8.09.2007

redwork embroidery

Redwork is an embroidery technique that uses outline stitch in just one color—red. And it’s the darkish red called “turkey red” that you’ll see most often.

The patterns are usually simple ones and depict animals, children’s toys, or nursery rhyme characters. Designs were often traced or stamped onto squares of muslin and then combined into a quilt after the embroidery was complete.

redwork

I found a set of these squares featuring traditional English nursery rhymes at an antique mall and plan to make them up into pillows. I had already added some red polkadot sashing but only recently found a fabric I liked to complete them (you know how you picture something in your mind’s eye, then you can’t find anything that works – hate that!)

redwork

This is a closeup of a floral design on a vintage tea towel from my collection...

redwork

And a heron (or perhaps a stork?) with a spider in his beak...

redwork

redwork

While there are lots of patterns out there specifically for redwork, you can take any embroidery pattern and make it into redwork—just use red floss to complete your design!

If you'd like to read more about redwork embroidery, here are a few links you might find interesting:
A Redwork Embroidery Primer
Redwork Embroidery History: From Tea Towels to Quilts
Redwork

12 comments:

Jerusalem said...

I have always loved the look of redwork! Thanks for sharing those links, I will have to check them out!

Mrs. Bick said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I love embroidery, and I love red. This has given me lots to think about and plan over in coming days!

June said...

Redwork is so beautiful--I love its inherent simplicity and red is such a color evocative of a rich, full life. I also like to do bluework as well.

Amy said...

Sometimes the simple ideas are the grand ideas...very nice...thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

Redwork is just lovely. These are wonderfully fun pieces! :)

ellen said...

Oh, thanks for sharing. I would love to try some redwork one of these days.

charlotte said...

love these...I think I have some somewhere...in a box, a basket or the back of a drawer. love your super cute things over at T-cozy!

Vintage Amethyst said...

Oh how lovely, thanks for sharing these photos.
Alison x

APO said...

great tips! Love it! ;-)

Pattie in San Francisco said...

Any chance of duplicating these designs and selling them with your vintage embroidery patterns on your web site? I think they are just adorable and would love to do a few on baby blankets.

Lynn said...

I have loved redwork for many years and have a large collection of antique redwork quilts. I would love to learn how to make patterns from my quilts. Any suggestions on software or how to duplicate the designs so they look professional?

janet said...

Lynn, you first need a good scanner so you can make digital files from your originals. Then you need a drawing program (I use Photoshop) so you can trace over the lines on a separate layer. When you're done copying, you delete the original bottom layer and you're left with a traced pattern. It's a little more complicated than that but not much. Does that help at all?

I've also traced patterns for other crafters - I'd just need scans of the originals. Costs would depend on how complicated the pattern is.