Peasant embroidery is a purely domestic skill which is passed down through the generations from mother to daughter.The stitches are simple to work and the fabric readily available - usually regularly woven linen, sometimes cotton.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.The well-travelled trade and spice caravan routes carried not only merchants and their stock of articles which were for sale but also itinerant craftsmen, who practised their skills wherever they settled.
It is feasible that techniques and designs spread from China via India and Egypt to the great civilisations of Greece and Rome, and from there throughout the countries of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
There is evidence that these immigrants influenced the designs of Chinese arts and crafts, particularly those used for textiles.
The patterns on many Chinese textiles show great similarity to those found on Persian fabrics.
Natural fibres are perishable and do not survive as well as most metal and ceramic objects excavated from archaeological sites.
From the historical and archaeological evidence available, there is not yet enough accurate information to trace the exact origins of cross stitch embroidery.