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Redwork Embroidery



Redwork encompasses any type of embroidery worked in red thread on white or natural-colored fabric (usually muslin). This style of embroidery is most commonly worked in basic surface embroidery stitches and cross stitch. Redwork has been commonly used in folk embroidery since stable dyes were developed in Turkey (hence the old name of Turkey Work), and was very popular from 1880 through the early 1900's.

DMC floss in color number 321 is the most popular color used for Redwork.

Note: Redwork patterns can also be worked in blue threads on white fabric, and is then referred to as Bluework.

1. Tips for Working Redwork

© Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to About.com
Use these simple tips to help you create your next Redwork project, such as this Chicken Weathervane project.

2. About.com's Free Redwork Embroidery

© Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to About.com
This list features all of the free embroidery patterns hosted here on the About.com Embroidery site, and is updated each time a new pattern is added. Current patterns include the Redwork Alphabet pattern series and the Redwork Chicken Weathervane.

3. DMC's Pumpkin Stitch-Along


The folks over at DMC Threads featured a multi-part stitch-along featuring a Redwork Pumpkin. The pattern and instructions are provided.

What makes this stitch-along more interesting than most is that they have also posted tutorials for stitching the stars two different ways, using versions of the fly stitch and Algerian eye stitch, as well as finishing instructions for making a basic stand-up.

4. Redwork from NeedleKnowledge


Quilters will enjoy making a free block of the month quilt using redwork techniques. Each of the 12 blocks features a different seasonal floral design.

Other free redwork patterns featured on this site include the Sunny Side Up kitchen towels and the Red Quaker Sampler.

5. Redwork Patterns by Barbara Parrish

Barbara Parrish
Barbara Parrish has posted a wonderful assortment of free Redwork patterns featuring vintage scenes and motifs. Be sure to check out the main sections of the web page for helpful redwork tips and information.

6. Sentimental Stitches

Sentimental Stitches
Gay at Sentimental Stitches has been posting some delightful free patterns featuring motifs drawn by the designers of art needlework items in the early 1900s. Most of the designs will fit nicely on a 9″ quilt block.

7. Bird Brain Designs

Bird Brain Designs
This site features quite a few designs suitable for redwork embroidery. Most of the designs are whimsical and will fit nicely on a flour sack kitchen towel. The free patterns feature a variety of themes including Holiday and everyday.

8. The Pattern Bee


This site features a number of vintage designs for redwork, including the Victornian era sentiment shown here.

If you're stitching for baby, check out their selection of vintage nursery rhyme patterns as well.

You'll find patterns for Little Red Riding Hood, Humpty Dumpty, the Three Little Pigs, Little Miss Muffet, Mary and her Little Lamb, Little Boy Blue, the Three Little Kittens, Little Bo Peep and other classic stories.

9. Tipnut


Download an entire series of Kitchen Proverbs for redwork embroidery.

Proverbs include, A Watched Pot Never Boils, Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth, and First Come, First Served, all featuring a a girl in a bonnet going about her daily chores.

10. Sew Terrific

Sew Terrific Designs
Stitch an adorable redwork series featuring children dressed in costumes from around the world. The block from Switzerland is shown here, but blocks from 27 different countries are available.
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