Thursday, June 16, 2016

Brilliant bargello quilts

Bargello quilts are fascinating patchwork designs made of small squares or rectangles, pieced together so that they create waves of color, often in a zig-zag or "flame" pattern. The name originates from the Bargello palace in Florence, Italy, where the chair seats were done in needlepoint with the flame stitch motif.

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Spiral Galaxy by Jody Gagnon, Arizona Quilters' Guild

Jodi writes, "I centered a round bargello pieced quilt in a black square, added the leftovers, and voila: Spiral Galaxy. It is longarm quilted, glitzed, and glittered. "

Spiral Galaxy was inspired by Quilts Without Corners by Cheryl Phillips and by photos of outer space.

Southwest by Northwest by Kathy Kutansky, Tucson, Arizona Quilters' Guild

Kathy's pattern source was a photograph of a quilt made in the 1970's. She drafted a pattern based on a strip quilt.  Visual interest is added by the pointed motif which drops down below the bottom border. Her work is machine pieced and hand quilted.

Kathy notes, "These are the colors that surface when I think of a Southwest quilt. Being a "snowbird" (a winter visitor to Tucson) from the Northwest, I just had to put this one on my wall."

Northern Lights 8 by Ann Bird (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Ann explains that she was inspired to use the print colors of a blouse she purchased at a garage sale. She reverse-appliqued them to the black background, creating a lovely rainbow effect.

Ann's quilt is one of a series inspired by the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), which appear in the northern skies over Canada.

Black and White and Gray All Over - Almost! by Susie Weaver, Tucson Quilters' Guild, quilted by Pam Knight

Susie says of her original design, " I'm often asked how the basic two-fabric bargello can be enlarged for more practical purposes. I made this version in an effort to answer that question and to know how much more fabric is needed. I now have those answers. "

Susie's experiment in pattern enlargement turned out beautifully, as did Pam Knight's quilting. The quilting pattern replicates the curved "squiggles" of the contemporary print fabric.

Mountain Peak by Ruth Martin, Tucson Quilters Guild

Ruth states, "The quilt top was made in Susie Weaver's Two-Fabric Bargello class in 2011. Susie gave quilting suggestions, but my top languished until I finally got the courage to try some free-motion quilting in the "peak"[of the bargello motif] and the border. Thanks, Susie !"
We love these soft, refreshing colors which gives Ruth's quilt such a relaxed, tranquil look.

Mema's Cactus Flowers by Camille Salisbury, quilted by Karolyn "Nubin" Jensen, Tucson Quilters' Guild

Red ribbon winner for a first time entry in the Tucson Quilt Fiesta, Camille writes, " I have wanted to create a quilt for my bedroom for awhile. When I saw Nancy Landon's  "Palo Verde Spring" pattern, I knew I wanted to use my favorite colors: purple and green. The name came from my toddler granddaughter, who when asked, stated the features of the quilt and whom it belonged to."

Camille's border in pastel colors provides a great contrast to the deeper shades of the main body of the quilt. The pink, lavender, peach, and mauve flowers dance happily on their vines on all four sides.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.


  1. The bargello quilts are just fabulous! Mom can't decide which one is her favorite. They are all wonderful!

  2. Very lovely quilts there. Some real inspiration. Love the almost grey and the Northern lights.

  3. I continue to be amazed with all the variety that can be attained with bargello. Your post with so many together brings it out in a stunning way.

  4. Wow! They are truly remarkable. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Those quilts are just beautiful,the last one with that border caught my eye.I joined a QAL this year and made a barguello pillow.


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