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Peasant embroideries stitched in just one or two colours are perhaps the most striking of all and show off a complicated design to best advantage.

The complex border patterns which appear all over the world - from Eastern Europe to Palestine and from Thailand to Morocco - are actually created in a very simple way.

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Some historians suggest that the development of cross stitch owes much to the craftsmanship of the Chinese, since this type of embroidery is known to have flourished during the T’ang Dynasty between 618AD and 906AD and a strong rural tradition of counted cross stitch still existed there during the early twentieth century.

It is feasible that techniques and designs spread from China via India and Egypt to the great civilisations of Greece and Rome, and from there throughout the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

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.

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.

There is evidence that these immigrants influenced the designs of Chinese arts and crafts, particularly those used for textiles.

The patterns on many Chinese textiles show great similarity to those found on Persian fabrics.

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