The craft of cross stitch is an extremely popular one and has been for years. Even in modern times, with a wealth of other attractions, it retains its popularity among all generations. Here at Past Impressions we see people of all ages trying out different cross stitch kits and designs so we know that it is something people still enjoy doing. But we wondered – how much do we really know about our craft?
Well, cross stitch is one of the oldest forms of embroidery in the world and examples of such a craft have been found on items of clothing across Europe and Asia. Examples have also been found in America, where the oldest sample is said to be from the 17th century. In its traditional form, floral and geometric patterns were sewn onto cloth, either for household use or on clothing. It was something that girls learnt from a young age; this is how we are believed to have got the word sampler that we still use today – it was a reference piece for them to refer back to.
While the craft was originally used for practical purposes, a more modern purpose has been to use it as decoration. Often cross stitch designs are hung on the wall and feature more advanced patterns with different colours and shading. Nowadays the habit is to buy pre-designed kits that include everything that’s required so that one can simply follow the pattern. The ease with which this can be done has seen the trend in cross stitch grow, with retailers experiencing big rises in their sales of haberdashery items.
The modern trend has taken it even further, with craft clubs such as Stitch London popping up that combine sewing and socialising. There is also a trend for post-modern or subversive cross stitch, taking the designs to a whole new level that is designed to get people to think.
The history of this craft is a long and interesting one, and a history that is still being written to the present day. We’ve got a keen interest in how it is developing so watch this space for any news. And as always, if you want to share your own pieces or post anything you see, visit our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages.