What is a Redwork Quilt?

The word “Redwork” refers to embroidery done in a red color.  The deep red embroidery floss that was used in the early days of Redwork came from Turkey, and it was a colorfast product.  Redwork is typically done on white linen or cotton, or on unbleached natural muslin. The use of a colorfast floss was necessary, as floss without the colorfast quality would run when washed (obviously not a good thing when you’re using it on white fabric!). 

DSC02875Ornate embroidery was part of the fussy Victorian culture of women’s stitchery, and a large part of the creation of crazy quilting.  Embellishing fabric and quilts was a large part of the life of wealthy women, however redwork was adopted by and popular with people of a lower social class, especially in the United States.

Trudys Quilts 005Simple embroidery designs began to be seen on “penny squares,” 6 inch squares of muslin that were preprinted for sewing Redwork.  Redwork designs were also printed in publications like Work Basket  and even in more modern magazines like McCall’s Needle Crafts.  Primitive lettering and simple hand drawn designs are still popular today because many needle workers love their simplicity.

Trudys Quilts 003

DMC embroidery floss is used quite often to create the Redwork for quilts.  The following colors seem to be the most popular: 

DMC 498, 817, 321 and 304. 

Books on Redwork:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=76070C&t=bloggin094-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=tf_til&asins=0896899721 http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bloggin094-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0847822443&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=76070C&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr  http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bloggin094-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1571201564&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=76070C&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr