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.
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!)
This is a closeup of a floral design on a vintage tea towel from my collection...
And a heron (or perhaps a stork?) with a spider in his beak...
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