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Thread: Advice for me as I start my first bargello quilt?

  1. #1
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Advice for me as I start my first bargello quilt?

    I have decided to "expand my horizons" and make a bargello quilt. I have selected my pattern and have been reading and googling about these quilts. The pattern is from Eileen Wright's book Twist and Turn Bargello Quilts. I am doing this one.

    http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.com...bargellos.html

    I am just starting to collect/select fabric. Like I said, I have been reading and googling, and I have read enough to know that it is time to get started. But first....any advice for me as I plow ahead? Fabric selection advice or anything else?

    Thanks.

    Dina

  2. #2
    Senior Member pdcakm's Avatar
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    i can only offer my best wishes. i have that book and will make one of these some day. i hope!
    pdcakm alias pat
    If things go wrong, don't go with them. ~Roger Babson

  3. #3
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    I'm at work so can't follow the link, and have only made 2 bargellos so far, but I have 2 tidbits:

    Use a digital camera with a black & white setting to take pictures of your fabrics so you can check your gradient.
    Press the way they tell you to - it will help nest those corners together.

    Have fun! I LOVE bargellos! I need to churn through a few more projects before I can do another one and I can't wait.

  4. #4
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewnoma View Post
    I'm at work so can't follow the link, and have only made 2 bargellos so far, but I have 2 tidbits:

    Use a digital camera with a black & white setting to take pictures of your fabrics so you can check your gradient.
    Press the way they tell you to - it will help nest those corners together.

    Have fun! I LOVE bargellos! I need to churn through a few more projects before I can do another one and I can't wait.
    Okay, thanks! I have been reading more, and I am beginning to get scared of this project. I need to start before I change my mind!!

    Dina

  5. #5
    Super Member AngeliaNR's Avatar
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    Be brave--you can do it.
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  6. #6
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I felt the same as you with my first bargello. I had chosen all my fabric and kept putting it off because I thought it would be really hard. But once I got started it was really not that difficult. The main thing is keeping your strips organized. I made labels for each of the strips that were numbered according to the pattern. As I cut each strip I pinned on its label. Then I laid all of them out in the order they needed to be sewn. And I didn't cut all the strips at the beginning. I cut a few and sewed them together as a test. The hardest part is getting started. Don't be scared. Just dive in. Bet you'll end up with a beautiful quilt.

  7. #7
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    I'm still collecting fabric. I just can't seem to get my colors right

  8. #8
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    It's a beautiful pattern. I love it in the blues shown. Were you trying to go for the same look? If so, there are a ton of shades of each color at balibatiks.com that would work.

  9. #9
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    I've made many bargello quilts, and I love both the process and the result! Here's my best advice:

    1. Buy a whole lot of thread! (When I first started making Bargello quilts, I wished I'd bought stock in a thread company:-)

    2. Wash, dry, and starch your fabrics before you even think about cutting them.

    3. When you iron the starched fabrics (before cutting them), be careful to do so along the length rather than the width of fabric.

    4. Understand that the first step of the larger process is to create a new fabric. Allow it the time it deserves. The final result is soooooooo worth it!

    I hope this helps. Please feel free to PM me if you have further questions.

  10. #10
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    I totally forgot to say that the first thing you MUST do is cut a tiny piece of each of fabric and glue them to a piece of paper in the order in which you want them to appear on your quilt. Number them on that piece of paper! You'll be referring back to it many times.

    quiltsRfun is absolutely correct in recommending that you label each (secondary) strip as you cut it. If you don't, you'll go a bit crazy trying to assemble them in order!

  11. #11
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much! I can't wait to get started, scared though I am... If I can figure out what fabric I want, I would go for it, but I am still working on that.

    My pattern suggests batiks. Is that the best way to go?

    Dina

  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dina View Post
    Thank you all so much! I can't wait to get started, scared though I am... If I can figure out what fabric I want, I would go for it, but I am still working on that.

    My pattern suggests batiks. Is that the best way to go?

    Dina
    If you do select batiks.. pick ones that the color dispersements are not too big and blotchy . You want smaller scale colors , they will blend better. I also avoid the ones that read as solid colors, no blending. When I select fabrics for bargello I stack up the bolts on a table and stand back about 10 feet , you will see the progression of colors better from a distance. I also buy 2 extra colors , as some never make the final cut. If you like what you see when you stack your fabrics... take a photo, in color..or as they are getting cut number them right there in the store.

  13. #13
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I love making bargello quilts- my favorite pattern ever- nothing to be afraid of- they are not difficult- just stay 'organized' I use post-it flags to number each fabric- then to number my strip set (strips) as I cut them & lay them side by side- also, make a *map* by cutting a strip (I generally use about a 1/2" x 1 or 1 1/2" piece of each fabric) glued to a piece of fabric with it's corresponding number- so as you open your strips you can easily look at your map & see which fabrics you are opening between. as long as you keep your strips in order you will find them to be not difficult at all.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  14. #14
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    A few years ago I went on a retreat and did a bargello quilt that came from Ricky Timms. Unfortunately, Due to shortage of time, all the pieces had been cut out for us ready to sew so I can't remember much about it. Almost seemed like a production line! Now I feel I must look into this once again as there are some awesome patterns out there. Good luck in your quest and I am sure the outcome will be great.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    First-be happy with the layout of your fabrics. I cut a strip of each color (width depends on the pattern) and butt them up against one another and so you can look at it and choose if you are pleased with the results. Post a picture here if you want our opinions. Don't rush this part. If you change your mind (which I DID on my Island Sunset), it is a very difficult to make the change working with such small pieces.

