Four Way Bargello

After my recent foray into Blackwork in red on green, I decided to indulge myself in something a bit more familiar. Bargello patterns have always fascinated me and I return to them again and again. This time it was to try a new form of Bargello – Four Way Bargello. I have come across this work before, but earlier in the year, Jane, our tutor in the embroidery group I attend, knowing of my love for Bargello, gave me a second hand copy of a book dedicated to Four Way Bargello. It is a pretty old book, published in 1983, as a revised edition of the original which dates from 1974. The book is by Dorothy Kaestner.

The design principle for Four Way Bargello is quite simple. The canvass is divided into four triangles via two diagonal lines which intersect in the centre. It works best as a square. Each triangle is filled with the same pattern, which turns 90º as you move round. The result is that two of the triangles are stitched with vertical stitches and the other two with horizontal stitches. I have now completed two of these designs, which you can see below.IMG_0785 IMG_0794

Both are based on patterns in the book. The fabric in each case is an 18ct Aida in light green. The threads are all Anchor cotton, which is unusual for me, as I always buy DMC threads. In this case the threads are a gift from a work colleague of Kathleen. Her mother, who was a keen embroiderer, had recently died and left quite a stash of threads, mainly Anchor cotton. Knowing of my interest in embroidery, this stash was passed on to me. So I am now using them up as fast as I can.

Anchor threads to not come with names, just numbers, but my new stash includes purples, pinks, greens and blues. For the first of my efforts I stuck to purples with a touch of red and cream. This was stitched with two strands of the cotton. The second piece was mainly done in pinks and this time I used three strands of the thread.

In both cases the pieces were sized to fit into small square box frames from IKEA. I have been keen to try out this form of Bargello and I enjoyed the work and the results. I will definitely be stitching more Four Way Bargello.


3 thoughts on “Four Way Bargello

  1. Hi Alister – hope all is well. Very nicely done. I bet it’s nice when someone’s birthday or other celebrations come up and you can add your works to the presents as something hand-made and therefore unique.
    – Ruta

  2. Thanks Ruta, funnily enough both of these pieces are earmarked for presents. I have so many bits and pieces just cluttering up our “spare” room that I will follow your advice and start giving more of them away as gifts. If you are ever back in Dundee you can select one for yourself.

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