Using Cross stitch is the easiest method of embroidery on fabric. The entire design is made of crosses in different colours. To enable embroidery the fabric weave has small holes at equidistance and this makes counting very easy. The weave can be fine or thick and depending on the weave the designs can be simple or intricate. In today’s times it is easy to understand as one pixels corresponding with a single stitch. We also use a half stitch and running stitch depending on the design. Cross stitch done on linen needs expertise as counting the warp and weft is difficult for beginners.
Most traditional forms of embroidery use this stitch. In fact the earliest piece of fabric with an upright cross stitch pattern on linen is from a tomb in Egypt. It dates back to 500 A D and was preserved due to dry weather conditions. All over the world different designs and colour combinations developed depending on the local material available and used. Due to travel and migration, wars, trading and religious expansion, today it is difficult to isolate a design as belonging to a particular geographical region.
In India, cross stitch embroidery is traditionally worked on plain weave fabric and not by counting threads. It is used in combination with beads, sequins and metal embellishments to decorate furnishings, animal garments, garments, bags etc. Half cross stitch became popular in the 17th century as needlepoint/tent stitch in Europe and was used to make elaborate portraits and landscapes. As printing was discovered it became very easy to transfer and replicate designs. Designs were printed on cloth which embroiders could then work on. Today innumerable pattern books are available to work from. Today craft kits are sold with all the material required to work the pattern.
The first stitch I learned to embroider was the cross stitch. In fact my son at the age of 10 wanted to learn to handle a needle I taught him to count and embroider in cross stitch.
My daughter also found it fascinating and after learning, embroidered a small landscape when she was 8 years old.
Some more work from our needle….