The American Needlepoint Guild has an inclusive definition of the craft: "Any counted or free stitchery worked by hand with a threaded needle on a readily countable ground."
The other major difference between cross stitch and needlepoint is that a needlepoint design fills up the entire fabric, while cross stitch can be large or small but almost always has blank canvas around the stitched image.
If you cannot find designs you like for a 12 Days of Christmas Needlepoint Stocking Canvas, you may want to consider painting your own 12 Days of Christmas designs on stocking-shaped needlepoint canvas.
While there aren't a lot of things you need to buy to start working with needlepoint, you'll be glad you took the time to invest in some good needlepoint supplies before you begin your first project.
The ideal needles for needlepoint or tapestry needles have elongated eyes for ease of threading, blunt points so you don't hurt yourself, and tapered bodies that flow through the canvas more easily.
Many specialty retailers offer both physical locations and online shopping, making it easy for you to get the needlepoint patterns, canvas designs and supplies you want no matter where you live.
Magnifiers. You can buy a set of magnifying lenses that are almost like goggles, which will make it easier for you to read you pattern and to see the squares in your needlepoint fabric.
Many crafters find browsing the aisles of local needlepoint stores or checking out the websites of online establishments to be a way to find project ideas and needlepoint supplies.
A needlepoint pillow kit usually comes with all the materials for the front of the pillow but does not include the fabric for the back or the stuffing or pillow form you will need.
Stitching.com has a great free online needlepoint guide, which shows how to work stitches on different kinds of canvas, how to work a project, and some of the basic stitches.