area stitched) you can see why a lot of my customers, who came from stitching much finer even weave projects, now are addicted to the Tapestry Kits.

It is this popularity and speed of stitching that has led most of the new kits to created using this base, like the super popular Tuck Shop Collection.  However there are still those that prefer the detail and pace of the 10 count.  Please just remember that you need 2 strands to stitch the Crewel Kits and only 1 strand to stitch the Tapestry Kits – as getting confused in this area will spoil the finished look of the piece and you will run out of wool.

If you have any other questions?  Then just ask the team.

Happy Stitching – JP x

A quick shot from my phone to show the difference from stitching a row of 10 stitches of Tapestry (Green Thread) – 1 thread on 7 count; compared to 10 stitches of Crewel (Blue Thread) – 2 threads on 10 count.

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