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Peasant embroidery is a purely domestic skill which is passed down through the generations from mother to daughter.
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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 ancient Peruvian running-stitch sampler has been dated to 200–500 AD The word Embroidery comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for "edge", but the technique itself was being used long before that.
The term was first applied to decoratively stitched borders on medieval church vestments.
In India, where it is unusual to find an evenweave fabric, cross stitch embroidery is worked on plain weave fabric, with the designs spaced out by eye rather than by counting threads.