Friday, March 21, 2014

Bargello Basics, Part 2

This time we are going to concentrate on two areas:  following a linear pattern row to make an all-over design, and using straight stitches to create curved lines and shapes. We will start with a sample pattern sheet again, so you should have your materials at hand to practice the new stitches and patterns. I'm still going to be working on the “Mesas and Monuments” canvas and using it to illustrate techniques. In addition, we will revisit some bargello patterns from previous posts (May 1, 2013 and January 16, 2014.)
Part 2 Stitch Sampler Sheet
Part 2 Stitch Sampler Sheet



Look at the rows of turquoise stitching at the upper left. The top one shows short upright stitches over two threads of canvas. Moving from left to right, we skip one thread so that the second stitch is above the first. We continue until there are four stitches rising diagonally. Then we repeat the fourth stitch as the start of four stitches descending diagonally. This is a 2.1 step pattern. The second row is the same, except the fourth stitch at the bottom of the descending diagonal is also doubled still a 2.1 step pattern. In the third row, the stitch count is the same, but each stitch is over three threads of canvas This is a 3.1 step pattern. The fourth row is different in two ways:  each stitch covers four threads and two threads are skipped between each rising and descending stitch, except where the stitches are doubled. This is a 4.2 step pattern.

Diagonal Stitch Sample
Diagonal Stitch Sample
Any of these four rows would make the basis for an all-over pattern, but let's use the fourth one. The turquoise row is the primary pattern row. From there, I worked first downward, then upward, using three other colors of yarn. If I had continued downward, the next row would have been in turquoise again. Notice that the color order was reversed when I worked upward from the primary row. As the deep blue and aqua rows demonstrate, there are places where it is not possible to complete a pattern row. In such cases, I work as much of each stitch as I can. These are called compensation stitches and can be vital to a design, as we shall discover when we work on “fabulous four-ways”.

Simple Flame Stitch Sample
Simple Flame Stitch Sample
 The 4.2 step pattern is the basis for many bargello patterns and for many other pattern stitches (remember the brick stitch from Part 1?) Patterns with points or peaks formed by stitches belong to a family called “Florentine stitch” or “flame stitch”, names often loosely applied to bargello as a whole. This picture shows a pillow done in a similar if somewhat more complex pattern. Here the peaks or points represent evergreen trees in a northern forest rather than flames. The principle, however, is the same.

Evergreen Forest Bargello Pillow
Evergreen Forest Bargello Pillow

Arch Stitch Sample
Arch Stitch Sample
Now let's consider how we can make straight stitches form curved lines. Look at the red arches below at the lower left on the stitch sampler. These are all 4.2 step patterns. The only difference between them is the multiplication of certain stitches. First is a triple repeat of this sequence; single, single, double, triple, double, single, single. We can write this as 1,1,2,3,2,1,1. Below it is a double repeat of the sequence 1,2,2,3,2,2,1. See how the arches become broader? At the bottom is a single arch in the sequence 1,2,2,3,4,3,2,2,1. I repeated that arch in the lower center of the canvas. Then I turned the canvas upside-down and repeated the arch in dark blue directly below the red one. This made a medallion shape which I filled in with white and antique gold. Such a figure could easily be used in a repeat pattern over a large area, using compensation stitches between the medallions.

Ocean Waves Bargello Pillow Top
"Ocean Waves" Bargello Pillow Top
Further to the right, I stitched a taller, broader arch in the sequence 1,1,1,2,3,3,4,3,3,2,1,1,1 in red. Then I turned the canvas upside down and made an identical arch in dark blue. Together the two make a wave pattern. Adding singles to the pattern of each arch would have created higher “crests” and deeper “troughs” in the waves. Adding more and larger multiples to the waves would have made them wider and flatter. You can see how I used this technique in my “Ocean Waves” pillow top.

Aspen Bargello Pillow Top
"Aspen" Bargello Pillow Top
Now look at the tree shape at the upper right of the pattern sheet. Can you see how the “treetop” is made of a series of arches (sequence 2,2,4,6,4,2,2), with some stitches entirely missing or replaced by compensation stitches in the bottom two arches where the treetop narrows above the “trunk”? The picture shows how I used this technique in making the “Aspen” bargello pillow top, as well as how I fitted the tree motifs together to make an all-over pattern.

Finally, let's look at how I have incorporated the new techniques into the “Mesas and Monuments” picture.

Mesas and Monuments In Progress Collage
"Mesas and Monuments," In Progress

First I made an arch in the center of the foreground. This arch is a little more complicated than the ones I have shown you so far, but you could make a similar one with what you have learned. This arch is reminiscent of Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in nearby eastern Utah. For a more realistic rendition, see the latch hooked rug in my June 16, 2013 blog post.


Then I used peaks of varying heights to represent a distant mountain range in the background of the picture. These are made with a 4.1 step pattern. (I know that “purple mountains” are a cliché, but I determined from the outset that this piece would be like a poster stylized, symmetrical, with flat areas of color.)


Finally, I used gentle scallops in a 2.1 step pattern to indicate rolling foothills at the base of the mountains, then filled in voids with compensation stitches.


Now practice the new stitch patterns and try to invent some of your own. They're there, just waiting for you to discover them.

Happy experimenting,

Annake


 Creative Commons LicenseThis post by Annake's Garden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.