    I find it important to label my rows. Do it the same as the design chart. Depending on how complex the pattern you have selected, you may be attaching many small pieces to that anchor strip.

    Made a copy of the design chart. I would make a small check when I completed a section. To me, I call a section a group of value of the same color. I actually sewed them in these sections and found it easier to piece the quilt in smaller sections. I was amazed how many times I referred to that as my guide.

    Have your seam ripper available at all times. You may be dropping a fabric from the strip more often then with a normal quilt pattern.

    Take your time and be patient. If you find yourself rushing, take a time out and walk away. Come back after a cup of tea when you are ready to start to tackle the complexity of this quilt.

    I have done the Aurora Borealis, Island Sunset and two Bargello Table runner. I have posted these pictures on this board. I have pulled fabric to do the Surf Song but want to make it smaller quilt then instructions are for. Eileen told me she had put another layout in her new book but haven't had the chance to purchase that one yet.

    Good luck and please keep in contact with us. WE are always happy to assist you thru this process. Just look at it like cocking. There are easy recipes but then there are more complicated recipes. GOOD LUCK !!!
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  16. #16
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Smile Bargello photos

    Hee are my photos....
    Attached Images Attached Images

    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  17. #17
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Take the instructions in before you start and go very slowly. Never cut or sew unless you are positive.
    The quilt will be wonderful and you will enjoy the next one even more.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  18. #18
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Again, thanks for all the help! This advice is wonderful. I am feeling positive about all of the steps now, except for the cutting. According to the pattern, after I have the strip sets sewn, I will be cutting into strips from two inches wide all the way down to one inch. This is where I am currently concerned. I have a great deal of trouble cutting straight lines. I don't know if this is because of my macular degeneration (I don't really see straight lines) or if I am just a timid cutter.

    Right now I rely on my June Taylor Shape Cut rulers. So far I have been able to make about any pattern using these rulers. (I just completed my 68th quilt. I have been sewing 4 years...and yes, I know I am a serial quilter.) I am wondering if I will be able to fold one of the strip sets small enough and then will I be able to cut through them? Can you understand what I am saying? I can easily cut through four layers, but the seam may be tricky.

    I suspect I need to just get started and see how it works. I am currently thinking of using fabric from my stash and, if I am successful at this, then purchase the beautiful batiks that I have not allowed myself before.

    There may be pictures following later, whenI get my fabric narrowed down. Right now I am thinking of blue and blue-green though I would love to do blue and purple.

    Thanks again everyone!!

    Dina

  19. #19
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManiacQuilter2 View Post
    Hee are my photos....
    Oh, ManiacQuilter!!!! Thanks for the pictures! They help a lot and I LOVE your quilt!

    Dina

  20. #20
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    I am working on my first Bargello right now. ( Mystic Nights) My strips are cut 1 1/2 inches, the pattern says to make sure you do a precise 1/4 in. Also if you are sewing strips together to make large fabric panels, after you sew your first 2 strips together, you need to sew the third strip starting at the opposite end, and continue doing that till panel is made, otherwise your finished piece of fabric will be all wonky.

  21. #21
    Super Member franie's Avatar
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    I have one in progress--more like UFO! It is in the blues also but not that pattern but from the same book. I have my sets sewn together and there is where it was left. I sewed the sets at a retreat. Hope mine works out as you know how retreats can be! So many laughs and giggles and interruptions to play a game or eat or something! It is sort of intimidating I have to agree with this one.
    Fran in SW Iowa
    previously AK

  22. #22
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Ha! I just got back from buying fabric. I went after a few more blues and a few more blue-greens. What did I buy? Purple!! (I love purple.)

    I have decided to make a placemat first to get used to the technique, then I will go for a real quilt. First I must sandwich and quilt a charity quilt, then I am on to the bargello full time! Can't wait!!

    Dina

  23. #23
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Small prints, solids, or batiks will work best for fabric choices. Stay very organized....cut and label everything, as it will get confusing....put all strips of one size in a bag and label. Cut and keep a strip of all fabrics, label them by number (I tacked mine up on the wall in front of the sewing machine for easy viewing). I would definitely try a small piece first, like a table runner to get used to the process.

  24. #24
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    As Jackie Spencer noted, sewing from opposite ends is very important! (I ignored this once and ended up ripping out every seam and starting over :-(

    Accuracy counts for a lot. Find the best method you can to cut and sew straight strips!

  25. #25
    Super Member nunnyJo's Avatar
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    all I can say is, you'll get hooked. Pay close attention to each lay out strip. good luck

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