Bargello & Blackwork by Betsy Morgan

23rd June 2023

When an artist begins the process of creating or designing something new, one of the tools they may reach for in their tool kit is pairing.

Pairing can be described as taking two or more individual elements and combining them into a singular artform.

This may involve pairing two opposing elements in juxtaposition to create a tension that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Think sweet and sour.

Or taking two harmonious components that once combined create a synergy that elevates their appeal beyond what is achievable on their own. Think peaches and ice-cream.

Whilst the approach of pairing is perhaps most prevalent in the culinary world, there are needlework artists who are frequently pushing boundaries by pairing different techniques to discover new possibilities.

L – O,Tannenbaum, Inspirations issue #108 | R – Limonera Pear, A Passion for Needlework 3

Think Trish Burr pairing whitework with colour or Christine Burton combining blackwork with colour and then using it on a three-dimensional embroidery to create her Limonera Pear. 

No-one had seen quite work like this before and it helps to expand our collective thinking as we ask ourselves, what else is possible?

Betsy Morgan’s pincushion Bargello & Blackwork from The Design Collective Volume 1 is another great example of pairing.

The genesis of her two selections were simple – an opportunity to employ her two favourite counted techniques, Bargello and blackwork.

On the surface, the idea of combining two counted techniques sounds logical and straight forward and from a stitching perspective that is very true. It’s when you consider the design styles typically associated with Bargello vs blackwork that you start to wonder how they will look when paired together on the same piece.

Think ‘70s brightly coloured flame patterns meets austere intricate motifs.

L – Example of a Bargello / Florentine work pattern  (source) | R – Squarely Check, Inspirations issue #113

This is where a lifetime of experience and design skills shine forth as Betsy very cleverly taps into the strengths of each style and, rather than try and give equal weighing, she dedicates 85% of each panel to Bargello, 15% to blackwork and marries the two beautifully through the use of uniform colour palettes and variegated threads.

The end result is a wonderfully harmonious four-sided box with a pin cushion insert and matching scissor fob that is so pleasing you wonder why no-one has paired these before!

Love the design but not interested in a pincushion? That’s ok, just make an extra base, use it for a lid and you have a stunning storage box.

Love the design and love pincushions? You’ve come to the right place. Check out our Put a Pin In It Gift Pack that includes Bargello & Blackwork, two other pincushions and some extra goodies all at 40% off!

Make Your Own Bargello & Blackwork

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Bargello & Blackwork by Betsy Morgan is a tall, elegant pincushion worked in counted thread embroidery.

Printed Books

The Design Collective – Pincushions

Printed Patterns

Bargello & Blackwork – TDCP Print

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Bargello & Blackwork includes everything* you need to re-create this matching pincushion and scissor fob: Fabric (unprinted), fusible interfacing, interlining, comic board, green sewing thread, fibre-fill, embroidery threads and needles.


Bargello & Blackwork – TDCP Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book/printed pattern.

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