April 16, 2007

Redwork Revival

Redwork, also known as Penny Squares, is hotter than ever. Ok, maybe not as hot as it was in the early 1900's but it's definitely attracting the eye of a new generation of embroiderers. And there is no mistaking this style of embroidery with it's bold choice of red thread on white fabric. It is a style that was introduced in the United States by German immigrants. They brought their beautiful linen pieces embroidered with Turkey red thread across the Atlantic from Europe. The name Penny Square was coined (pun intended)because one could purchase a muslin square with an embroidery pattern printed on it for a penny. Those were the days!

Today there is a slew of material that is dedicated to Redwork.

American Jane patterns

~ The book, Historical Penny Squares, gives a complete history of Redwork, describes the types of patterns used, and provides patterns for creating your own square.

~ A Redwork Embroidery Primer is an educational site that gives the lowdown from A to Z on Redwork.

~ American Jane Patterns has vintage patterns and a Block of the Month club where you can purchase a block and use it to create anything from a quilt, to a wall hanging, to a pillow. The possibilities are endless.

~ Patternbee has an extensive supply of iron-on embroidery transfers ranging from flowers to children at play.

Lottie Dottie redwork pillow

~ View the accomplishments of Redwork in Germany. She is a regular contributor to the Flickr Embroidery Group and her embroidery will definitely motivate you to try Redwork yourself.

See the Flickr Embroidery Pool where I posted the square I made and post one of your own!


  1. My grandma liked redwork. I think I have a quilt tucked away that is in need of repair. I should post a pic of it to the group.

  2. One of these days I am going to do some redwork, I think it is absolutely beautiful. I especially love Redwork of Germany's work, she is such an inspiration.

  3. Amazon.fr has a book on Pink Work and Blue Work.

  4. My grandmother used to make quilts with hand embroidered blocks with the state outlines. THey also had the state birds and state flower. Any idea where I might find these patterns?