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.
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.
The spread of cross stitch designs from their place of origin to so many different locations makes it difficult to identify accurately any one design as having originated in a particular region.An alternative school of thought believes that the spread of cross stitch embroidery may have been in the opposite direction, since the first important migration of foreigners into China took place during the T’ang Dynasty.Persians, Arabs and travellers from Greece and India followed the silk routes to China and many eventually settled there.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.
Peasant embroidery is a purely domestic skill which is passed down through the generations from mother to daughter.