10 Things You Didn’t Know About Cross Stitch

You may have been cross stitching for some time, however like all hobbies, there are always things we don’t know. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about cross stitch.

1 – A samurai once brought cross stitch to Japan without knowing it

We’re big fans of Japan here at Lord Libidan, however a recent story we went into looked at how one samurai accidently brought cross stitch to Japan, all due to a runny nose.

Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)
Hitomezashi sashiko (source: sakepuppets.com)

2 – Pattern books are super old

It might seem surprising to modern cross stitchers, but the very first cross stitch pattern books were sold as far back in the 14th century. The oldest surviving one is from 1545AD.

3 – Cross stitch is actually an emulation of Berlin wool work

What!?! I hear you cry. When cross stitches were first brought to the world, the was no set structure. However, Berlin wool work, similar to needlepoint today, structured the design by using something similar to aida. The English thought this looked more attractive and stopped using linen, and started using aida to make their own Berlin wool work type designs.

4 – Cross stitch has been found on fabric dating all the way back to the 6th Century

Whilst we look at older embroidery in our history of cross stitch, the first cross stitches ever found were from the 6th Century!

5 – Cross stitch is the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world

On that note, cross stitch is worldwide. So much so that even without the internet, cross stitch was the oldest embroidery technique that was found around the globe.

6 – The largest cross stitch in the world is oer 9 million stitches

Think thats big? In our post about the world record breaking cross stitch we see a cross stitch project with over 97 million cross stitches.

largest cross stitch display (source: recordholders.org)
largest cross stitch display (source: recordholders.org)

7 – While most folk embroidery is no longer popular, cross stitch is heavily used in Palestinian dressmaking

Traditionally, before cross stitch became samplers, it was used in traditional folk dress. However, modern Palestinian dressmaking still uses cross stitch heavily!

8 – Cross Stitch crossed social class boundaries

Don’t think that cross stitch jumped from folk to fancy samplers though. Cross stitch has been created from the poorest to the richest parts of society. In world war 2 prisoners of war stitched, the 18th century it was fancy samplers, in the 80s it was mine workers. Cross stitch is for everyone.

World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli
World War 2 sampler by imprisoned POW Major Alexis Casdagli (source: V and A website)

9 – Most modern patterns cross stitch an object, but Assisi embroidery the stitches are reversed

In traditional Assisi embroidery, cross stitches are used, but instead of stitching an object or sampler, the background is stitch instead.

10 – There are loads of celebrities that cross stitch

From Thor to M, there are loads of famous people who cross stitch!

judi dench cross stitcher (source: imdb.com)
judi dench cross stitcher (source: imdb.com)

Bonus fact: Cross stitch has featured in games, TV and film!

Whilst we think cross stitch is quite a popular hobby, we don’t realise that cross stitch has been in LOADS of TV, games and films.

the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)
the simpsons cross stitch (source: google images)

Needles are sized based on thickness, not length https://lordlibidan.com/why-are-embroidery-needles-given-random-size-numbers/

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  1. Alice Carroll

    I love that you mentioned that cross stitch is quite a nice bridging point between people of different social class or outlooks in life. I’ve been having a hard time connecting with my mother-in-law because she was raised in a generation where prestige and aiming to be high class is a the goal in life while my husband and I just tend to focus on the present and enjoy the little things. Maybe I should consider buying some cross stitch needlework supplies and see if having a mutual interest in the hobby would give us a good enough rapport to relate to each other.