BQL Bargello

Years ago, when I was involved in the “British Quilt List” monthly challenge, I made a VERY simple bargello quilt to honor our Nation’s birth!!

Since the quilt could only be a 12-inch square, that didn’t leave much space for manipulation!!

I loved picking the fabrics for this quilt and am especially happy with the “fireworks” that look like they are coming out of some firecrackers…..

It was a fun quilt made for the perfect occasion!!!

Do you struggle to decide what to quilt in your blocks? If so, check out my FREE series…..

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Straight Strip Sets….again!!!

Two weeks ago I posted a blog story and Youtube video about how I sew and iron my strip sets to keep them completely straight……

A few days ago I was scrolling thru some YouTube videos and came upon this one from Deb Tucker. She goes even further in the quest for straight seams…..

I really like Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Designs. She has some fantastic rulers and techniques!! You might check out her website for more!

In this blog, I post DAILY stories about creativity, techniques, tools of the trade, and lots more about the wonderful art of quilting. If you are enjoying these posts, please subscribe to be notified of each new blog as it becomes available.

Bargello building…

Yesterday I talked about the design for my “Covid Bargello” guild challenge.

Today, let’s cut the strata into strips and start piecing!!!

When they cut strips, some people sew the strata into a tube, but I decided instead to simply fold it a couple of times and cut the strips that way…..

I had to think about this a bit since most Bargello quilts wrap around from the top to the bottom and I didn’t want any black at the top or yellow at the bottom.

So, I cut each strip and laid it out as I went. That way I could judge how many steps I could go and still be able to trim a straight edge along the top and bottom.

That sentence probably didn’t make a lot of sense, so let me show you instead…..

I could see that I had a lot of black fabrics to play with. I had plenty of room to trim and still have plenty of black showing.

The same was NOT true of the yellow. In my current configuration, I was going to lose most of the yellow floral and THAT was my favorite part of the quilt!!

So, I went back in and started adding another yellow strip to the top of each of the bargello strips…..

Yes, it was painful and YES, it would have been better if I had made this discovery BEFORE I finished the strata…..

But, there you have it.

I finished cutting everything and got all of the piecing done. Now I realized that it needed something else at the top and what would be better than FLOWERS?

I drew a few out just to see if I liked them……

And then looked for flower patterns to use…..

Next, I had so much fun finding my favorite colors and making nine flowers to add to the top…..

As a final touch, I turned two of the strips upside down and added them to the sides to “border the quilt…..

I truly enjoyed this design process and am happy with the top.

Come back on Sunday and we will get it quilted!!

In this blog, I post DAILY stories about creativity, techniques, tools of the trade, and lots more about the wonderful art of quilting. If you are enjoying these posts, please subscribe to be notified of each new blog as it becomes available.

COVID Bargello

On Tuesday, I talked about how to sew and iron strips for use in a bargello quilt.

Today I want to backtrack and tell you about the design process for this quilt!!

My guild issued a challenge back in June for a Bargello quilt…..easy enough!! BUT, we had to make it remembering our feelings in March of 2020… remember those day days don’t you?

As I thought back, I remembered the feelings of inadequacy as I tried to help my clients figure out how to keep their businesses open. I was worried for them, my kids and their jobs, and my immuno-compromised husband!!


I sat down with a drawing pad and started planning!! My original idea was to make a bunch of small bargello pieces and have them mixed together in one quilt…..

Then I thought about making one with only black, grey, white, and lime (puke) green…..

….or maybe make one and cut it up into pieces…..

The problem was this…..

Years ago I made a challenge quilt based on a “polka dot theme”. Since it kept being called the “poke-a-dot” challenge, I made this quilt……

“Pokka Dot….Win a Prize”

While it was a fun quilt, it has never hung on a wall. It just sits in my quilt closet!!

I didn’t want that to happen with this quilt. I wanted something that I could proudly hang on the wall and enjoy!!!

So it was back to the drawing board.

I thought back to the idea of using black fabrics and a small trickle of inspiration started to happen.

What if I start with black fabrics, and slowly move into bright colors??

I pulled out my 2.5-inch black strips…..

…..and started playing!!!

Maybe something like this……

….or maybe this…..

Before I started sewing, I decided that the bottom black fabric needed to be a thicker strip and I also wanted a LOT of the yellow/orange floral at the top.

The final strata looked like this…..

I saw that the black fabrics at the bottom were reminiscent of the early months of Covid. Then there was a happier time when the vaccine came out, but the Corona variant moved us back to black!! Then, earlier this year things started to get brighter……groups began meeting again, masks were removed and life started to return to normal. Now it is almost as if Covid didn’t happen!!!

So, the Strata is prepared……come back tomorrow for the slicing and sewing!!

More Bargello play

Yesterday I wrote about a new Bargello play time and left you with the top laid out and ready to piece…..

In the light of the new day, it was time to start piecing it together!!

The first step was to piece the two sections together…..

… form one long strip and then to put two strips together…..

This is where I ran into a small problem!!

As I had pieced the two strata, I had been careful to have the seams pressed to alternating sides. If I were sewing this like a normal bargello, that would have meant that each seam would nest beautifully.

But, since I was messing with the order of the strips I kept coming upon intersections where the two seams were going in the same direction…..

I didn’t like that so I carefully folded back the top seam…..

….and sewed it in place…..

When I started ironing the long seam, I spritzed the top fabric with water….

…and re-ironed the seams so that they fell in the correct direction….

The other issue that I encountered was trying to figure out which of the seams I needed un-sew so that I could add it to the top of the strip!!

I spent a lot of time referring to my photo and then stuck a pin in at the bottom of the piece where the seam needed to be ripped out…..

That simple solution made the piecing a lot easier!!

In no time I had the bargello top finished……

It was time to add borders but those had to wait until I was in my studio and could view my ENTIRE stash!!!

In the end, I added two borders…..a purple one to pull out some of the purple hues in the piece and a green one to frame it…..

I am pleased with this second bargello!!

BUT… it is time to start thinking about the Bargello Challenge that is due in December. How am I going to make a Bargello quilt that reflects my feelings during the COVID mania??

I had better start thinking!!!