Our first significant snowfall of the season has come. We now have about 5 inches of snow, making my yard look like a winter wonderland.
While I am not very fond of driving in the snow and I really don’t like the cold weather that comes with it, I do like how pretty the snow looks. The beauty of the snow comes just as I finish a table runner for my kitchen to use at Christmas time. I saw a lovely bargello runner a few years ago and decided that was what I wanted to make.
Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery that consists of upright flat stitches made to create motifs that depict motion. The name originates from a series of chairs in the Bargello palace in Florence, Italy, which have a “flame stitch” pattern. Traditional designs are very colorful and use many hues of the same color for a shading effects that creates the sense of movement.
A bargello quilt is one that is made of strips of fabric sewn together to create the movement similar to that seen in bargello embroidery. The technique looks difficult, but is actually quite easy. If you can sew a straight seam, you can do this! Even though there appears to be smany curves and shapes featured on the quilt, there is no curved piecing whatsoever.
All ranges of color are used, from light to dark. When choosing colors, there are many choices. A common option is a variety of shades in a single color family for a monochromatic quilt. Another common option is two complementary colors. That is why I decided to use this technique for my table runner – red and green are complementary colors and would work well for a bargello quilt.
Strips are cut at a specific width and sewn together lengthwise – I used 2″ strips of fabric that, when sewn, would finish to 1 1/2″ wide . The first and last strips are sewn together lengthwise forming a tube of strips with the seam allowances facing out.
The tube is then cut vertically (opposite of the direction that they were sewn) to make many narrow loops. For my table runner, the strips were cut in the following widths:
1/2″ 3/4″ 3/4″ 1″ 1 1/2″ 2″
These loops are then opened at the seam between different pieces of fabric and then sewn together.
To add the ornaments, I used my Bernina cutwork tool to cut and embroider different colors of fabric and thread. Some were simple circles, some slightly more complicated shapes with embroidery to depict decoration on the ornaments.
This was a fun project to make!