Cross stitch history
Cross stitch is a form of counted thread embroidery; it is dated back to the 6th or 7th century. It was used to decorate household items using floral and geometric patterns, usually worked in black and red cotton floss on linen fabric. Cross-stitch was found in a Coptic tomb in Upper Egypt, where it was preserved by the dry desert climate.
Catherine of Aragon, the Spanish first wife of Henry VIII has brought blackwork in England. Blackwork is thought to have influenced the development of cross-stitch. Catherine of Aragon used to stitch herself the King's shirts.
The most common cross stitching work were samples and it was usually in a form of a prayer or a saying. In 1797 children from the orphans school near Calcutta in Bengal were given the task of stitching the longest chapter in the Bible, the 19th psalm.
Books with cross-stitch patterns were popular in Europe and America during the 17th century and they would feature samples. Cross stitch patterns were printed as black squares or dots, leaving the choice of colours to the embroiderer. The earliest surviving dated sampler was stitched by an English girl, Jane Bostocke, in 1598.
Jane\'s sampler contains floral and animal motifs and an alphabet. It is believed that from Jane's motifs she must have had access to an early pattern book.
Most cross stitchers still like to stitch and embellish items like dishcloths and household linens, however it is now increasingly popular to stitch various designs and pictures and hang them on the wall for decoration.