Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Redwork Revival

Some nights I am torn: my mind and my hands want to create something, but my body is just too tired to cut fabric and sit hunched over my sewing machine.  Some nights I just want to hang out on the couch with my husband and watch our favorite tv shows... but make something at the same time!  The perfect solution to my quandary came as I was wandering around Stitches, a little fabric shop in Capitol Hill. I saw the cutest, most retro, most kitschy-fabulous embroidery patterns ever by a company called Sublime Stitching. As their website says, "this ain't your grandma's embroidery!" (Not that a grandma's embroidery would be a bad thing, in my opinion.) I bought a pattern to embroider on a kitchen towel, but before I delved into different colored floss and intricate patterns, I thought I would try something more simple first. Hence this pattern, found at the Pacific Fabric Outlet Store just over the bridge:

For one thing, I totally agree with the statement. :)  And for another, I was curious about what "redwork" was. I found this explantion on the website redwork.info:

"Redwork became popular in the late 1800's because of a colorfast thread made in Turkey, from a secret recipe. Up until then, colored threads did not hold their color in the wash and therefore, could not be used successfully to adorn everyday items like bedspreads or dish towels. The simplicity of redwork designs, and the fact that they were embroidered with very simple stitches on inexpensive muslins, meant that nearly everyone could have decorated linens. Children often learned how to embroider on 'Penny Squares', little designs printed on muslin and sold at the general stores for a penny. Redwork quilts were mostly 'summer weight' linens, meaning they had no batting. The Redwork squares were usually stitched together without sashing, and either quilted to a backing with a feather stitch or simply tied with string or yarn."

Very cool! Plus, I love how the whole pattern is supposed to be done in red floss. No switching out colors or deciding what color would look best where. I could handle this! I gathered my supplies... an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut; a needle with an eye that was big enough to easily thread the floss so I wouldn't get totally frustrated; a pair of little scissors for trimming loose ends, and that was it! It came with all the floss I needed. And it only took me a weekend to complete it--it's nice to work on an "instant satisfaction" piece once in a while!

The pattern was stamped on the fabric in a blue ink that was to be stitched over, and it completely came out when I was done by soaking the fabric in cold water for about 5 minutes.  Next step: hand sew the completed project onto a throw pillow that will sit on my lovely leopard-print couch!

1 comment:

  1. http://dollymamas.com/search.aspx?cat=12

    if you like cross stitching check these ones out...i think they are pretty funny!

    and i love the quote!! good job!!