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To trace the history of cross stitch, we must look back to the very beginnings of embroidery, since it is only relatively recently that cross stitch has been used as the sole stitch in a piece.
Ancient wall paintings and sculptures show that embroidery was worked on clothing from the earliest times.
Very few pieces of decorated fabric have survived from ancient civilisations, but this does not mean that decorative stitching was rarely used.
The only certainty is that the technique and designs of cross stitch spread from many of these countries throughout the European continent.
The Crusaders probably brought home embroidered textiles from the Middle Eastern countries after the Crusades.
There are many regional variations of similar cross stitch shapes, including eight-pointed star, heart, flower and bird motifs, as each basic shape is translated to fit the grid of the fabric in a slightly different way.
Many earlier stitches are now our most common and more easily executed ones One of the most important and widespread functions of cross stitch has been to ornament peasant garments and household linens, often as a way of indicating family wealth and status in the community.