Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Hungarian Redwork Runner – A Little Progress


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It’s been a while since we last glimpsed this red-on-white, never-ending, ever-present, long-neglected project of mine – the Hungarian Redwork Runner.

It’s called the Hungarian Redwork Runner not because it’s technically Hungarian redwork. It’s a Hungarian design, worked entirely in red, with two stitches only: the chain stitch and the Hungarian braided chain stitch.

Hungarian Redwork Embroidery Project

If this is the first time you’ve encountered this project here on Needle ‘n Thread, you’ll find all the background information on it, including the pattern and variations to the pattern, under the Hungarian Redwork Runner Index.

Hungarian Redwork Embroidery Project

A little bit of ready info for you, though: I’m using two types of thread – coton a broder #25 and pearl cotton #8, both DMC threads, in color 321. All the chain stitching in the piece is worked with the coton a broder, and all the Hungarian braided chain stitch is worked with pearl cotton.

The last time we visited the project for a progress report, I had finished exactly half of the runner, and, using Photoshop, I created a mirrored image to give you an idea of what the finished runner would look like.

Hungarian Redwork Embroidery Project

I mentioned earlier, too, that I tried the tambour hook for the chain stitch elements on the project, to see if I could speed up the chain stitching. Unfortunately, the difference in tension and the look of the chain stitch with the tambour hook made it impossible to take that shortcut.

Hungarian Redwork Embroidery Project

But one discovery since then was that the reverse chain stitch, which we covered yesterday, works up more quickly than the regular chain stitch, but poses no problem when it comes to a noticeable difference in look or tension.

There’s still quite a bit of work to do on the runner.

It’s become my “15 Minutes” project and my “grab and go” project. Whenever I have a chance to work on it for 15 minutes or so, I do. And if I need a project to take with me when traveling or when going somewhere that a wait will ensue, I grab it. So it doesn’t get a lot of attention, but a little bit here and there will eventually get it finished.

You can read more about the Hungarian Redwork Runner in the Index for this project. You can also find more Hungarian embroidery designs here on Needle ‘n Thread.


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(9) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    I love my “15 minutes” I cannot tell you how many art projects I use to get done this way when my kids were little. I had one corner of my kitchen counter set aside for my crafts. It was the best place to keep an eye on my kids do their homework, a short hop from my fixing meals or doing laundry. When I look back over the years of finished work I am amazed I got so much accomplished in just 15 minute increments.


  2. Yes, I remember when you tried tambour work and it didn’t work out so well. But you know what they say, slow and steady wins the race!
    You said that one discovery you’ve made is that reverse RUNNING stitch works more quickly than regular CHAIN stitch. I thought that what you covered yesterday was about reverse CHAIN stitch. Am I misunderstanding you?

    Sarah 🙂

    1. No, no – that was a mistake. I was thinking reverse chain, and I typed reverse running. It’s fixed now on the site, but unfortunately, the daily email’s already gone out! :-/

  3. Dear Mary

    It’s good to see a progress report on the runner it looks lovely I do love the completed photoshop picture, it will look great when it’s finished. It’s a big project but Slowly, slowly and hopefully you will finish the project. You have already completed quite a bit and I love design and the colour of the thread. Thanks for sharing your progress on the Hungarian Redwork runner.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  4. Hi, Mary,

    Thank you for the peek at your lovely Hungarian Redwork Runner. I love the fresh look of the red and white. It’s interesting to hear that reverse chain stitch works up faster than regular chain stitch – another tidbit of information to tuck away.

    Wishing you happy progress,

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