Whoever would have thought that the simple notion of crossing two threads to create a picture would create one of the world’s most popular crafts? Well apparently the Ancient Egyptians! The earliest piece of cloth found to include cross-stitch has been dated to the 6th century. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that Cross Stitch started to become recognised as a craft in itself. A German printer named Phillipson started to create blocked and coloured patterns for mass production. By 1840, over 14,000 designs were printed yearly! The intervening years have seen cross stitching’s popularity seesaw. Today, as with many other embroidery techniques, Cross Stitch is again enjoying resurgence.
Cross-stitch is a form of counted thread embroidery that can be quite inexpensive to start. I can recall my Grandmother giving us napkin sized pieces of checked gingham to Cross Stitch. My mother still uses these today. To easily count the threads most stitches choose to use evenweave fabrics such as Linen,
Cotton or Aida. Aida Cloth is available in 11, 14, 16, 18, and 22 count sizes and many different colours. The sizes of Aida and Evenweave types denote the approximate number of threads woven per inch. The count of the fabric will affect the finished size of the picture.
Stitchers work from charts with colours and symbols identifying the correct colour placement. The chart will also identify the preferred fabric. This form of cross-stitch is called Counted Cross-Stitch. Cross Stitch can also be completed on aida or canvas where the design has been pre-printed. This is referred to as
Stamped Cross Stitch. This is very popular with Children’s starter kits.
Today’s Cross Stitchers have lots of new development to enjoy within their chosen craft. Stitchers are exploring the uses of creative stitchers in order to create new visual effects and are often choosing to embellish their finished work with beads, buttons and charms. Cross Stitch design computer software is
readily available and simple to use, even for the most computer challenged amongst us. These software programs have allowed the stitcher to create their own charts rather than simply recreating a commercial pattern.
Cross stitching is simple and relaxing. You won’t complete a piece in one sitting so don’t try. Just start counting!
This post was first published here on 21st August, 2007.
The images are of Trishalan Designs Cross Stitch Charts.