Redwork Embroidery

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Redwork embroidery was quite popular during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. This type of hand embroidery is so named because of its signature red thread. Redwork embroidery came out of England, specifically, the Kensington School for Girls. The stitch used in redwork embroidery was therefore known as the Kensington stitch. Today, we call this same stitch outline stitching, or backstitching. The fabric used was, traditionally, muslin.

Redwork Embroidery Today

Today, you can find redwork patterns on the Internet, and in arts and crafts stores everywhere. You can also find all the embroidery supplies you'll need for redwork online. This is the modern and convenient way of starting a lovely, old fashioned redwork project of your own.

Redwork looks fabulous on table cloths and table runners. The combination of red and white is folksy, yet dramatic. In a way, the combination reminds me of the embroidery designs popular in the Ukraine.

If you are a history buff, try buying penny squares. These patterns were very popular at the turn of the century. They are often small yet intricate designs, with whimsical, even amusing patterns. Try embroidering the edge of a handkerchief with one of these penny squares. If you have children who are interested in learning how to embroider, penny squares of redwork might be a great way for them to start.


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