The Many Faces of Redwork

These versatile designs are not only decorative, but also quite functional.

Originating as a hand embroidery technique, Redwork embroidery is now quickly stitched by machine and the colors are as varied as the results.

Traditional Redwork was just that, embroidery with red thread, which stands out against a light background. The color became a big deal when red dye came on the market in the late 1870s.

Any color can be substituted for the red. ITH Rooster Coasters from Kreative Kiwi is stunning when the thread color coordinates with border fabric.

Garden Decor from Designs by Celeste uses different thread colors for a lovely sketch-quality design. You can make it traditional by stitching it all in red.

Quilting With Redwork

Because of the contrast, Redwork designs like Redwork Quilt Blocks 35 from Dainty Stitches make an impressive stitchout. The design itself could stand alone on a block or, when paired with a layer of batting and baking, makes a wonderful quilting motif. With large open areas in the design, use of a thicker batting yields a more puffy, trapunto-like look.

Closer stitching lines, like those in Redwork Jacobean Quilt 2 from Sweet Heirloom Embroidery, require a thinner batting to maintain the integrity of the design.

When you match the thread color to the fabrics, quilting takes on an heirloom feel. Redwork Table Runner, from Mar Lena Embroidery, is stunning in tone-on-tone.

Changing thread colors can make even outline stitches quite elegant. Christmas Redwork in Gold from All Sorts of Embroidery would be pretty in red but gold adds a luxurious finish, especially when using a metallic gold thread. Designs work well on their own and as quilting motifs on throws, pillows and tree skirts.

You will never look at Redwork the same way again!