Fine Line Embroidery: Redwork and Beyond

Linework began as the most of basic hand embroidery and has evolved into a very versatile form of machine embroidery. From standard Redwork to vintage style and quilting, these designs are the work horses of the industry.

Basic Linework

Bluework Tea Sets from Odile’s Corner

Whether it is Redwork, Blackwork, Goldwork, and Bluework, the premise is much the same.

Golden Jacoby by All Sorts of Embroidery

These designs stitch as a single color on a solid background. Most often, they are a running stitch or a triple stitch to imitate hand embroidery.

Blackwork Owls 2 by Ace Points Embroidery

Some Blackwork even contains a touch of color. Of course, you could stitch any of these in any thread color that you like.

Fonts, such as the Paper Stipple Monogram from My Fair Lady, provide elegant and clean lines. Their light stitch count makes them ideal for stitching on paper.

Redwork Sunbonnet Alphabet from Kreative Kiwi turns Redwork style into a clean, decorative font.

Images from France from Outback Embroidery turn heavier designs into artistic sketchwork.


As thread colors evolved over time, embroidery options did as well. Bright colors were common in vintage embroidery like Colorwork Fruit and Vegetables by Hatched in Africa.

Geometric designs, digitized with subtle color variations like the Henna Quilt Blocks from Kreations by Kara. You could stitch it out in a single color, but the effect would be quite different.


Gone Fishing from Erina’s Designs

Linework designs can be used for quilting whether they are designated as a “quilt block” or not. Monotone and tone-on-tone fabrics, like pair up nicely. They can be framed or stitched up as a quilt block, pillow top, or wall hanging.

Redwork Jacobean Quilt from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery

For quilting-specific designs, the open areas, contrasting color, and continuous stitching really make both the embroidery design, and the block’s batting/wadding stand out.

What is your favorite way to use linework embroidery?