Cross Stitch Beyond All Limits

20th December 2019

Cross stitch is a passion for a lot of embroiderers. Many others started out with cross stitch and moved on to other things. But whether you still do it, or you’ve not done it for years, there is no doubt that cross stitch is enormously popular across the world and is also the source of some pretty impressive records. 

One of the Inspirations team is a mad keen cross stitcher who loves tackling enormous projects. She has one which was started a number of years ago. The chart, a re-creation of The Lady and the Unicorn: À mon seul désir, is 56 pages long. That is 56 full coverage pages with each stitch worked in a blend of two colours. 

She was curious and did a few sums. After calculating the number of stitches and the time it took to stitch a 10 x 10 square, she worked out that if she stitched two hours a day, every single day, it would take approximately seven and a half years to complete.

The Lady and the Unicorn: a mon seul desir (source)

If you think that’s ambitions, it’s nothing in comparison to some of the cross stitch world record holders, most of whom have produced pieces that make The Lady and the Unicorn look like a weekend project.

The largest cross stitch currently completed is a full-sized replica of the famous painting of The Battle of Grunewald.

Measuring in at 9.2 x 4.05 metres, this gargantuan achievement took 1 year and 9 months to stitch between a group of stitchers in Poland. They estimated about four and a half years of working hours, which doesn’t factor in the months it took to create the chart and then to put all of the pieces together.

Putting together the pieces of The Battle of Grunewald (source)

Haven’t got a stitching group large enough (or willing enough) to help? You could try to challenge Peter Volna from the Slovak Republic. Peter single-handedly completed a replica of The Last Supper over the course of 10 years, stitching 3 hours per day. His masterpiece measures in at 1.94 x 1.34 metres and is apparently still for sale if you are at all interested.

If you’re feeling inspired to tackle something this momentous, Joanna Lopianowski-Roberts has published her chart of the entire Sistine Chapel ceiling which took her almost 10 years to stitch.

This chart holds the record as the largest published chart publicly available.

But never fear – the chart, for all its enormous size, has been broken up into 34 patterns, each intended to be stitched separately.

Just imagining the number of skeins of thread you’d need, the size of fabric and the sheer weight of the completed projects mentioned here boggles the mind. But it also demonstrates what dedicated and passionate stitchers are able to achieve, whether in a group or individually. 

Don’t let anyone tell us that we are afraid of challenges or are unwilling to try something most people could barely conceive. By employing patience, care and love to our project, the sky is the limit to what each of us can achieve. You just need to start with a single cross.

A single cross stitch is where it all starts

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