CREATING CONTEMPORARY BARGELLO: A DESIGNER’S GUIDE, Iona L. Dettelbach, self-published, ISBN:0-9792858-0-1, $34.95
Bargello is a delightful technique and Iona has done a marvelous job with this project-packed book on the technique. Like Iona, I love Bargello and have been stitching it almost as long as I have been needlepointing. And, like many other stitchers, I am frustrated by the lack of information and books on the subject.
This book helps address this gap with an excellent introduction to the technique and how lines can be shaped and varied. Another chapter covers stitches which make excellent backgrounds for Bargello pieces. This is a topic which is not often addressed, and the lovely project on the cover shows how effective some of these stitches can be.
The heart of the book is the 24 projects, pictured in color on the inside of the front and back covers. They are divided into two groups,The Teaching Samplers and Advanced Projects.
The Teaching Samplers are part of a chapter called “The Soul of Bargello Design.” The chapter begins with a short discussion of color and them introduces two samplers which cover ways to shade diamonds and arches. Nine different sampler projects follow, incorporating many different threads and Bargello techniques. There is even a four-way Bargello project. Stitchers new to Bargello could stitch all of the samplers and be proficient at Bargello by the end. Fans of the technique will find many intriguing lines, projects, and patterns here.
Two projects in these projects stand out. Cherries and Pears is the cover project. It beautifully demonstrates an uncommon use of Bargello — using the technique to fill spaces in realistic designs. Bargello’s wonderful patterns and infinite possibilities of shading make this a great option. The other project I loved is Birthday Bargello. This technique uses the numbers in a birth date to determine the number of stitches in a step. Three variations using the same birth date are shown.
The Advanced Projects further explore the possibilities of Bargello. Unlike the samplers, these projects often use only a single Bargello line. They run the gamut from small ring boxes to seats for child’s chair. They use a wide variety of threads and finishing techniques.
And, if all these projects aren’t enough to get your creative juices flowing, the chapter ends with a look at the designs of three talented designers, Susan Seabright, Ruth Dilts, and the folks at River Silks. Several of these projects are pictured in color inside the back cover and you will find your conception of what Bargello can be expanding.
The book concludes with a listing of many fiber companies with threads which work for Bargello, a bibliography, and a Bargello design grid for creating your own lines and patterns.
This book is a delightful addition to the library of Bargello books.