Redwork Embroidery Patterns and Redwork Embroidery Quilts
Let’s take a 1740 discovery, an 1920’s embroidery style, a 1950’s Retro Owl pattern, and today’s trends of adding establishments to our needle arts and see what we come up with.
Around 1850 in the United States the Redwork embroidery style began because of an amazing process that created a colorfast red dyed for cotton fibers. Colorfast means that the dye in the thread would not fade, wash out, or cause the dye to bleed onto the background fabric.
Today, Redwork is seeing a serge in popularity and has begun branching out from traditional, vintage, and antique patterns. My owl is worked, centered, on a 16″ square of muslin, which fits a 12″ frame and allows extra fabric to turn over the frame’s backboard. The owl pattern measures 9″ high x 8″ wide.
Tracing a Pattern There are several ways to transfer a pattern to a carving blank – carbon paper, graphite paper and pencil rubbing. All three products transfer a pattern to wood, but which you use is determines by the craft you are working.
Carbon paper Originally used to make multiple copies of a typed or written document, carbon paper comes in black or dark blue. Tracings made using this product have heavy, dark, bold lines. Carbon paper is perfect for transferring patterns for long-term projects, as the traced lines will not fade or rub off, even after many hours of carving work. However, carbon paper creates a traced line that can not be erased with an eraser, and often can not be removed with fine sandpaper. I use carbon paper with my wood carvings, but never with pyrography.
Graphite paper This paper is lightweight with a waxed graphite coating on one side, and comes in both pale gray and white. When tracing a pattern, the graphite side is placed against the wood, resulting in a tracing with medium-gray colored lines. Graphite paper is available in sheets as small 8 1/2″ x 11” (216 x 279mm) and as large as 48” x 96” (1219 x 2438mm), and also comes in rolls several yards long. Graphite paper can be used several times, so keep previously used pieces for later tracings. This product works well for both carving and wood burning.
Pencil Rubbing To use the pencil rubbing method for transferring a pattern, rub a soft #2 to #6 pencil over the back of your pattern paper. The higher the number of your pencil, the darker or blacker the rubbing will be. Then, place the pattern face up on your carving blank and begin tracing it. As you trace along the pattern lines, a thin, light gray coating of pencil will be left on the wood blank. Pencil rubbing lines can be erased using a white artist’s eraser, making it an excellent method for transferring patterns for carvings that will include some pyrography work. This is my favorite form of tracing as it is so easily removed after your pyrography or carving work is done.
Simple steps for tracing a pattern Tracing a pattern onto your carving blank is an important step; you want to make sure you center the pattern on the wood. Follow these steps to trace a pattern using graphite paper.
1 Gather your supplies. To transfer a pattern to your wood blank, you will need a copy of the pattern, carbon paper, an ink pen, a ruler, a T-square, and tape.
2 Mark the center of the blank. Using your ruler and T-square, mark the center of the carving blank using a horizontal center line and a vertical center line
3 Align the pattern with the center lines. Fold the copy of the pattern into quarters. Place the pattern on the blank, aligning the fold lines in the paper with the center lines drawn on the blank. Tape the pattern into place .
4 Adjust the pattern as needed to fit the shape of the wood. For our sample tracing the board has a curved top that affects the placement of the pattern. By sliding the design down along the vertical line the square pattern is now centered to the square area of the plaque.
5 Place the carbon paper, and trace. Mark any adjustments necessary on your pattern. Slide the carbon paper in place under the pattern paper, and trace along the outside lines of your grouped elements. Check your tracing before you remove the pattern and carbon paper to ensure you have transferred all the necessary pattern lines .
6 Create a border if desired. If you like, you can use a compass to create an outside border or margin line around the pattern .
7 Add in the details as you carve. As you progress through the carving stages, cut small pieces of your original pattern paper, secure them to your wood blank, and trace the fine line details to that roughly cut areas.
8 Print several copies of your pattern. As you work you will often find that your carving will cut away some areas of the traced pattern or that your burned shading will obscure some areas of your traced line. You can cut small sections of your extra pattern out from the larger design and spot trace as needed.
Altered Art is the fun of taking an item as an old book and re-purposing it as the base for your craft arts. The sample to the right is a pen and ink, pencil, and colored pencil drawing worked on the page of an old law dictionary.
A second interruption of altered art is when we cross-craft by combining multiple crafting skills to create a unique work. In this sample a relief carving becomes the base for decoupage, pen and ink designs, and even gold and copper gilding.
In depth, step-by-step, how to wood carve your own unique Chess Set.
Download your free wood carving pattern package on the project page!
This one is perfect for the brand new beginning carver to walk through the simple cutting steps. For you seasoned whittlers the Tiki theme is great for innovation, experimentation, and creating your own unique chess pieces. Each piece has taken me about one evening’s session to create.
So get your tool kit out. You will need a bench knife, 3/8″ round gouge, 1/8″ round gouge, and your favorite v-gouge. Bring your carving glove, thumb guard, a compass and pencil, a little sandpaper, a set of rifflers, and, of course, your strop and rouging compound.
The set is worked on 1 1/4″ square by 3″ basswood and 1 1/4″ square by 4″ basswood blocks. The patterns can easily be re-sized to fit other square dimensions and these Tiki’s would make great cane toppers or walking stick tops.