Brigid’s Octomino in Four Way Bargello

Today I finally finished stitching my latest project. I wanted to do another Free-from bargello piece, but with a different design in the centre. For this part I returned to one of my favourites – Brigid’s octomino. The centre is thus is a composition with eight octominos, which of course together make up a larger octomino.  For the rest of the composition I gave up on a free form pattern and instead I used a four way bargello design. Here is the finished piece.IMG_5709

The octominos are stitched in cotton, with one strand of Caron watercolours 203 – molten lava. A simple diagonal stitch was used to make the little squares. Later on I decided to add in a single octomino on each diagonal line to break up the bargello background a bit.

The Caron watercolour is a variegated thread and my original idea was to use three colours, including a red in the bargello background, but the red dominated too much, so I ended up with just two colours for the background – purple and a pale yellow.

I used two strands of a silk thread for the bargello pattern. They are from the Debbie Bliss luxury silk range. Meant for knitting, the silk is lovely and soft and no doubt better used for knitting.  Nevertheless I like it fine for embroidery. The pattern is from the book Four Way Bargello by Dorothy Kaestner. In the book a variety of shades are used, as is normal with bargello. Here I adapted the pattern for just two colours. I needed a restricted colour range so as not to take away from the octominos.

The finished piece is almost a square – 244mmX254mm, and took me 44 hours of stitching to complete. Slow work indeed. Not sure what to do with it! Possibly a cushion cover? For my next project I am going for something a bit smaller in blackwork. Still working on the composition.




More Free form bargello

Every so often I opt for a free form bargello design. So instead of repeating patterns I just use a single vertical stitch. The design comes from the variation in the shapes which make up the composition. In this case I was inspired by a painting we saw in the Zeppelin museum in Friedrichshafen last year. Unfortunately I did not note the name of the artist. Anyway back home I sketched my own variation which is not a million miles away from taking a line for a walk. Here is the finished piece.IMG_5247

The wandering line is a whipped stem stitch. For this I used two strands of DMC satin thread in yellow. The rest of the piece is the bargello bit and is made up of a vertical stitch over six intersections. I used Fine d’aubusson wool for this. Made by the same company which manufactures soie d’Alger silk. It is a very fine wool and I used three strands for the work. I wanted to as near as possible completely cover the canvass, which is an 18ct aida.

For this composition I used a restricted colour range. The bulk of the canvass is covered with two shades of blue and two shades of violet. I used the enclosed sections to provide a bright contrast. In this case a red, which the French company call azalea.

Though relatively simple to stitch, at least once the outlines have been stitched, this is slow work. I spent at least 36 hours just stitching the piece.  I am quite pleased with the result, which now lies ensconced in an IKEA frame.

Bargello à Six (No 3)

Another Bargello project completed. This is now the third piece I have stitched with six different bargello patterns. The previous two were stitched in greens and pinks. You can see them here. For this latest version I chose a colour scheme based on lavender and violet. Here it is.IMG_4733

The fabric is my usual 18ct Aida in green. For this piece I used three strands of cotton, mostly Anchor. Each square is approximately 10cmx10cm.  Some of the patterns are repeats from the previous compositions, while some are new.  As usual with almost all of my work, the finished piece is not quite squared off. Still, adds to the charm, at least that is my story, and I am sticking to it!

The dimensions of the piece were chosen to fit into an IKEA frame. The photo above shows the embroidery in the mount. Now that I have complete three versions of this composition I may try a slight variation. Instead of six different patterns all stitched in the same colour scheme, I will go for the same pattern, but stitched in different colours. Happy stitching!

More Bargello

I have just finished another Bargello piece. This time it was repeat of a previous work, though in different colours and with different patterns. Here is the latest version.IMG_1620

It features a couple of wavy lines which almost, but not quite overlap. These lines were stitched with three strands in dark green cotton. The trammed vertical and horizontal lines were stitched with all six strands of Rajmahal Silk/Rayon in peacock green. For the two Bargello patterns I used three strands of cotton threads. The two lighter shades are DMC, while the other three are from Anchor. The fabric is an 18ct Aida in a muted greyish green. I quite like this colour combination of plum and green.

The first version of this design was stitched in green and yellow. The Bargello patterns were in green, while the dividing lines were stitched in a bright yellow. This version I managed to put into a frame I found in a charity shop. I never got round to giving this piece a title. It is just an abstract composition. Here is the first version in its frame. Happy stitching.P1040651


Bargello Medley Finished

I have now completed the Bargello medley project I was working on. One of my larger projects, size wise. I really enjoyed stitching this one, even though it took me 70 hours of stitching to complete. In the end I decided to leave a small amount of the design unstitched. As the fabric is a fairly neutral grey, these unstitched bits do not stand out particularly. They kinda blend into the overall design. Here is the finished piece.

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Below is a bit more detail of the section with the unstitched bits.

Version 2

The piece is now off to get framed. As ever, not sure what happens with it then! I am well on with my current work, which is a project in crewel embroidery. I have tentatively entitled this one Thistles, as it features three thistly like shapes, along with lots of other very loosely plant like designs. Here is a view of one of the thistles with a bit of the stem like connecting thread.


An Optical Illusion?

I am making good progress with my Bargello medley project, though there was a pause while I was away in Switzerland. While showing the work to the stitching group, one of them suggested turning it upside down. On doing this the clear outline of a vase appeared on the right hand side. A bit of an optical illusion in a way, as I had nothing specific in mind when designing the work. Also the piece was meant to be shown the other way round. Now that I have discovered this hidden vase shape, I will keep it this way round.


In part the illusion may be due to the fact that the vase like shape is not fully stitched. When it is all complete it may look different again. However I have become quite attached to the way it looks with some of the fabric left unstitched. For some future projects I plan to include some unstitched bits in the design. Below are a couple of more detailed photos.



Bargello Sampler

For my current stitching project I have returned to one of my favourite forms of embroidery – Bargello. I was inspired to create this piece by a photo I found via pinterest. Entitled Bargello Fantasy, this was a medley of various Bargello patterns. So, suitably inspired I set about designing my own medley. The great thing about Bargello is that there are so many patterns to choose from, all of which can be varied in all sorts of ways. The finished piece will be 180mmX465mm. The fabric is 18ct Aida in a neutral light grey colour. I have outlined the rectangle with whipped back stitch using a perle thread in grey. This stitch was also used for the wavy line which divides the rectangle into two sections. The Bargello patterns will be stitched primarily with two strands of DMC cotton in cornflower blues, blue violets and violets, with a couple of Rajmahal Artsilk threads to liven things up. For one of the patterns I have also used a small amount of satin thread in gold. Here is what it looks like at the moment.IMG_0683The composition is made up of eight largish sections, each with its own Bargello pattern. Some of these also feature a tiny example of another Bargello pattern, just to break up the large sections a bit. I am quite taken with this idea of introducing a bit of another pattern into a larger section. In one case, an elongated diamond, I have split this into two mini sections. You can just about make this out on the section in violets, one up from the bottom on the left. I plan to use this idea of breaking up Bargello patterns in some future project.

As you can see I have been working on a bit of each pattern in turn. This adds a bit of variety to the work and has the additional benefit of seeing the overall composition come to life step by step. There is still a long way to go as this project will keep me busy for some time yet.

From time to time to avoid too much of a good thing I return to my Blackwork study. This was the design from the introductory course in Blackwork which I attended way back at the end of January. Progress with this is somewhat intermittent, but I am more than halfway there. Below is the current state of play.  Happy stitching to one and all.IMG_0684