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Single motifs are uncommon in peasant embroidery; instead the motifs are usually repeated to form straight bands, which are then arranged above one another.

Traditional Greek Island designs can have as many as six or seven different bands put together to form an intricate border, which is usually finished with a pattern that creates a broken outer edge.

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.

There are many regional variations of similar cross stitch shapes, including eight-pointed star, heart, flower and bird motifs, as each basic shape is translated to fit the grid of the fabric in a slightly different way.

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The patterns on many Chinese textiles show great similarity to those found on Persian fabrics.The only certainty is that the technique and designs of cross stitch spread from many of these countries throughout the European continent.The Crusaders probably brought home embroidered textiles from the Middle Eastern countries after the Crusades.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.

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