Designs and stitches have been exchanged between so many different cultures and geographical areas, through travel, trade and the availability of printed design books, that many design elements are now common to several cultures.Even today, it is fascinating to see the same motifs occurring in the traditional peasant embroideries of countries as far apart, geographically, as the Greek Islands, Mexico and Thailand.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.
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.
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.
There is evidence that these immigrants influenced the designs of Chinese arts and crafts, particularly those used for textiles.