Cross stitch is one of the most accessible types of needlework. It uses a stitch made of two stitches crossing each other and sewn on a fabric with evenly spaced holes for the thread to pass through.
The patterns for cross stitching are comparable to painting by numbers, where you need to count carefully and slowly to finish a design. Is cross stitch easy? Cross stitch has many benefits and is easy to learn for adults and children.
Cross stitching is a needlecraft passed on from generation to generation. People used it to decorate household items like table runners, dishcloths, or tablecloths. Nowadays, you can also see them framed and decorating the walls.
History of Cross-stitching
Cross-stitching began with the ancient Peruvian running stitch samplers dating back to 200 – 500 AD.
This piece of cross-stitch work used silk thread on linen. The first crochet project has floral and animal motifs and an alphabet.
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What is the trivia about cross stitch?
There is evidence that cross-stitch is the oldest form of embroidery. Earlier forms of this craft date back to the Middle Ages.
As a cross-stitch enthusiast, creating and finishing this type of needlework is exciting. Aside from knowing how to do the craft, it is also interesting to know about this enjoyable hobby.
Read on for some facts about cross-stitching that pique your interest.
1. Cross-stitching is a hobby that traveled the world
Cross-stitching spread globally through commerce routes, migrations, invasions, and many other means.
This craftwork has traveled from China, India, and Egypt, all the way to Spain, the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe.
Cross-stitching is a hobby incorporated into the culture and tradition of a place once the people in it learn this craft.
2. Traces of cross-stitch pieces date back to the 6th Century
One of the earliest cross-stitch samplers was discovered in Egypt and dates back to the 6th Century. Traces of cross-stitch have also been found in China and India before it arrived in Europe, meaning this craft existed long before the Middle Ages.
3. Cross-stitching crosses social boundaries
Cross-stitching started in rural areas, but the upper class integrated this craft into their culture in the Middle Ages.
At the time, decorating the home with cross-stitch ornaments was a sign of nobility, wealth, and social status.
Catherine of Aragon, the Queen of King Henry VIII of England, used to stitch onto the King’s shirts herself.
The poorest and the wealthiest folks created cross-stitch pieces through time. In the 18th Century, the upper class made fancy samplers, while in the 80s, mine workers produced many cross-stitch pieces. Prisoners of war in World War II also stitched.
Cross stitch was and still is a craft for everyone.
4. Young girls used to learn needlecraft and moral values from cross-stitch samplers
Young girls and women were the ones who usually learned needlework and cross-stitch in the past.
The needlecrafts they make are commonly more petite strips of fabrics called samplers. These cross-stitch works not only teach these young girls crafting skills, but most of the time, these samplers contain moral values and bible verses.
5. Pattern books have been around for quite some time
Cross-stitch pattern books were already around since the 17th Century. The patterns were made of black dots on the page, leaving the choice of colors to the one who would stitch the design.
Cross-stitch makers sold the first cross-stitch patterns as far back as the 14th Century. The oldest surviving pattern book is from 1545 AD.
6. The most significant cross-stitch piece is a replica of a painting
The largest cross-stitch ever created is The Battle of Grunewald. It is a copy of the famous painting in its natural size.
Grzegorz Zochowski from Poland designed the cross-stitch pattern. A group of hobbyists stitched the pattern led by Janina and Adam Panek from Dec 2008 to August 2010.
The cross-stitch piece measures 9.20 m x 4.05 m using 150 kilometers of thread in 220 various colors.
The cross-stitch piece also holds the record for the most oversized cross-stitch pattern. Creating the design took one year and three months. It took 50 books with a total of 3270 pages.
7. Many modern patterns cross-stitch an object, but Asisi Embroidery is the reverse
The usual cross-stitch stitches an object. Another form of needlecraft, the Asisi Embroidery, uses cross stitches where the background is stitched instead of sewing the subject.
8. Cross-stitching is having a comeback
Many people believe needlecraft, like cross-stitching, is a grandma’s hobby. But cross-stitching is making a comeback, and this time, a more comprehensive range of audiences is interested.
Online platforms like Pinterest promote cross-stitching and other handmade crafts, an excellent medium for showcasing craftworks and a variety of personal creations.
9. Modern-day cross-stitching arose in the US in the 1960s
During the industrial age, mass production of cross-stitch patterns was typical, so the availability and design options increased for crafts enthusiasts.
Most women were not part of the workforce during this period, so many had to look for a hobby after finishing household chores. Needlecrafts like cross-stitch are a perfect choice.
