At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
Bargello Stitch: A Pattern Directory for Dramatic Needlepoint by Laura and Lynsey Angell is a must-have book for anyone with an interest in bargello. Packed with colourful designs, detailed instructions and great photography, it will inspire you to bust out bounties of bold coloured bargello!
Before I dive into the book review, let’s just address an important question.
What is Bargello work?
Bargello work is a type of embroidery that uses flat stitches to produce amazing patterns, often with bright colours fading in and out of each other. Although the origins of the craft are quite vague, it can be seen in chairs dating back to the 17th Century in the Bargello Museum in Italy. It is vibrant and uplifting and uses repeated patterns so is very relaxing to work on.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
This book is aimed at everyone from the novice to the professional. It talks you through the materials and tools you need, then the various stitches and patterns in order of difficulty.
About The Author
The book is by Laura and Lynsey Angell, who are better known as the Bargello Sisters. Laura is an artist based in Ireland. Lynsey is a crafter, maker and writer based in the north of England.
The content of this book is very well thought out. First it introduces you to the Sisters, then talks you through the tools you need for the craft. The next section talks you through the various stitches, there is even a good section on how to fix your mistakes. Not many artists want to advertise that mistakes may be made – but we all make them, so I was impressed with that. Then the best part of the book is that it divides the designs into three sections, easy, intermediate and advanced. If you like Bargello this book would keep you going for years as you work through the various levels of difficulty.
The photography is excellent in this book. The sewn designs are blown up to full A4 page size and look amazing. So vibrant and easy to examine if you want to compare them to your own stitching to see if you’re doing it right.
What Makes The Book Special?
I had never done any Bargello before so I really came to this book with a fresh pair of eyes as a newbie. If you’ve read my Craft Rocks column you’ll know that I love geometric shapes. The combination of geometric shapes, repeating patterns, chunkiness and bright colours of Bargello shown in this book made me rush off and buy some canvas to try it out on and I really enjoyed it. I like that the book lasts for a long time as well. For an RRP of £12.99 it has enough patterns to keep you busy for a very long time.
Anything Wrong With The Book?
Well if you don’t like Bargello you won’t like the book. Other than that I would find it difficult to fault. The instructions, patterns, photos, are all excellent quality.
It’s a great book. Whether you’re a seasoned Bargello stitcher or new to the craft, you’ll have lots of fun going through the book. I even found just looking through the book really uplifting with all the bright colours and patterns. And I’ve got a chair I want to upcycle (column coming soon…) and I think I will definitely involve some Bargello in that. Oh crikey, it’s the start of another sewing addiction!