Modern Sunbonnet Sue's Musings

Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue:
Redwork Patterns

I have always been drawn to the Redwork medium. Red being my favorite color, makes it especially inviting. I can recall looking through patterns in Workbasket as a young person. My Grandma Smith subscribed to the magazine and kept all the copies. I guess that could be where I get my compulsion to keep everything quilting. Redwork patterns abound. There are countless books on the subject and many patterns available on the internet.

When completing redwork patterns, there are so many shades of red to chose, but I prefer to use DMC #498, referreed to as turkey red. Nowadays, patterns are worked in blue, black or any number of colors. What many may not realize is that red was well liked because it was a rich dye that didn't fade or bleed, unlike today's synthetic dyes. Turkey red is mistakenly thought to be a specific color, however, the terminology refers to the process used to produce the red colors used in fabrics. Read about the history of red dyes. Likely, the name was applied because of it's origin from the middle east. Dyeing was a common practice in American homes prior to the 1860's, as Ruth Finley relates in the chapter Colors, Dyes and Dyeing from her oft referred to book, Old Patchwork Quilts and The Women Who Made Them, first published by Philadelphia & London J.B. Lippincott Company in 1929. Synthetic dyes produced by manufacturing companies are common use in fabrics today due to their lower costs and ease of use.

I have always wanted to learn the art of fabric dyeing. I especially would like to produce my own batik fabrics. Caryl Bryer Fallert has mastered the art of dyeing and produces gorgeous quilts from her owned hand-dyed fabrics. I would love to visit her studio in Paducah, KY, when I am able to make it to the AQS show held there annually. This is one of the items on my "to do" list when I have the time and money to invest in the process.

I modified the pattern from the cover quilt on McCall's Quilting April 2007 by Carol Armstrong to use redwork designs instead of applique flowers. I used a collection of 3" charms from a guild exchange to make the hand appliqued squares. I hand quilted in between the squares, along with a vine and leaves in the border. I entered the quilt in the 2009 Michigan Quilt Network show and received an Honorable Mention ribbon. I titled the quilt, My Charming Flower Garden.

This is one of my favorite quilts. It incorporates the aspects of quilting that I enjoy doing the most: hand applique, redwork embroidery, and hand quilting.


Published Fri, Aug 19 2011 10:00 PM by Pamela