Stitch of the Month
January 2008: Round Bargello

by Lois Kershner

Our 2008 stitch journey will be an exploration of stitches that create circle patterns. I call it Circles: Theme & Variations. The stitch for January is the Round Bargello, a line pattern stitch.

The movement of the four interlocking sides of this bargello line pattern can create the illusion of a circle. The charted stitch diagram below shows the stitch pattern of the completed circle. In this example, each side is illustrated in a different gray value so one side can be clearly distinguished from the others. All stitches go over five canvas threads. Each side has sixteen stitches.

Round Bargello: Pattern Over 5 Canvas Threads with 16 Stitches

Silk threads or those with sheen are a wonderful choice for the Round Bargello pattern since the reflection of light against the stitches changes as the straight stitches change direction. The Round Bargello below is stitched using five strands of Rainbow Gallery Splendor on 18 count canvas.

Round Bargello

You can stitch each circle before moving on to the next one, or select one side of the circle and stitch it across the total design area. Turn your canvas 90° if needed so that you do the stitch vertically. By this I mean that you take your stitch either toward you or away from you. The next chart shows multiple Round Bargello patterns with the circles placed side by side.

Stitch Sequence

Some canvas may show where the vertical and horizontal stitches meet. Therefore you may wish to choose canvas that compliments your thread color. You could also color the canvas with a permanent acrylic or fabric paint.

After all four sides of the Round Bargello are stitched, an unstitched diamond shape is created in the center of each circle. When several round bargello patterns are stitched side by side, a diamond shape also appears between the circles. This provides a lovely opportunity to fill these areas with different threads. In the next example the same thread is used for the round bargello pattern and circle center. A metallic thread is stitched between the circle shapes. Black for the circles with a metallic thread or beads in the diamond shapes creates a sophisticated look.

Fill Shapes

The blue monochromatic example below uses different thread colors for each side, as well as the for the circle centers and the shapes between the circles.

Different Threads

Various stitches can be used for the diamond fill shapes. You might consider using Basketweave, Straight or Slanted Gobelin, Rhodes, Smyrna Cross Eyelet Combination as shown in figure 5, or any other pattern you like. Modify the size of the stitch to cover all the exposed canvas. The following fill stitch patterns are charted for the size of the diamond shape of the Round Bargello line pattern described above.

Slanted Gobelin

Rhodes Diamond

Smyrna Cross Eyelet Combination

You will find the Round Bargello pattern charted with variations in both stitch length and number of stitches. The following chart shows a pattern with stitches going over four canvas threads and eleven stitches per side. The size of the circle changes as the stitch length and number of stitches vary.

Round Bargello: Pattern Over 4 Canvas Threads with 11 Stitches

Happy Stitching!

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