Bargello: Stitches

Bargello is a counted needlework embroidery worked on fabric or canvas. I usually work on 18 count mono canvas using a single strand of size 5 DMC pearl or size 5 Anchor perle thread. If I want a good coverage of stitching thread over the 18 count mono canvas then I use a size 3.

I have seen Bargello designs with various stitch lengths but they are all straight stitches though I am sure there are patterns that incorporate other embroidery stitches .

The stitch lengths within my Bargello designs are normally over four fabric threads with steps up/down two fabric threads. I use the shortcut 4:2 notation.

Dark blue stitch lines of the below chart are 4:2.  In this design there are a few 2:2 stitch lines that are the same thread as the dark blue stitch lines.  To emphasize that they are 2:2 I used a neon green color.  Also at the top tip of the orange stitch lines there are 1:1 stitch lines. These are all straight stitches, no slants.


Bargello chart

Bargello chart


Bargello Straight Stitches:

The Bargello straight stitch, to me, is nearly the same as the Hardanger satin stitch.

The Bargello straight and the Hardanger satin stitch:

  • is a straight line stitch that on the front side of your work does not cross over any previous stitch.
  • never pierces the fabric thread or the thread of any other previous stitch.
  • even tension (as you work) the stitching thread.
  • can be vertical or hortizonal  | or __  not / or \.
Bargello straight stitch

Bargello straight stitch

Hardanger satin stitch

Hardanger satin stitch

Below is an example of Hardanger stitching.  In Hardanger there is open work (snipping out an area of fabric in order to incorporate bar weaving and such) so you never would want to stitch as shown in the orange thread.


Hardanger satin

Hardanger satin


Bargello, worked in size 3 Anchor perle on 18 count mono fabric

For Bargello I try to stitch as shown in the above blue thread which was quite possible in this photo to the left as the stitch lines are all 4:2 and smoothly travel around the pomegranate style shape.

Though I have framed several of my Bargello worked pieces, in general Bargello worked designs are used as pillow fronts and chair seat/back fabric.  Therefore the stitching thread and fabric has to be able to handle the stress of being used.  Wool yarn I believe is used in most of the traditional designs.  I have always used a size 5 or size 3 pearl (perle) cotton thread as I like the sheen.

Normally within Bargello the stitch length is no longer than over four fabric threads (longer might be snagged when the pillow or chair is in use).

A major goal of Bargello stitching is no knots within the backside of your worked design at start or end of your stitching threads as this could be felt when leaned against as in a pillow or chair seat/back fabric.