10. Cross stitch is similar to Berlin wool work
Berlin woolwork is a type of needlecraft that also uses cross stitches. Berlin woolwork used a fabric like Aida, making the design more structured.
The English considered it more beautiful than linen, so they created their own Berlin wool work using aida cloth rather than the traditional linen commonly used for embroidery.
11. A samurai introduced cross-stitching in Japan without knowing it
It is incredible to know that Japan learned cross-stitching accidentally. This craft would not reach Japan if it were not for a Samurai with a runny nose.
12. Palestinian dressmaking still uses the cross-stitch design now
Palestinian dressmaking used cross-stitch even before serving as decoration for walls as samplers or framed wall art. And since cross-stitching is a needlecraft technique that produces beautiful designs, it still plays a massive part in Palestinian dressmaking.
Is cross-stitching a skill?
Cross-stitch is a skill because it requires knowledge, patience, and attention to detail. It is a craft that involves skill in making things using your hands.
There are two opposing beliefs about whether cross-stitching is a skill or not. Many cross-stitch enthusiasts believe that it requires skill to finish a project.
Cross-stitch takes practice, immense attention to detail, and patience to produce neat stitches and see a project through to completion.
You can gain the skills necessary to create a neat cross-stitch through observation, time, and long practice. If you see an excellent cross stitch work and a sloppy one, it would tell you when a skilled one makes one.
Why do people enjoy cross-stitch?
Cross-stitch is one of the most enjoyable crafts you can encounter in your lifetime. The relaxing nature of cross-stitching during the process of stitching and getting a completed project afterward makes it a more enjoyable craft.
Cross-stitching is one activity that allows you to sit down with a needle in one hand and fabric in the other, creating beautiful artwork.
Stitching crosses following a pattern to produce intricate artwork also helps you to wind down after a busy and tiresome day. Cross-stitching also helps to create a relaxing atmosphere if you focus only on your project and helps your mind focus.
A cross-stitch enthusiast attests that this hobby can melt your stresses away.
Is cross stitch good for your brain?
Cross-stitch is known to be good for the brain. Research by the Royal United Hospital Bath resolved that cross-stitching produces a neurochemical effect on the brain by lowering the stress hormones and increasing the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin.
There are a lot of mental health benefits attributed to cross-stitching. It helps the brain to focus and relax at the same time while giving the body a little movement.
This needlecraft hobby provides mental and physical exercise, which is excellent at the end of a working day. It is a craft that promotes mindfulness.
Cross-stitching has repetitive movements similar to knitting and crochet, which are recognized to have therapeutic benefits and improve mental health and emotional well-being, increasing serotonin production.
Aside from the mental benefits of cross-stitching, it can also help develop creativity and self-discipline.
What age is cross stitching for?
Cross-stitching is an excellent introduction to hand embroidery. You only have one stitch to master, crossing two diagonal stitches. Cross stitch is a craft fit for people of all ages.
A good thing these days is that you can choose from various cross-stitch patterns. You can find patterns and designs suitable for any age and skill level.
Cross-stitch is an easy craft that any age can appreciate. Little fingers can do beginner cross-stitch kits that you can find in some big box stores, craft stores, or online.
For those who are more experienced in this needlecraft, there are more intricate patterns you can find that you will feel more fulfilled with after finishing the work.
The basic process of cross-stitching is easy, but there are still a few challenges that any stitcher will encounter along the way. Four are threading the needle, getting knots on your thread, miscounting stitches, or losing your needle.
But all in all, and disregarding the minor challenges, cross-stitching is an easy enough hobby that a child can learn and grow to love.
Is cross-stitching easier than embroidery?
Cross-stitching is the most straightforward kind of hand embroidery. It is easier to learn than the other types of needlework, so it is also recommended for newbies at embroidery to learn.
Although cross-stitch is considered a form of embroidery, it is easier to start with than traditional embroidery. It uses two diagonal stitches that form a cross. Stitching crosses repeatedly create a tiled design based on the pattern.
On the other hand, embroidery incorporates many forms of decorative sewing designs on various kinds of fabric.
Is cross stitch still popular?
Cross-stitching is a centuries-old craft. In the past, it had its heydays and dark ages, but cross-stitch is making a comeback, and it remains popular.
Nowadays, not only the grandmas can be seen with needles, threads, and Aida fabric but any person from any age range and gender.
Cross-stitch and other homemade crafts became a hit during the pandemic when people sought outlets to express their creativity and reduce stress while staying indoors for a long time.
With the attention that needlecrafts like cross-stitch get online on Pinterest and other websites devoted to crafts, interest in needlecrafts is here to stay.