The women in the last class I taught asked for another project. I thought they might be interested in bargello piecing. It looks complicated, but it’s another of those techniques where you sew strips together to set up a colour palette, then recut and re-sew to create some kind of a pieced pattern.
Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, which have a “flame stitch” pattern. Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas; but bargello can also be created from fabric piecing.
A number of years ago I made a bargello quilted jacket:
The jacket was cut from 6 panels constructed from pieced strips – 2 fronts, 2 sleeves, 2 backs (joined in the centre). In this case the second cut was done so that there were two sets of strips on opposite diagonals creating the zigzag effect.
There are simpler ways to piece bargello. Today, I took nine 2″ strips cut from the width of fabric graduated in colour from pale to dark blue with a contrasting yellow/green. I sewed the nine strips together from light to dark, then added the contrast strip and sewed the first and last strips together to form a tube.
Next, I cut the tube into 11 strips of different width (1″ – 2 1/2″) and sewed them together to create the parabolic curve. I had enough fabric in the first sewn panel to make two blocks which I then stitched together in opposite directions to get the “diamond” in the panel above.
I started out by cutting two sets of 2″ strips – I will use the second set of strips to make two more bargello blocks to add to either end of the current piece to construct a table runner – the project I’m suggesting for a class.
I will need to take pictures as I construct the second two bargello blocks to record the steps in the process.
So far we’ve heard back from one person who is interested in doing the class. Hope there will be a few more.