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.
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.
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.
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!
I have just finished the bargello medley project. I thought it might take me to Christmas to finish, but it has taken a few days longer. The stitching is finished but the whole thing has been, as often with me, pulled out of shape. A bit of stretching coming up!
The fabric is 18ct aida in pale green and three strands of DMC cotton was used throughout. The central section is partly outlined with a whipped stem stich in cream. This part is stitched in copper colours with blue and green for the inserts. Florentine Signets is the name that Pauline Fischer and Anabel Lasker give to this pattern in their book Bargello Magic. The version here is a slight adaptation. I originally wanted to just use blues and greens for the rest of the piece, but added a bit of grey to avoid too much blue and green together. Other than the Florentine Signets, the other patterns are all used twice. The finished piece is 290mmx205mm.
I have now acquired my own personal stamp and you can just about make out my name on the lower part of the right hand side. The stamp works quite well on embroidery work where there is some unstitched fabric, as in crewel work or most blackwork. Not so good for bargello though, where all of the fabric is covered in stitches. Here I had to try and stitch around the name, which is a bit awkward. Still nothing ventured, nothing gained!
A few days off stitching then back to work in the New Year. Happy New Year and happy stitching to one and all!
My latest embroidery project was another Bargello medley. This time around the challenge was to use only, or almost only, two colours. I decided on this as last year while visiting Meiringen in Switzerland I bought a couple of bundles of thread. There was an outdoor market in the town and one of the stalls had a lovely range of threads and fabrics. Which I found irresistible, surprise, surprise! The two I bought were both Swiss made silk threads which look a bit like a perle cotton. One was made with the addition of a small amount of seaweed. Anyway, as usual they have lain around in a box for over a year, so it was time to use them or lose them!
This time I went for a restricted Bargello medley. To make the most of these particular threads I decided to make them the focus of the colour range. I added a little pattern in two shades of blue from the Au ver à Soie range, just to add a bit of variety.
The fabric is a 16ct Aida and the overall size is 17cm x 12cm, chosen to fit into an IKEA frame. There are only four Bargello patterns in the piece, which I think works quite well, as does the dominance of just two colours. Happy stitching!
I have now finished my latest embroidery project. This started life with the thread – a lovely Louisa Harding yarn from the Amitola range. This is a variegated wool/silk mix. The colours go from brown through orange, purple on to pink. Though in this case only the first three colour ranges came into play. The photo above shows the brown and orange shades that make up the bulk of the piece. I had bought this yarn a year ago at a sale in a fabric shop in Pittenweem and it has lain around in a box as I figured out how to use it. The yarn is of course meant for knitting, but I liked the colours so much that I went ahead and bought it, with no idea of how I could use it in embroidery.
Finally a few weeks back I decided that enough was enough and I had better start using the yarn or just give it away to a knitter and put it out of its misery. I felt that some kind of crewel design would be the most appropriate way to use the thread. Though funnily enough the design I did end up with is based on a pattern from a Bargello book. This consists of four pomegranate motifs which combine to form a cymbidium orchid.
The fabric is a plain linen. The pomegranates are each stitched in block shading on the outer edges and for the inner edge I used a padded satin stitch. I reserved the darkest brown for the outline of the cymbidium, which I stitched with stem stitch. The outer circle is a heavy chain stitch. I have swithered as to leaving the piece as it is or whether to add some more stitches inside the circle. At the moment I like the simplicity of the composition as it stands. It also has a slight Celtic look about it which I like.
Currently I am working my way slowly on another Bargello medley. Though this time I have restricted myself to just two main colours. Not usual for Bargello patterns. I will need to wait for completion to see if it works or not. Happy stitching!
I have just complete another Free Form Bargello composition. This time the design is based on circles. For this I used an old fashioned compass. The centre is a complete circle, while the rest is made up of part circles. The combination of green and magenta is quite bold. Here is the finished piece.
The predominant colour is green in various shades. The other colour is shades of magenta. The surround is in two shades of white, combined, with a bit of green to tie in with the main colour. All the threads are Paternayan Persian wool. The circle patterns were stitched using all three strands of the wool, while the surround was stitched with only two strands, one of each of the two shades of white. I used two strands as an attempt to make the central area stand out a bit more. The fabric is an 11ct white interlock canvass.
This composition, like the previous one is part of my ongoing aim to use up my stash of Paternayan wool. Still have some left, so at least one more Free Form Bargello may be on the horizon.
Bargello embroidery is one of my favourite types of embroidery. I do a lot of projects using Bargello patterns. A particularly fun form of Bargello is 4 Way patterns. These combine vertical and horizontal stitches. I now have a good store of 4 Way patterns from the book on Four Way Bargello by Dorothy Kaestner. Recently I have completed two more designs from the book. In both cases I have made some slight adaptions to the designs in the book, as I want the finished pieces to fit into 12cmx12cm IKEA frames. The fabric in both cases is an 18ct Aida in light green. Most of the threads were Anchor cotton, though a few were DMC. In both patterns I used three strands. Below is the first design.
This is one of the few designs that comes with a title – Undulations. To fully appreciate the undulations the pattern needs to be much, much larger. But even with this small version you get an idea of how the pattern waves or undulates around. The pattern is also a bit unusual in that there are 12 different colours to be seen. Though as with many Bargello patterns, the differences in colour are often very slight. The main colours are violets, mauves and pinks. At some stage I will try this pattern in a much larger scale.
The second 4 Way pattern is more traditional and each of the four sections stands out quite clearly.
Like most of the patterns in the book, this one has no specific title. I went for a very simple colour scheme – greens with a touch of magenta for contrast. I used a very dark green to outline the pattern, medium greens for the transition and a very pale green for the rest. I am quite pleased with this pattern and will soon, I hope, repeat it with in blues with yellow, and turquoises with red.