Redwork by Margaret Light

23rd July 2021

Most stitchers will be familiar with the technique of blackwork. Blackwork was purportedly brought to England from Spain during Tudor times, however, there is evidence of it being practiced even before then. What is known is that the rich patterns worked predominantly in black thread on a white or natural background, became a popular form of decoration for clothing and textiles.

But what about redwork? Logic tells us that redwork would be needlework done in red thread – and logic would be correct. But from where does it originate? All of the histories tell us that redwork is a relatively recent invention, first emerging at the end of the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century in America.

It apparently derived its name from Turkey Red cotton embroidery thread that was both inexpensive and colourfast and so became a popular thread to use on white fabric.

In her newly released book, A Fine Tradition, Margaret Light has created several projects that bring together the simple beauty of redwork with the intricate patterns of 16th and 17th Century crewel and blackwork designs.

In this way she has created something new and the results are absolutely gorgeous.

The first of these projects is the Redwork Pincushion & Chatelaine. Using a range of silks and wools in deep red and combining them with natural linen and a matching wool felt, this collection of stitching accessories is both practical and striking. 

Margaret has chosen a selection of motifs borrowed from a range of early German, English and Italian pattern books. You’ll recognise the Tudor rose, the pomegranate and a range of trellis patterns, all highlighted with beads and paillettes. 

Included in the collection is a sturdy pincushion, and a chatelaine with scissor keep and holder, as well as a thimble pod and strawberry emery. The collection utilises a range of surface stitches to both delight and challenge even the most accomplished of stitchers, keeping everyone satisfied.

The second project, entitled Redwork Sachet is a stunning mini-cushion that is perfect as a page weight or pincushion.

The pattern on this project is gorgeous, with curling tendrils and flowers emerging from each corner of the sachet and worked in fine broder spécial no. 16 in a rich burgundy red.

Construction of the sachet is simple and the whole piece is set off by a matching pom-pom braid that is attached around the outside edge.

Monochromatic embroidery is a pleasure to work as there aren’t endless colour changes to think about.

The final results are also stunning to look at as the patterns and designs can be truly appreciated to the full, unencumbered by lots of colours and shading. 

Margaret’s skilful bringing together of the historical patterns and more modern style work perfectly in these two projects, both of which complement each other in an ideal way.

Once you’ve completed one, you’re sure to get hooked and want to re-create the other to complete this stunning collection.

Make Your Own | Redwork Pincushion & Chatelaine

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Redwork Pincushion & Chatelaine by Margaret Light from the book A Fine Tradition is a barrel pincushion and chatelaine comprising scissor sheath and fob, thimble pod and strawberry emery.

Printed Books

A Fine Tradition

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Redwork Pincushion & Chatelaine includes everything* you need to re-create these delightful accessories: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felt, interfacing, batting, wadding, linen tape, button, sewing threads, template plastic, thin card, metal washer, emery powder, embroidery threads and needles.


Redwork Pincushion & Chatelaine – AFT Kit

Make Your Own | Redwork Sachet

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Redwork Sachet by Margaret Light from the book A Fine Tradition is a stylish sachet with symmetrical design showcasing an elegant use of simple stitches influenced by early blackwork.

Digital Patterns

A Fine Tradition

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Redwork Sachet includes everything* you need to re-create this elegant sachet: Fabrics (unprinted), pompom edging, sewing thread, embroidery threads and needles.


Redwork Sachet – AFT Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create these projects, please refer to the book.

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