It's a bargello thing

     Last June, at the TNNA Needlearts Convention in Columbus, I took a beginning bargello class with June McKnight. What a wonderful teacher! The idea was to learn the basics of bargello so I could help people who came in the shop and wanted to do bargello. Well, I learned the basics but that's as far as it got, my time limitations being what they are.
     Later in the summer, I received an order of hand-painted canvases from the show that included a fun small piece of three chili peppers. The distributor sent me two instead of just the one I ordered, so I took this as a sign that I was to work the second one up as a model. As I pondered how to go about it (I'm not a traditional needlepointer, having had unsatisfying encounters with hand-painted canvas), it occurred to me that bargello might just be the perfect way to approach the peppers themselves. I picked a Caron Collection Waterlilies color that said "chili pepper" to me, then turned to Ms. McKnight's wonderful new book, "The Best Bargello Book," to search for a pattern that wasn't too advanced but would achieve the dimensional effect I was looking for.
     I found one that looked promising, then proceeded to tweak it on a doodle cloth. It had to be proportional to the size of the peppers, which I found wasn't easy to perfect. But I finally found what appeared to work. And voila! I became a bargello fan. It's so much fun to stitch. As a cross-stitcher, I find the quickness of bargello stitching very satisfying. It's almost like instant gratification, but it does take more than a few minutes. Anyway, I was very pleased with the result and have received many compliments on this MIP, because of course, I've never gotten around to doing the background after completing the peppers.
    I think I "finished" this sometime in early fall, right about the time that my sisters and I were making pilgrimages to our parents' home to divvy up the contents in preparation for selling it. My father was living with one of them here in Virginia, and there was no chance of his ever going back there to live. Among the furnishings were a number of small Victorian and similar side chairs. You know the type, with a small upholstered back and seat meant more for decoration than actual seating. The one I chose, ended up with, has an old-fashioned needlepoint design along with a matching footstool.
    It fits in nicely in my guest room, which has my grandmother's antique bed and dresser. It's not the same style, but it works. (The room is sort of a reconstruction of the guest room in my parents' house. I had planned to move into this downstairs room and make the upstairs bedroom the guest room, but now that it's all in place, I don't know. It's kind of creepy.) Anyway, the footstool, which did have a lot of use, needs to be reupholstered. So I've decided to design a bargello piece for it. If it works out, then I'll adapt the design for the chair. I've got a number of books in the shop that I can use as references and resources in coming up with and executing it.
     I guess I'll find out how hard it can be, won't I?


  1. Love the chili peppers! They look so real, you could almost eat them! And I adore that chair and footstool!

    Linda in Va

  2. Okay, I'm completely mystified by what bargello actually is. God, I have SO much to learn! I don't even know the different types of needle arts.

    However, I am seeing a recurring theme in this blog... "I didn't realize how hard it would be." Amen.

    Susan in San Francisco

  3. I'm gonna have to find my copy of the Chili Pepper canvas... and my copy of Jean Hilton's book, too. *Sigh* - and I just got back down to 56 UFOs, too!