Redwork embroidery is believed to have originated in Europe in the early 1800’s and traveled to America around 1850 with the availability of color fast red floss. The availability of color fast red thread and inexpensive cotton fabric led to an abundance of interest in this type of embroidery. From the 1860’s through the 1920’s it became popular for young girls to be taught to embroider using red thread floss on cotton squares using simple patterns. These "penny squares"—the simple cotton and floss could be purchased for a penny in dry goods stores across the country—were quickly stitched and often put together block by block into lightweight bed covers.

I decided to complete a piece of redwork as part of my gift making this year - and here is my first completed project. It has been placed in a timber frame and some trim added. The little girl to whom will be receiving this has been learning her Proverbs 31 so I thought it would be nice to add the verse "wortheth willingly with her hands".  My next 2 projects will be for a friend's birthday in April and for Mothers Day in May.



  1. Oh I love this I have been looking at red work and wanted to start a have inspired me. What a precious gift.

  2. Hi sweet Jo- this is such a beautiful tribute to a handwork craft that is all but lost. My Mother was a huge fan of rework- she made some beautiful projects and also collected some fabulous pieces.

    Your own creation is a loving and beautiful testament to this lost art. What a wonderful and precious gift this will be for that little girl. I hope she is old enough to appreciate such a gift and to truly treasure it forever!

    Stunning dear Jo--

  3. What absolutely gorgeous work! I love it! :) You've done such beautiful work! :)

  4. How wonderful!
    I love redwork. I've never done it but always wanted to try it.
    I think red and white looks so good together and really adds a nice ambience to a room. Especially a country/rustic style of decor :-)
    Beautiful job Jo, your young friend is gonig to love it!

  5. I like it too. I like the fresh country look of it. Nice job!

  6. Jo,

    I like your redwork, and I enjoyed reading the history behind this type of art as well. As Ruby stated, the white and red together gives the work a country look, which I truly like, indeed!

    -Lady Rose

  7. Oh how beautiful! Red is one of my favorite colors. (o:

  8. Lovely! Have you ever seen bluework? It's not as popular as redwork, but has a small following in the States.

  9. Yes, and there's also blackwork - my sister Heidi did a blackwork piece when she did sewing classes at school.

  10. I have looked at both Blue and Black work - Blackwork is often used in Scandinavian work which I wasn't as keen on, but I did like the blue work.

  11. Your redwork is lovely. Thanks for the history too. I've been working on my first piece (for years - it's a classic UFO) it is a Debbie Mumm teapots pattern wall quilt.

    I like the way you embellished and framed your piece.


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