November 16, 2010

Redwork embroidery was popular in the Victorian era and refers to the color, always worked in Turkey Red floss. Redwork has been on and off a passion of mine. As a newlywed I fell in love with the sweet little designs, almost always flowers, animals or children. I've made several Redwork quilts over the years and would like to share a few of them with you, the ones I still have in my possession! The first one shown above was made in 1986 and was often on my son's bed. When he was little we had such fun finding the pictures and talking about them. One square shows our three dogs we had at the time, Trapper, Woody and Sugar along with a few of their "favorite things". Really, writing about this now makes me a little teary, so many sweet memories. My now 27 year old son still says he loves this quilt.

Below is a quilt in progress. Started years ago and put on hold, with only half of the quilting done. It will be finished one day, I just have to be in the mood to quilt. You know how that is. The little girl holding her dollies, crying baby and the bird lady...too cute! In those close up shots you can see that after the squares are sewn together and before it's quilted, I use a herringbone stitch on the seam. The embroidery stitches used are mostly stem and outline stitch, a little bit of chain stitch and some French knots. I always use highest quality 100% natural muslin, and naturally I have to buy my floss in bulk! DMC #304.

Below is a baby quilt I made and never gifted! Yet.

This bin holds years of collected Redwork embroidery patterns. Often called Penny Squares, in the 1800's a square of muslin with a little design cost one penny. Designs were wildly collectible and girls and their mothers would share and trade.

BTW, this is a great travel project; a dozen squares, embroidery hoop, a few needles and a half dozen skeins of floss and you are ready to go, a very light-weight project.

This last one is vintage, not sure of the exact date. I found the finished squares at a flea market for $10 for the lot! I assembled the squares and quilted them. It's pretty delicate but did hang on our guest room wall for a time. I especially like the Little Red Riding Hood scenes, look at the one with "grandma" knitting!
For years I spent many happy hours stitching away, I still do when I would rather not knit, although that is a rare occasion. Writing this post was taking a little trip back in time, before knitting, when redwork was my passion. Thanks for coming with me!

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  1. These are all amazing!! I love redwork embroidery, it's so fresh and pretty.

  2. You do beautiful work...gorgeous!

  3. What a treasure! I love the redwork embroidery and am a little bit tempted to explore it further now. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  4. What wonderful quilts! Thanks for sharing them. I wonder how the designs were transferred in the old days. And have you ever had any problems washing the red and the white? The red riding hood squares are great, but I like Trapper, Woody and Sugar, too!

  5. Wow these are true works of art! Family heirlooms for sure!!

  6. i love the red and white...and my mom and i sat here with mouths hanging open at these works of art!

  7. These are so amazing. I especially love the winter scene with the bird on a tree.

  8. brendaedwards613@yahoo.comFebruary 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    WOW! I loved your sight. Just found it looking for patterns of Little Red Riding Hood. I would love to make some of these for my creative arts school that is getting ready to open. Where could I get the pattern or could I buy it from you? Your work is beautiful and inspiring!


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