Using templates or outlines as shapes to fill with Bargello is a lovely way to make a unique gift. When the outline is a simple shape, such as a heart or mitten, the job is easy. You just stitch and go.
But what do you do if the outline has more than one part, as this Bargello cupcake does?
Then you have to compensate. Compensation except at the tops and bottoms of pieces is not something we do often in Bargello needlepoint, but it is pretty easy to do.
The most important thing to remember is that the pattern of the Bargello is more important than the color of the stitch, whether it is split into more than one color, or even the length of an individual stitch.
As you can see from the close-up above, I kept the small scallop pattern consistent along the dividing line between cake and icing. To do this I stitched the cake first, ending each stitch at the dividing line in my outline.
This gave me an irregular top with many stitches shortened.
Then I put in the first full line of the icing. I found its place by taking the highest complete stitch in the cake and using that as a guide for the new line. Since the scallops of the Bargello face the opposite direction of the scallops on the icing, stitching this line left me with open areas along the bottom — the areas of compensation.
Using the sequence of colors I established in making the complete rows in the icing, I began to stitch the partial rows, working down from the establishing row. With this color I made as complete a stitch as possible until it was either a full stitch or it met the stitching of the cake. This almost completely filled the area.
But there were some one thread areas left. These were stitched with the next color. I know that conventional wisdom tells you not to make straight stitches over one thread and that in Bargello the adjacent stitches should be lengthened or shortened. But when you are compensating to do this would break the pattern and draw attention to the change.
Use a looser than normal tension and be willing to make the stitch twice when going over a single thread as compensation.
The result, I’m sure you’ll agree looks as if it changed naturally and is quite effective.