Cross-stitch, which is a form of embroidery, has been around for hundreds of years. The earliest embroidery sample that includes cross-stitch was found in an Egyptian tomb and dates between 600 and 700 C.E. Today many companies produce a wide variety of patterns and kits, which has helped spark a resurgence in crafting as a stress-relieving activity.
Blackwork, a geometric design in black on white linen fabric, is believed to be a precursor of modern cross-stitch. It was popular in England in the 1600s.
Cross-stitch was first used to decorate household textiles like table linens and curtains.
First Pattern Book
The first cross-stitch pattern book was published in Germany in 1524. Early books were printed in black ink, leaving the color choices to the stitcher.
Samplers, or exemplars, designed to show off a young girl's sewing skills, popularized cross-stitch. The name comes from women stitching "samples" of their favorite stitches.
By the 1700s, samplers had become more complex, including intricate geometric and floral designs, fancy alphabets and Biblical or moral quotations.
Innovation in fabric and floss colorations after 1900 caused a decline in the traditional sampler in favor of more detailed patterns including landscapes, flowers and animals.
- Photo Credit Kim Kenney
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