The Beginning of Bargello

Our guild has announced the December challenge, and it is BARGELLO!! The twist is that we are supposed to think back to March and April of 2020 and express our feelings in this quilt….through colors, designs, etc.

I have known about Bargello quilts for a long time but have never made one. But first, what is Bargello???

I heard the term MANY years ago when I was in the Needlepoint phase of my life. Yes, I have not ALWAYS been a quilter!!

Pieceworks Magazine said this…..

“The origin of the name bargello is cloaked in legend interwoven with threads of history. According to one story, during a time of hardship in the fourteenth century, a Hungarian noblewoman devised a stitching style for peasants to use on their embroideries, which consumed scarcely any wool on the back of the fabric. In fact, in 1383, Princess Jadwiga of Hungary (1374–1399) married into the Jagiellos, a Polish and Lithuanian ruling family. Her dowry contained numerous pieces embroidered with Hungarian point, and she taught the technique to the ladies of her court. Some of her needlework still exists, as do records of her work for the church and the crown. The technique came to be called by her husband’s name, Jagiello, which became bargello.”

Okay, that is how it got its name, but exactly what is it?

I refer you to the “bible” of embroidery stitches…..

This much-loved and well-used book now lives in my studio after many years of being thumbed thru by my Mom!!

These examples of Bargello appear….

Okay…enough history. Let’s get to the quilt-making!!

I want to design my own quilt for this challenge, but before I can do that, I need to understand what makes them tick. And, to understand, I need to make a few of them. So, I started with a basic design.

I picked 16 fabrics from my 2.5-inch scraps and laid them out in a pleasing order…..

Since I was using scraps the strips were not the same length so I picked the shortest piece and trimmed the others to match…..

I added number pins to the strips to make sure that I kept them in the correct order…..

This didn’t help me not to make a mistake but it did help me to recognize the mistake quickly and fix it before going further!!

I began sewing strips together, starting with numbers 1 and 2…..

After they were sewed…..

…..I pressed the seam allowance to the odd-numbered fabric.

I kept going with the various sets, always pressing to the odd fabric…..

This process didn’t take long and before I knew it, I only had one seam to go,,,,,

When the strip set was sewn and pressed, the back looked like this…..

….with each seam allowance ironed opposite to the previous one. This is important later on!!

The next step was to sew strip #1 and strip #16 together…..

….leaving me with a tube of fabric.

At this point, it was WAY past my bedtime so come back tomorrow and we will finish up this simple Bargello quilt!!

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