Cross stitch is a form of embroidery which uses X-shaped stitches to form a pattern. It is the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world. The most common fabrics used are evenweave fabrics such as linen, Aida and jobelan. Today materials such as rug canvas and plastic canvas are also used.
Traditionally cross stitch was used to decorate items such as household linens, table cloths and handkerchiefs. Modern usage extends to items such as cards, cushions, rugs, wall hangings and framed pictures like birth or marriage records.
The term “sampler” comes from the traditional method of teaching young girls to cross stitch. The samplers were a record of the alphabets and patterns she was learning. She could then use these stitches in her household sewing.
Cross stitch is often combined with other embroidery styles such as hardanger, black work, pulled thread work and bead work. It is very versatile and can be used from simple basic projects through to extremely complex works of art.
The current resurgence in interest in handcrafts in general has seen cross stitch become a lot more popular with younger people. The more traditional designs and projects have now been joined by a large number modern designs and kits.
The first cross stitch project I did was nearly 30 years ago. It was a birth record which I found the pattern for in a magazine. Today there is a huge range of patterns and kits available online, as well as in handcraft shops. My favourite site to explore is the Fox Collection.
To date most of the cross stitch I have done has been gifts for other people, which I have really enjoyed doing. My current aim, however, is to work on a few projects that I can keep to enjoy myself.