Friday, April 22, 2016

An Eight-Way Bargello? Yes!

Four-way bargello "Autumn Explosion"
Framed four-way bargello "Autumn Explosion"
Is an 8-way bargello even possible? Of course. Before you began a 4-way design, you had to prepare your canvas. First, you had to make sure your canvas was square. Second, you had to find and mark the single square of canvas that was in the exact center. Third, you put in the horizontal and vertical center lines, dividing the canvas into four equal sections. Fourth, you put in the two diagonal lines from the corners of the canvas square through the center point. Now you had 8 sections! For those of you who don't have any experience with the 4-way designs, here are some past posts that you may want to study. I'm sure you will find them helpful. Just go to our Archive and look for these dates: May 11, 2014; July 20, 2014; September 29, 2014; and December 22, 2014.

Round Protractor and Center Guide
Round Protractor and Center Guide
Here are a couple of simple tools you can use to mark your canvas. The circular protractor can help you measure your lines for accuracy. Beginning at the top and moving clockwise, your lines should be at 0 degrees (or 360 degrees), 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 135 degrees, 180 degrees, 225 degrees, 270 degrees and 315 degrees, respectively. The little square of plastic canvas can be placed over the center square of your canvas to check the placement of the lines. You can make one of these yourself to use for future reference. Mark your canvas lightly with pencil in case you need to erase a line to correct it. Rub off any extra graphite with a tissue or cloth so that it doesn't tub off on your yarn. Tape the raw edges of your canvas. Decide which edge is the top and mark it N for north. Also Mark E, S, and W.

Four colors of yarn for 8-way project
Once you have you canvas marked, you can choose the colors of yarn for your design. Choose at least four colors. You will save time and effort if you have a separate tapestry needle for each color. Cut a piece of each of the four colors of yarn. Don't cut pieces more than 18 inches (46 cm.) long, because the yarn will start to fray from repeatedly being pulled through the canvas. Use a blunt-pointed tapestry with an eye that slips easily through the canvas.

Center stitch detail
Waste knot, stitch over 4 threads, stitch over 3 intersections, complete center
Make a waste knot in the end of your first strand of Color #1. Insert your needle from the top surface of the canvas, a couple of inches from the center. Pull the yarn through, leaving the knot on the surface. Bring your yarn up through the center square of canvas and point it along the line directly toward N. Skip four canvas threads and push the needle downward to make a stitch. Bring your yarn back underneath the canvas and up again through the center square. Repeat with stitches to E, S, and W, bringing the yarn back up through the center square each time. Now do the four diagonal stitches. Instead of skipping four threads each time, you will skip over three intersections (the angles where two sides of a square of canvas come together). Return to the center each time. After you have made all eight stitches, secure color #1 under the stitches on the back of the canvas and cut the yarn.

8-way Design, Stage 1
8-way Design, Stage 1
If you are a relative beginner, you may want to start color # 2 with a waste knot, as well. After that, you should be able to secure both ends of your yarn by weaving them under and around stitches on the back of your canvas. Once you have done several rounds, you can cut off the waste knots, thread the short ends of yarn in your needle, and secure them on the back of your work. Always start a new round at N. (It is easier to follow a pattern if you start each round at the same place.) Bring the needle with color #2 up in the same square of canvas where the first stitch with #1 ended. Work your way clockwise around the center, checking the diagonal stitches to make sure the ones on each side end in the same row of vertical squares. Secure #2 yarn on the back, and cut it off. Repeat the same stitches with #3 and #4. Now it is time to work backward toward the center of the design.

8-way Design, Stage 2
8-way Design, Stage 2
Start at the N line with color #4. Move your needle one square of canvas to the left of your starting stitch. Move it down 2 threads of canvas. Bring the needle up from the back and make a stitch downward over 4 threads. Move to the left again and down 2 threads. Make a second stitch over 4 threads. Move to the left a third time and down 2 threads and make a stitch exactly like the 2 you just did. Now move to the right of your original stitch and repeat those 3 stitches in reverse order. Be sure they begin and end in the same lines of canvas squares as the first 3. You have made 6 new stitches. Turn the canvas so that E is up and repeat the 6 stitches. Turn and repeat again at S and W. Secure color #4 and cut it. With color #3, begin again at N. Bring your needle up in the same square of mesh as the #4 stitch above. This time you will only have room to make 2 stitches to the left and 2 to the right (4 new stitches). Repeat all the way around. With color #2, start at N again. This time you will have room for only 1 stitch to the left and 1 to the right (2 new stitches). Don't do anything with color#1. You have made four complete points at N, E, S and W.

8-way Design, Stage 3
8-way Design, Stage 3
Next we will do the points along the diagonal lines. Turn your canvas so that the corner between N and E is up. With color #4, make a stitch to the left of your original stitch and down 1 intersection. This stitch will cover 3 intersections. Make 2 more stitches in this way to the left. The third one should end in the same square of mesh as the third #4 stitch from the completed N-E-S-W point. Make the 3 reversed stitches to the right, move on to the next diagonal and repeat. Use the same procedure to put in the 4 stitches in color #3 at each diagonal. Finally, fill in the 2 stitches in color #2 at each diagonal. You will see that the diagonal points seem longer and narrower than the first points. You may see some tiny places where the canvas is not covered. These will probably not be noticeable in the finished work. If they bother you, you can take tiny filling stitches, each across a single thread.

8-way Design, Halfway Finished
Halfway there!
Now you must make a decision about colors. You may want to continue repeating the first 4 colors in the same order. Or you may want to add additional colors, delaying the necessity to repeat colors. You may add as many colors as you like. I decided to use many colors, both dark and light, warm and cool. I did not repeat any of the colors in the design. This is what the project looked like when it was about halfway completed.

The work gets easier after the first four colors are put in. From this point on, we will work outward toward the borders. Just begin at N with each new color and follow the pattern, making two stitches meet in the same square of mesh where the N-E-S-W points and the diagonal points intersect. Remember that the stitches on the N-E-S-W points are each over 4 threads, while the stitches on the diagonal points are over 3 intersections. Start each new stitch in the same square of mesh as the completed stitch below it. The number of stitches on the sides of each point will increase by 1 in each consecutive row. You may want to continue the same pattern out to the edges of your canvas, making partial rounds where there is not enough space for complete ones. Or you may wish to stop while you have a complete “starburst” design and finish the rest of the canvas in a solid color either continuing with the straight stitches or changing over to tent stitch for the background. Each of the three techniques will give you a different design at completion. I decided to end the “starburst” design about half a dozen squares of mesh from the nearest edge of the canvas. I made the choice of background color based on the color of the frame I intended to use, and decided to work the background inward from the four corners in tent stitch (specifically basketweave).

Finished 8-way design with tent stitched background
Finished 8-way design with tent stitched background
If you enjoy this pattern, you will be happy to know that I'm working on a 6-way (more difficult) design which probably will be worked in a circle.







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