Thanks to the blog, Retro Renovation, we have a long (almost 15 minutes) seqment on Bargello. She shows examples of the stitching (including these great boots), she talks about the history of Bargello, show us how to start stitching and then shows us a lovely Jack-in-the-Pulpit design that she is stitching.
POST UPDATE MAY 2015: This video is no longer available, but several others of hers are. See them in this collection on YouTube.
It’s great stuff and the blog post that accompanies it has information on finding Erica’s kits, both old and new.
The clip is from 1971, so it was filmed not long after I had begun to do needlepoint. I was astonished by the things that had changed. She found the center of the canvas by folding it and drawing down the creases with a pencil. Don’t do this at home. Unless you use a very hard pencil (#4) lead will rub off and discolor our threads. Today we’d measure and baste or mark with a permanent marker made for canvas.
!0 mesh canvas is what was normally used for Bargello back then, today we would use 13, 14, or 18. Erica stitches her Bargello using a big quilting floor hoop. Today we would not do this, it wastes canvas (because it needs to be much bigger than the hoop to stay in place), and we’d find the tension to be too loose. Better to use stretcher bars instead.
But it was so inspiring to watch this.