7 Fun Facts About the History of Cross Stitching

Cross stitching has a long history. Many, many people navigated uneven stitches and sore fingers to get better at their craft. Here are 7 fun facts about cross stitching that may surprise you.

1. Traces of cross stitch have been found on cloth fragments dating all the way back to the 6th century

Not only did cross stitch exist long before the Middle Ages, traces have been found in China and India before it arrived in Europe. One of the earliest samplers, discovered in Egypt, dates from the 6th century. Traces of needlework with half stitches were also found on pieces of cloth dated at 3000-5000 BC.

2. Cross stitching has always been a global phenomenon

Cross stitching spread around the world the way anything else did, by commerce routes, migrations, invasions, etc… It is one of those hobbies that, once discovered and learned, was incorporated into the tradition and culture of that place. From China, India and Egypt all the way to the Mediterranean, Spain and then Northern Europe, it’s a hobby that traveled the world.

3. It crossed social class boundaries throughout history

While cross stitching was first practiced in rural areas, it integrated into the culture of the wealthy and upper class during the middle ages. Having cross stitch ornaments at home became a sign of wealth, nobility and social status. Even Catherine of Aragon used to stitch onto the king’s shirts herself!

4. Pattern books have been around for longer than you’d think

Pattern books have been around since at least the 17th century and consisted of black dots on the page. The choice of colors was left to the stitcher.

5. Samplers were also used in the education of young women

Historically, young girls and women were taught how to cross stitch and do needlework. In a two-birds-one-stone way, the samplers they were given often contained moral values and bible verses.

6. Modern-day cross stitching emerged in the US in the 60s

With women not joining the workforce, they had to find a hobby after finishing their daily chores. With the industrial age and mass production of patterns, the choice and availability of designs largely increased.

7. Cross stitching is making a comeback

A lot of people still believe needlework and embroidery is a grandmother’s hobby. However, cross stitch is having a comeback among the younger age range. With sites like Pinterest the interest in homecraft has boomed, and with it, the reintroduction of cross stitching.

There you go! Hope you enjoyed these fun facts and learned something new 🙂

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