Bargello

A few months ago I had never heard of “bargello” but it has been fun learning about it. “Bargello” is a quilting term that refers to a zigzag motif similar to a design found on some chairs in an old fortress (they call it a palace) in Florence, Italy. The Bargello Palace is now a museum, and in it you can find these chairs with the zigzag design in the seat and back coverings.

Some bargello designs are made with needlepoint, but quilters can also make a design that reflects the bargello style. Recently I went to a workshop to learn more about quilting a bargello.

The options are endless, but traditionally the colours are supposed to go from dark to light for that special effect. I did not go out shopping for well-matched colours, but used scraps of what I had. For learning how to do the process, I thought it would work well enough. Others in the workshop had much better colour matches and the effect was much more dramatic.

The process is basically this:

You lay out your strips of cloth using two sets of colours going from light to dark.

Sew the strips together. You even sew the last strip to the first one to make a tube.

Turn the  tube sideways and cut into strips again.

Lay them out in a zigzag design that you find pleasing, opening up the top seams for the full length of the strip again. You can see this on some of the samples of designs that other quilters came up with.

The strips will be sewn together and evened out at the top and bottom, then batting and backing and binding is added to finish the quilt.

The possibilities are endless.

31 thoughts on “Bargello

    • The reason for the tube (I’ve learned) is so you can rotate the colours until you get them located where you want before cutting it open, and that way you don’t have to cut off and waste all the extra fabric at the ends.

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  1. Wow. What a beautiful pattern one could achieve with this method. Love the color combinations in the photos. I would love to see what you will be making with this technique. Perhaps your next post will show us the finished product! 😀 Thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL I’ll have to wait and see how it turns out first before I promise a picture of the finished product. But it could be fun to do this with some specially thought out colours rather than the scraps grab bag.

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  2. My mother taught bargello needlepoint back in the 1960s and 1970s, and I learned from her. I have a beautiful bell pull that she did with several bargello patterns incorporated, and I still have some of her books. It’s great fun, although I preferred using other needlepoint stitches. I never have heard of the technique being incorporated into quilting. I assumed it strictly was used for tapestry/needlework.

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