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Redwork from The WORKBASKET: 100 Designs for Machine and Hand Embroidery Paperback – March 24, 2010
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Paperback : 128 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0896899721
- ISBN-13 : 978-0896899728
- Product Dimensions : 8.25 x 0.5 x 10.88 inches
- Publisher : Krause Publications; 1st Edition (March 24, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I dispute some of what the most helpful review says. First, right in the title it states that these designs are from "The Workbasket" magazine which originated in 1935 with John and Clara Tillotson producing it from their home, under the originally cumbersome title: "Aunt Martha's Workbasket: Home and Needlecraft, For Pleasure and Profit." That last word addressed being in the depth of the Depression when jobs--especially for women--were too scarce. Also, the top line of the book cover says "100 Designs for Machine and Hand Embroidery." The word Machine comes first. While, like that reviewer, I exclusively do hand embroidery, just about every design in the book (or on the CD) can be transferred to any number of ground fabrics and worked by hand. I wonder how thoroughly that reviewer read the section "A Brief History of Redwork." It may be brief, but it's pithy; and that review states that redwork was most popular during "the early to mid 20th century" whereas the book states that it reached its peak of popularity "during the 19th and early 20th centuries." The main thing we need to know is that it was when "Turkey" (bold red) thread was finally made colorfast even after multiple washings that redwork took off as the technique for marking household textiles and soon after, general embroidery on those textiles.
It's interesting to me that this is not exclusively about red thread on white fabric: there are projects showing red thread on black or patterned fabric as well as white thread on red fabric.
For hand embroiderers like me, the stitches shown are well-diagrammed. These are the most popular stitches (with the exception of cross stitch): outline/stem stitch, backstitch, French knots, satin stitch, lazy daisy and blanket stitches. (If you make blanket stitches more condensed you create the buttonhole stitch which is great for hemming in addition to the decorative purposes this book covers.)
The Table of Contents is thus:
Introduction (including the history of the magazine and of redwork, threads, fabric, blanks and novel ideas)
Section One: Working the Designs (discussing how to do machine and hand embroidery)
Section Two: Redwork Projects (which include pillows, quilts, aprons, banners, bath and table linens, ornaments and framed pictures)
Section Three: The Designs on the CD-ROM
Editor Rebecca Kemp Brent seems to know what she's talking about. She has also written:
Machine Embroidery Wild & Wacky: Stitch on Any and Every Surface
Fill in the Blanks with Machine Embroidery
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sewing
plus dozens of articles for magazines and contributions to other books. I think this book is an excellent choice to introduce yourself to these historic yet modern designs.
I embroider by hand, so the emphasis on machine embroidery was of little interest to me. Regardless, each project seemed to have some handy little tidbit: Turkish corners, heirloom hemstitching, recycling commercial tote bags. But there were also clunkers that seemed to be included only to cut down on the white space: "Add more squares to make a larger quilt."
I was intrigued by the illustrations of finished projects. I'm not sure the simple outline aspect of redwork design is the best way to use machine embroidery. The thread sinks into the material and so the designs don't stand out the way they do if done by hand.
I was disappointed that there wasn't more history of this embroidery style that was so popular during the early to mid 20th century. I know items with redwork are still readily available at antiques stores and online auctions. I would have loved to have seen pictures of vintage work.
So for hand embrodiery, the designs on the CD-ROM are easy to use but probably available cheaper through other sources. For machine embroidery, outline stitchery doesn't seem an attractive use for an expensive machine. For textile history lovers, the history portion just isn't there. I bought my copy from Amazon so I'm pleased with what I got for the money I spent. If I'd paid the full $32.99 (USD), I think I'd feel cheated.