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May 22, 2021
The love and care that goes into every single cross stitch piece makes them something to be truly treasured, but what makes a piece incredible? Here we take a look at three remarkable cross stitch projects that have made their mark in history.
Stitching onto fabric has been an art form for thousands of years, with origins believed to be rooted in ancient Peruvian running-stitch samplers dated 200-500 AD.
The earliest dated cross stitch sampler currently known is held at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was made by an English girl, Jane Bosticke with the date 1598 embroidered onto the piece.
Silk thread was used to stitch onto linen. In her work, Jane depicts floral and animal motifs as well as an alphabet, suggesting that she had access to a very early pattern book. In addition to demonstrating cross stitch and backstitch, Jane incredibly included satin, chain, ladder, buttonhole, two-sided Italian crosses and bullion, as well as those most dreaded of stitches, French knots!
What’s really touching about this sampler is that in its inscription, Jane commemorates the birth of her cousin, Alice Lee two years previously. The text on the sampler reads: 'JANE BOSTOCKE 1598 / ALICE LEE WAS BORNE THE 23 OF NOVEMBER BE / ING TWESDAY IN THE AFTER NOONE 1596.'
Loved ones still inspire many of us when creating cross stitch pieces and this can sometimes lead to something truly unique. Caterpillar Cross Stitch was established soon after the birth of designer Sally’s daughter when she was looking to create something to beautiful to celebrate! You can read more about it here.
The current record for the largest cross stitch piece is a replica of the painting The Battle of Grunewald by Jan Matejko, which was painted in 1878. The stitched piece measures a huge 9.2m by 4.05m (nearly the same size as the painting) and is made up of a mind-blowing 7,897,840 stitches!
It took a group of 29 stitchers, one year and three months to complete the 50 panels that make up the final piece. That’s not even counting the time it took designer Grzegorz Zockowski to create the pattern, which he has since published.
Excluding the thread that sewed the panels together, 150km (93 miles) of thread was used across 220 different colours. Oh, and a word of warning, if you feel inspired to search out the pattern for yourself, you’ll need to purchase the 50 books in which the 3270 pages are printed! It’s so big, it holds the record for the largest ever cross stitch pattern.
Ever feel like your latest project is taking forever? Spare a thought for 83 year old Brother Martin Sellner who recently completed a periodic table of the elements after working on it for 20 years!
Martin is a retired chemistry teacher who started the mammoth piece back in 2000 as a way to combine his two greatest passions. The finished work measures 1.5m across and 1.4m tall. It's made up of over one million stitches and was completed in July 2020, with Martin crediting the global pandemic with allowing him time for a final push.
The lines of the table and the border alone took 6 years to complete, unsurprising when each side of the border is 58 inches long and made up of 45 rows of about 1,000 stitches per row! However, the majority of the two decades (the remaining 14 years) was used to complete the 118 elements and other details.
Just like most of us, Martin has painstakingly crafted his cross stitch in the hope he can inspire others, and plans on doing so by gifting his piece to a local school. What a hero!
Why not create your own masterpiece and shop our collection of modern cross stitch kits here.
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