Bargello Quilts In Motion: A New Look for Strip-Pieced Quilts
by Ruth Ann Berry
$19.95; C&T Publishing
Review by Linda Augsburg, executive editor
The bargello pattern, also referred to as flame stitch, emerged in needlepoint in the 17th century. It emerged on the quilting scene in the ’90s, yet another technique made easier by the innovative rotary cutting and strip-piecing quilting methods. Those early bargello quilts mirrored their needlework counterparts with their zigzagging or swag-like designs. Today, the look of bargello quilts has changed dramatically, thanks to books like Bargello Quilts in Motion and the techniques explained by author Ruth Ann Berry.
You don’t need to be an artist or a technical genius to make a stunning bargello quilts like the ones in Bargello Quilts in Motion. In fact, the instructions and color information provided in this book makes it easy for you to make one of the quilt projects similar in colors to the ones shown, plus the helpful tips about fabric selection give you the confidence to choose your personal favorite color scheme. Projects mix unlikely prints (from florals and batiks to novelties) with tonal prints, hand-dyeds and solids for visual impact. But it’s the twisting and turning of what Berry calls the scribbles that has me wanting to put rotary cutter to fabric. Her design skills make the ribbons of gradations seem to entwine as they move across the quilt, and that’s what’s most intriguing about Bargello Quilts in Motion. Thankfully, as a finale to the clearly explained and illustrated projects, Berry shares details on how to design a bargello quilt with turns and twists with specifics on how to determine the width of the strip sets to achieve the look you desire. Her helpful hints will empower you to design your own motion-filled bargello quilt.
In all, the eight project quilts included in this 64-page book are accompanied by information on selecting fabric, basic bargello construction, borders, layering and binding, and an inspirational design gallery. The final chapter that covers designing your own has very clear illustrations and information about how to make the strip sets twist and turn as shown in the projects. So let yourself go and try something new — pick up Bargello Quilts in Motion.
On my “to-make” list: It wasn’t easy to choose just one, but I’m choosing Moody Blues (page 20). For the background fabrics, Berry used eight floral prints with a black foundation — you’d expect that to be pretty low-contrast, but you’d be wrong. In her words “The floral prints in this quilt all have a black background, but it seems like the value changes depending on the number of colored motifs on each background. The ‘lightest’ black floral is packed with bright flowers, while the ‘darkest’ black floral has only a few scattered flowers.” And then, after the cover quilt, Batikiello (page 12) and Asleep at the Beach (page 40) to give me a better understanding of the colorplay, I might try my hand at designing one of my own!