Bargello in the heat!

I’m British so I’ll start with the weather! Today is officially the hottest day ever in the UK 🥵 We have spent 48hours sharing in the extreme heat enveloping much of mainland Europe. Not being used to extremes of weather you can bet this is a major talking point here! The BBC website is keeping us up to date with all the numbers.

So! Whew! DH and I made a pre-breakfast visit to the allotment this morning – watered most everything, harvested a few beans, courgettes and raspberries before returning home. Since then we’ve shut ourselves indoors, with windows, doors and curtains all firmly closed. Now, at 4pm the thermometer indoors is registering 29ºC, guessing outside must be 10ºC hotter as Heathrow (40 miles away) recorded 40.2ºC at lunchtime. Thankfully we are assured our prevailing Atlantic airflow comes into play overnight bringing much cooler air and maybe even some rain (yes! please!).

It was certainly warm last Saturday but not too hot for my Bargello Workshop. The class went well. By the end of the day the four friendly, enthusiastic participants produced Bargello blocks which looked just great:

I suggested the block could be used to make a table runner. Before the Workshop I created a table runner using one of my sample blocks:

I used the no-binding, ‘bagging’ method to attach the top, backing (unbleached calico) and wadding together. I free motion stitched an open meander across the runner to hold everything together.

For demonstrations of the Bargello patchwork process in the Workshop I used strips of fabric from a roll of Artisan Batiks by Robert Kaufman. I chose the roll because it has duplicate fabrics – I was hoping for seven of the fabrics to be repeated at least three times so I could make three strip sets. The first strip set produced this Bargello block:

Three blocks make a quilt measuring 31″ x 43″ which looks great (in my humble opinion) but isn’t a particularly practical size (and I’m all about the practical!).

I searched online for images of Bargello quilts with borders, turns out there aren’t many, but what I did see convinced me to be brave in my fabric colour and print choice. Working at Purple Stitches yesterday was handy! I narrowed my border fabric choice down to three before seeking Eve’s (shop manager with an expert eye for colour) advice – always a good move when teaming up fabrics 😉 I came home with 1.5m of ‘100 years Conservatory 9993′ by Patty Sloniger for Andover fabrics. I’m so pleased with how this print fits with the Bargello – to my eye the border adds to the centre rather than taking anything away for it – wonderful!

The completed quilt top now measures 40″ x 51″ which is a reasonable lap quilt size and – quite by chance – the perfect size for the hanging space in our hallway 🙂

As a post script, working with Batik fabrics is not something I do often/ever. The crisp feel of the fabric doesn’t appeal to me but it’s been good to get over that and try working with them on one project at least. The saturated colours are definitely to my taste. I searched the internet for tips of using Batiks and found the following blog posts useful, both in learning more about the fabrics and in sewing with them.

Information about sewing with Batiks:

For a quick overview try this page on the Fabrics Galore website.

Claudia shares ‘10 Tips for Sewing with Batik Fabrics‘.

And on the allpeoplequilt website there’s another useful summary of how to handle Batik fabrics.

I took on board some of the advice including using a 70/10 needle and found piecing the Batiks was straightforward as the close weave of the fabric prevents it stretching or fraying.



5 thoughts on “Bargello in the heat!

  1. A bargello quilt has been on my to-do list for some time, and those are beautiful. We are also having very extreme heat her in Alabama USA. Living in the South I am used to heat, but this is way more than usual.

  2. The bargello looks great…my favorite might be the Christmas color one, but it is hard to choose. I hope you find relief from the heat soon! 🙂

    • I was so pleased everyone finished their Bargello block and left saying they’d like to do more and felt confident enough in their knowledge of the process to talk about experimenting with designs 🙂
      As for the heat, we were so fortunate just to have two days of the ultra-high temps. We are back to seasonal averages of mid-high 20’s. Although in our area we have so far had only 6% of the expected rainfall for July. Everything is looking very parched and watering plants has become a regular task.


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