whereby a simple outline
(generally of a child
, or flower) is worked in stem stitch
in thread colored with Turkey red
. Its name comes from the use of this extremely hardwearing dye, most often being done on flour sacking
, which is then used as is as a dish towel
, or on small squares of printed muslin, which were then used to sew quilt
Based on Pennsylvania Dutch and other folk crafts, its current form was invented by a progressive educator as an excercise for children. Redwork had its heyday during the 1920's and 1930's, when literally thousands of patterns were produced with themes such as days of the week, kittens, "exotic" Chinese and Mexican figures, holidays, etc. Redwork items were popular as small gifts, as church fair items, and suchlike, and the patterns (as iron-on transfers) can still be bought to this day, while faux redwork quilt fabric is now being sold by the yard. Considering the speed and simplicity of sewing a square, one wonders why anyone would bother.