Huangmei Tiaohua Stitch, also known as Jiazihua stitch or cross stitch, is popular in Huangmei county, Huibei Province. It is said that the stitch originated from Tang and Song dynasties and matured in late Ming and early Qing dynasties. After meticulous work of generations of countryside women, the technique becomes better and approaches perfection gradually. Lucid and clear, it shows a unique artistic expression.
Colored stitch of the cotton producing area in the countryside of Huangmei county is more exquisite. It has rich patterns and strong local flavor. There is a local saying, “Daughters in Huangmei all master Tiaohua stitch.” Girls learn the stitch skills from their mothers or aunts as soon as they are sensible, until they get married. Local people call girls not able to stitch “Zheng Bazhang” which means stupid girls and is a humiliation to girls.
Huangmei Tiaohua Stitch is different from ordinary stitches. Taking a black cloth as the base, the embroiderer stitches with colorful silk threads on the grids interweaved by warps and wefts and produces vivid patterns showing a strong three-dimensional sense. The embroidery with “x” as basic stitch is called cross stitch while that with “” as basic stitch is called plain stitch. The main material of Huangmei Tiaohua Stitch is local home-made cloth which is called “Dabu”. It is often dyed dark green. Craftsman creates various patterns on it with a needle, a thread (of seven colors) by stitching alternatively. The embroidery is mainly used on sheets, scarves, aprons, clothes, insoles, pillows, of which scarves are the most outstanding.