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Colours were often limited to two or three, but these would be brilliantly dyed and often accentuated by dark brown or black outlines.In rural areas of western China, cross stitch was nearly always worked in indigo blue thread on coarse white cotton fabric.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 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.

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.Fragments of cloth dating from between 5,000 BC and 500 AD have been excavated from tombs and monuments in South America, Egypt and China, and these show crude examples of darning, half cross stitch and satin stitch.Many of the fragments are made of linen; the regular warp and weft of this fabric, one of the oldest of all woven materials, provided the basis for the development of counted thread stitches.But over time it came to cover all stitched decoration on any textile fabric.The first textiles were probably made from intertwined stems and grasses, until a way of twisting short fibres and animal hairs into continuous strands evolved about 10,000 BC.Natural fibres are perishable and do not survive as well as most metal and ceramic objects excavated from archaeological sites.From the historical and archaeological evidence available, there is not yet enough accurate information to trace the exact origins of cross stitch embroidery.The earliest known Embroidery examples are from 3000 B.C They are hand work over the woven threads on clothing.Single motifs are uncommon in peasant embroidery; instead the motifs are usually repeated to form straight bands, which are then arranged above one another.Traditional Greek Island designs can have as many as six or seven different bands put together to form an intricate border, which is usually finished with a pattern that creates a broken outer edge.

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