History of Cross Stitch—Needle Crafters

Needle work has existed as long as there has been cloth to work it on. Pieces of embroidery and needlework have been found preserved in ancient Egyptian tombs and in medieval churches all over the world.

The first printed pattern book was made in Germany in 1524. The first fabric made specifically for cross stitch was introduced in 1890, made by a company in Germany called Zweigart. The fabric is called Aida.

Assisi embroidery is a form of counted thread embroidery based on an ancient Italian tradition where the background is filled with embroidery stitches and the main motifs are left unstitched, similar to a silhouette. The name is derived from an Italian town of Assisi where the modern form of the craft originated. Popular colors of threads for this were red, green, and blue. Themes were plants, animals, and mystical beings. Assisi was named after St. Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of needleworkers.

Men as well as women have made creative cross stitch pieces. For example, Major Alexis Casdagli, a British POW held by the Nazis from 1941 to 1945, made several pieces and one contained a coded message.

You can design your own patterns for embroidery and cross stitch to make them a one-of-a-kind piece of art. If you don’t know how to embroider or cross stitch, then come to the Creative Arts Center on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon in studio IV for a free lesson. For more information, contact Diana Oleson at 541-671-0634 or email [email protected].