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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quilting with Redwork

by Caron Mosey

I received an email a few days ago from a quilter by the name of Linda, who asked about quilting on a Redwork quilt.  She asked,

I would be interested in getting your take and the hand quilting groups take on whether you should hand quilt through a redwork embroidery quilt.

Excellent question, Linda!

Linda sent a link to this photo on her own blog for us to look at:
If you click on the photo, it will take you to Linda’s blog, where you can visit and hang around with her.

You can see that Linda has quilted in a cross hatch pattern OUTSIDE the redwork lines, but not inside.  That will leave the area within the embroidery unquilted and loose.  I guess my thought is that that I would quilt enough on the inside area to hold it in place, but not so much that it will detract from the embroidery.  Does that make sense?

I’m not good at all with drawing on my computer, but the photo below shows blue lines where I might quilt inside the block if this were mine.
I wouldn’t quilt around each item in the picture, just the larger ones or in areas that are bigger and need something to anchor the layers.

What would you do?

Linda’s email prompted me to think about my Redwork owl quilt that is awaiting hand quilting.  How would I handle that?  Hmmm… not sure…



  1. I have never done redwork, but I would treat it the same as applique I think. I too would quilt around some areas of the red work but not all. Otherwise it would be to puffy I think when the quilt was finished to have no quilting in the design areas. I would follow the lines of Santa's beard and maybe around a couple of the toys in the sack, maybe around part of the hat and the areas that you lined in blue as well.

  2. I'll stay tuned to see what others think as well, Caron. I was considering something along the lines as what both of you have suggested. NOT going aound every design element but some parts of them. Some of the blocks are quite packed with embroidery stitching after all. I am only on the 5th block of 12 and was trying to decide if it needed more as I went along. I can always go back! I can't decide on an appropriate cable yet for that 2 inch finished sashing either!

    Thanks for posing the question to the group, Caron.

  3. I agree with the other posts. I would quilt around the outside of the design to anchor it as I would with applique, then parts of the inside - to match the density of the stitching outside the embroidery.

  4. When I made a small baby quilt that had some embroidered blocks, I really was torn about how to quilt it. in the end, I quilted right through the embroidery blocks following the same lines I used in the pieced blocks. When finished and washed, the quilting did not detract from the embroidery and the quilt has stood up marvellously over time. I wouldn't hesitate to do the cross-hatching right through the redwork blocks at all.

  5. I have quilted around the design as you would applique, but if the design is a large one I would quilt some Carons diagram. I have seen several antique rework quilts and they tend to quilt right through the design so I think that would be the "traditional" way to go

  6. I've seen redwork blocks with quilting over them, like crosshatching, and it looked fine. If I were quilting this block, though, I'd outline it, selectively outline some of the interior, and add some quilted detail. Bear in mind I like to densely quilt.


  7. That's great information, the way to tackle quilting around stitchery has always puzzled me.

  8. I used babtist fans on my christmas quilt that is embroidered, and just quilted thru the embroidery and it turned out really great. I like your suggestions too, Caron. I have learned the hard way to try and keep the quilting uniform or puffy areas become distracting once the quilt is laundered.

  9. i'd quilt right through the redwork; the sizes of her redwork designs vary a lot and it would be consistent as well as provide a secure anchor for the block.

  10. Appreciate that this question was addressed.


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