Monday, December 15, 2008

4-Way Bargello: A Preview and Tutorial!

This is just a preview and some background for a project I have planned for later - maybe next week. The 4-way Bargello has fascinated me since I first saw Dorothy Kaestner's book in about 1974. The possibilities and versatility of this method are almost limitless, and can even be used to create round pieces - as ornaments, lids for round jewel cases (my illustrations, made by Inge Wooley of Creative Needle), or even glittering Kissing Balls.

Bargello is a type of needlework made on canvas with upright stitches - the name originates from some chairs seen in the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy. (These have the "flame stitch" pattern, which is a sharp, zig-zag pattern as opposed to the curved motifs). The term "Florentine" work is also applied to this type of needlepoint, as the Bargello Palace is in Florence. I strongly suggest, as it is very interesting, that you "Google" four-way Bargello, and click on the link for the Wikipedia, which is the source for these swatches demonstrating the difference between flame stitch and the curved motifs. Lots to learn there!

Anyway, It's close to Christmas/Hanukkah, and I thought maybe a very small project to play with might be relaxing while taking a break from lots of activity. The 4-way bargello is actually a "mirror image" thing, and looks a bit Kaleidoscopic, as it mirrors in 8 sections. I'm showing the very small 3 1/4" circle (on 18 mesh) for starters to play and practice. It would be a bit larger on 13 mesh. Notice that it is drawn with an EVEN number of stitches at the top, bottom, and sides, as the stitches are made in the grooves between the threads, being upright. The center is marked BETWEEN the threads, and then the diagonals are marked with dots in all four directions.

The first stitch should be made in the center - not necessarily at the center of the ornament, but somewhere between the top and the center if you wish. Then it's a matter of repeating to the left of the vertical center the same stitches - and turning at the diagonals for the mitering. You can play with threads and colors, and create your own patterns by doing this - surprising results!!

The larger round ornament is one I made from my favorite 4 1/2" circle - and was already on an even count, as I had added the top element, and intended to make that with upright stitches in Kreinik metallic ribbon. (This shape is from my collection of Traditional Ornaments, available on my web page) If you are new to this blog, there is an earlier tutorial on drawing circles of any size, and also the instructions for the "medley of white" ornament, on which you can see that the circle was outlined BEFORE stitching the bargello. This confines the area and makes the outline neat.

I intend to offer individual 4-way Bargello ornaments here later, but meanwhile, study these beauties of Inge's and see how they are done. The last two pictures illustrate what happens by just turning the thing 45 degrees for a different look!!

No comments:

Post a Comment