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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.

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.

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.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.Cross stitch is found on many types of Indian embroidery, often in combination with beads, sequins and tiny metal embellishments.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.Persians, Arabs and travellers from Greece and India followed the silk routes to China and many eventually settled there.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.

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