Religion is undoubtedly a major influence across the world and many cross stitchers will have considered stitching a piece that symbolises their religion. Well, just as with every other type of design that we frequently get the urge to search for, there are hundreds of beautiful patterns available.
Admittedly, the majority of the patterns available are aimed towards the Christian and catholic religions however there are a few sites that cater for cross stitchers from other religious backgrounds. For example at www.islamiccrossstitch.bravehost.com/ there are a number of patterns based on the art of Arabic calligraphy while others depict the geometric patterns that are often associated with the Islam religion.
Another great site but this time for Jews is http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jspdesign/ where stitchers can create a number of unique Judaic counted cross stitch designs. For example, there are Tefillin and Tallit bag sets that can be made with the recipients name in the centre, ready to be presented as poignant gifts at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. New patterns are added regularly so that those stitchers interested in Judaism will always have something new to try.
As mentioned above however, the vast majority of religious counted cross stitch designs are related to the Christian and Catholic religions and gosh are there a lot of designs to choose from! The website www.123stitch.com/religio.html has over 100 patterns by themselves, some of which are absolutely exquisite (I have purchased a few myself).
The bulk of these designs are simply patterns and so these may be tailored towards the more advanced stitchers. However, there are also a number of complete kits, both stamped and counted cross stitch kits for newbies and those of us who haven’t the patience to buy everything separately.
The kits on the 123stitch site include: the Lord’s Prayer, Footprints, the 23rd Psalm, and the words to Amazing Grace as well as a large selection of religious pictures including the Last Supper, Madonna and Child and my favourite, the Dove of Peace.
The patterns are also varied and include hymns, prayers, nativity scenes, samplers, the Ten Commandments, pictures of the Madonna and even a Star of David. And all of this from only one site!
At www.salt-and-pepper.com/Relig.htm there is a wide variety of general religious designs plus a number of intricate and incredibly beautiful crosses. Also: the Mother Teresa, Pope John-Paul II, the Angel Gabriel, a selection of the most popular prayers and many more designs besides. But that’s not all, there is an entire page dedicated to cross stitch patterns of Jesus, including the Crucifixion and a separate page for patterns of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
These kinds of cross stitch items would make excellent gifts that would be treasured and handed down through the generations. With many of the patterns there is information about the type of fabric to be used and how many skeins of DMC cotton floss are needed to complete the picture, which really is most helpful for lazy stitchers such as myself.
For newbies and even children who have developed an interest in our art, the website www.crsftdesigns4you.com/freechristianpatterns.htm has a few free patterns for bookmarks and little designs that also follow the religious thread.
Also www.holyneedle.com has several free patterns and a wide variety of beautiful but easy cross stitch projects for sale. These include a design for a christening bib, a house altar cover, communion linen and a rosary pouch. The site also has many traditional and cute patterns for angels, religious figures, cherubs and pretty much everything else that can be associated with the Catholic religion.
Any pattern that is cross-stitched on a religious theme and is then given as a gift to a strong believer will bring tears to his or her eyes. It will be treasured for a lifetime and will be on permanent display so make sure you choose the correct design and stitch it right!