"Redwork" is the word for today. It refers to embroidered white or off-white linens and quilts in which red thread is used.
Why red? I really didn't know the answer to this until I did some research for this post. The answer is this: red dye became available around 1880 called "Turkey red," a colorfast dye developed in Turkey that wouldn't bleed onto lighter fabric when washed. It didn't fade much either, and that's why redwork items over 100 years old still look good today.
The redwork example below shows exceptional detail. Many redwork pieces are much simpler:
Photo Credit: Leni Wiener
A nice detail of a redwork quilt:
Photo Credit: Sharon's Antiques
Little 6 x 6 inch muslin squares with simple designs, called "penny squares" were sold to young girls for a penny so they could learn to embroider with redwork.
This quilt, circa 1900. was created from penny squares:
Photo Credit: What A Load A Scrap
Redwork was so popular in the U.S. that women were recruited as "stampers" to work from home for pay, stamping the designs on fabric for companies that sold redwork supplies.
As more colorfast colored embroidery thread became available, "bluework" and "blackwork" was possible, but never caught fire like redwork, which waned in popularity as multicolored embroidery designs were in fashion in the twentieth century.
If you want to try some authentic looking redwork today, DMC floss in color number 321 is the most used color for redwork, according to my research.