I always thought bargello quilts looked pretty cool, but were tedious to make and hardly worth the effort. My friend, Carolyn, though, insists that they are addicting–and she makes lovely bargellos (lots of them!). So when she held a free two-day workshop through our guild, I decided to give it a shot and scratch a bargello quilt off the ol’ quilty bucket list.
The quilt she chose for us to make is a fairly simple and straightforward selection from More Twist and Turn Bargello Quilts by Eileen Wright.
I knew right away I didn’t want to stick to only batiks, and I thought of doing it entirely in grayscale. Then, as I drove to Needles & Pins in Mullica Hill, NJ, I thought I should add a pop of color. So I wandered around the store until I found a fabric that “spoke” to me, and I based the whole selection of 20 fabrics around it (it’s the fifth one from the top in the photo below). I took a photo of the fabrics in the order I wanted, then digitally converted it to black and white to make sure I got the gradation right.
Carolyn strongly recommended the use of a “fabric map” to keep everything straight, so making my own chart on cardstock was my next step after using a Studio cutter to cut the 2 1/2″ strips.
I used the map for literally every step of the process until the entire top was pieced.
I also created a little tag for each column with a number and its width, and kept at least two columns labeled on every section until the entire top was pieced.
I got on a roll, and finished the top after only a couple of days. I decided to keep the quilting simple by just following the flow of the bargello and stitching corner to corner of each piece. I used matching Aurifil thread EXCEPT for a few fabrics where I played with some Glitter from Superior Threads. I followed the manufacturer’s recommendations for Glitter (vertical spool, #90/14 topstitch needle, top tension set to 1.0) and had no problems at all. I added a solid black binding and BOOM! BARGELLO! (Which, come to think of it, might end up being its name.)
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