Vintage Redwork Penny Square on unbleached muslin. Measures approx 8" square. These are from the early 1900s, I found them in my grandmothers attic. They have been lightly pressed but not starched and the frayed edges trimmed. They have not been washed. This one features a cow with horns. It may have some staining. See pics. I have several different designs available. Please see my other listings.
Redwork became popular in the late 1870s. It took the name from an embroidery thread known as Turkey Red. The manufacturing process for "Turkey red" was complex and a well-kept secret for decades. The complete "recipe" for the original dye is still a mystery. Although little girls often learned how to embroider in school, they practiced embroidery on "penny squares" provided by their mother. A square of white cotton with a stamped design cost a penny, as did the skein of red floss. Today we simply refer to these penny squares as Redwork. In the past Redwork designs were used on many items such as quilts, coverlets, dishtowels, laundry bags, splashers, bureau scarves, pillow covers, mantel covers and other household items.