The Bargello Stitch, also called the Florentine Stitch and the Flame Stitch, is a simple stitch to sew, but is used in a vast array of color patterns that have been used for centuries on chair seats, pillows, etc.
Simply enough, the basic Bargello Stitch is nothing more than a Gobelin Stitch covering 4 canvas threads. The stitching order is as shown in the diagram below. Usually, two stitches either line up (as in stitches 1-2 and 3-4) or they are staggered by two canvas threads (as in 5-6 and 7-8).
The beauty of the Bargello Stitch is in the many gorgeous patterns that can be stitched with it. Typically, a Bargello pattern involves repeating a line of clustered stitches in graduating shades of the same color. For example, this pattern starts with 4 clusters of 3 stitches in light yellow. The light blue is also stitched in clusters of 3, except at the ends, where the cluster has only 2 stitches. The medium blue follows the light blue pattern, adding single stitches at the ends. The dark blue follows the medium blue, with single stitches at the ends. The gradually reduced clusters give the pattern a circular look. The dark and light pink thread fills in the space between the circles as shown.
This pattern makes a lovely rainbow of spiral bands, delineated with a band of black. The clusters follow the pattern 6 x 1, 3 x 2, 2 x 3, 1 x 4, 2 x 3, 3 x 2, 6 x 1 (i.e. 6 clusters of 1 stitch each, 3 clusters of 2 stitches, etc.)
This pattern is stitched in 6 tones of the same color. The stitching folows the pattern :
Dome : 6x1, 2x2, 1x3, 1x4, 1x5, 1x6, (reverse direction) 1x5, 1x4, 1x3, 2x2, 7x1
Spire : (reverse) 3x1, (reverse) 5x1, (reverse) 5x1, (reverse) 3x1
Many bargello patterns use a combination of long and short vertical stitches to make complicated wave-like patterns, such as this one.
There are hundreds of Bargello patterns that have been used for centuries, only a few of which are shown here. I highly recommend checking a pattern book out of the library and exploring some of the immense possibilities of this stitch.
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