Bargello needlework- Introduction

The term "Bargello" refers on the one hand to a stitching technique and on the other to the motifs created by using this technique. As a stitching technique, it is a form of countable embroidery, consisting of only upright flat stitches.  
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Cushion stitched with Bargello technique

The name Bargello originates from a series of chairs found in Bargello palace in Florence, with a flame stitch pattern. The technique is also known as "flame stitch", "Florentine stitch", "Irish stitch". It is called "Florentine stitch" after the fact that Bargello museum is in Florence and "flame stitch" because of the zig-zag motif. In Italian, Bargello is known as "Hungarian point" indicating that the Florentines believed the technique originated in Hungary. Despite the different names, most agree that traditional Bargello pieces incorporate a series of vertical stitches (vs. diagonal stitches). 
Stitch: In Bargello embroidery, also called Florentine embroidery or Florentine tapestry only one stitch is used: straight stitch, which is always worked vertically. 
Colors: Traditional Bargello designs are very colourful. Usually, they are used hues of one color, going from light to dark or from dark to light, producing intricate shading effects.
Difference between bargello and hungarian point: In Bargello, vertical stitches of the same height are offset from each other in a process called "stepping". In Hungarian point, they are used shorter and longer stitches, achieving a similar effect.  

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In Bargello, straight stitches are stepped or offset vertically forming zig-zag rows. The basic unit is usually a vertical stitch of four threads, but other heights are possible. The rows are repeated in varying shades of color. The patterns in the steps combined with color changes determines how the overall pattern will emerge. 
  • Sharp point patterns (flame stitch): Stitch length= 4 threads / Step= 2 threads
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  • Rounded pattern: Stitch length = 3 threads/ Step= 1 thread

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Contemporary Bargello 

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