Heather Thomas

Beautiful Redwork Hand Quilted Embroidery Designs

Heather Thomas
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Duration:   17  mins

Both redwork and bluework are beginning to become more popular in today’s quilting world. Both refer to the technique of hand embroidery in traditional embroidery designs on muslin or a similar cloth in either red or blue embroidery floss. Heather Thomas explains how she took that idea and made it her own, using different fabric, embroidery floss color and stitches.


For her design, Heather chose to use a piece of silk dupioni. The fabric is a solid color, which is best to use on a technique like this so the embroidery designs stand out and are not competing with any fabric designs. The silk is backed with a piece of synthetic stabilizer that he attached using a fusible adhesive. Heather explains how she will fill the entire piece of fabric with embroidery designs and then either use it as a stand alone art quilt or as the background for another project. Embellishments such as beads or another technique like quilt applique could be used to add more designs to the embroidered fabric. Learning how to hand applique is another easy hand stitching technique to use on any project.


To begin her embroidery, Heather marks and stitches a large grid across the fabric surface. All of the embroidery designs Heather stitches onto her fabric are done using a straight stitch. Utilizing a straight stitch allows her to always be stitching from the right side, eliminating the need to continuously flip the fabric over or insert the needle blindly from the wrong side. She demonstrates how to create a straight stitch and then begins to explain how the same stitch can be used to create many different embroidery designs. Heather shows how to create rows of stitches in ‘v’ shapes to create a cheveron look, how to stitch ‘x’ patterns and how to mix rows of vertical and horizontal stitches together. She also shows how to create what is commonly know as a rice stitch in both a single and double pattern.

Always work from the front

Steam when done to remove wrinkles. Don’t pull so hard that you distort fabric.

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