Cathy's Bargello Florentine Patterns Page

Last updated/links verified 3 July 2003

Cathy Decker's Bargello Needlework Page

This is a detail of the center of one of my newest bargello pillows. It was done on Aida cloth with Caron Collection threads, both Watercolors and some Waterlilies. The Waterlilies drove me mad, so I got the same colors in Watercolors. The only thing that stayed the same was the bands of green--I varied the other lines of the pattern as my mood changed. The result is probably not as powerful as it would have been if I had a single artistic vision to which I had stuck. The pillow is squarish and backed in green velvet. I had it professionally blocked and backed in a "double box welt." It cost a small fortune to back (eighty to ninety dollars), but if you take the time to sew on a frame and use very expensive cloth and threads, what else is new--you aren't going to mess it up by trying to block it and back it yourself. I don't have a nice photo of this yet, so I just put the pillow on my scanner. That's why the image is a bit crooked and rather narrow; I can also see a bit of the curve of the pillow at the bottom.

An Original Two-Way Florentine Bargello by Cathy Decker
This pillow is a set of tall pinnacles worked horizontally that join at the center to form a row of diamonds. The pinnacles are worked in shades of green on one side and of blue on the other. This is called florentine work because it is worked over two lengths of the canvas, usually two threads and six or even eight threads. These two-length pieces are very common, and I group them all under "Florentine," but the patterns usually have different names given to them by their designer. This design is adapted from page 77 of Amy Carroll's The Pattern Library: Needlepoint. (New York: Ballantine, 1981). [It's out of print, but you can order it here from] I basically took the "Tall Pinnacles" pattern and flipped it and worked it from two edges of a seven-count plastic canvas. I used a combination of common yarns and a metallic cord down the middle. The pinnacles join at the center to form a row of white diamonds and are worked in shades of green on one side and of blue on the other.

A Four-Way Florentine Variation
This four-way piece resulted from an error in calculating the number of threads that the pattern was worked over from an image. Instead of a traditional bargello pattern that zigs and zags, I got a pyramid shape. What is interesting is the way the bands of stitches over four threads form raised frames on the pattern. This design is adapted from page 79 of Amy Carroll's The Pattern Library: Needlepoint. (New York: Ballantine, 1981). [It's out of print, but you can order it here from] I mistakenly worked the stitches over one thread and six threads, not two threads and six threads, which is a classic florentine pattern. Carroll calls her pattern "Gothic Pinnacles."

A Four-Way Florentine Pattern
This pattern is the one I attempted with the blue pillow above, but done over the correct number of threads to get the vertical jumps. It is called "Gothic Pinnacles," in the normal version, a basic pinnacle/Florentine pattern. This is worked in a four-way version, but the four-way part is off however due to a problem with repeating the gold thread. I calculated the side parts off the wrong gold repeat. I used twelve different colors, repeating the gold twice; hence, the error. Even so, this remains one of my favorites.

A Set of Bed Hangings Worked in a Repeated-Line Florentine Flame-Stitch
Image Copyright of Parham Park
This bed and bedhangings set is at Parham Park, Pullborough, Sussex, England. These are from the Great Chamber, and the embroidery inside the canopy actually inspired a a maze. The hangings are basically panels of a florentine flame-stitch line pattern joined by twisted, curving needlework trim. For a detailed picture of the repeating flame-stitch line, see the The Bargello Line Pattern Page.
Bargello Line Patterns
Traditional Bargello Patterns
Florentine-Work Bargello
Geometric Bargello Patterns
Bargello Ribbon Patterns
Bargello Links
New Bargello Images
Four-Way Bargello
Original Bargello
Framed Bargello Patterns

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