How to Bargello quilt (with a twist) + fabric giveaway!

Detail of Argyle bargello quilt

What is a Bargello quilt? Surprisingly, even with all the dramatic sways, bends, and waves of color and texture in Bargello quilts, they’re a straightforward type of quilt to make. Start with strip piecing; sprinkle a little color-by-number ease. From there, tubes, slices, and rows transform those simple strips into stunning quilts fit for an art gallery.

Making strip sets for bargello quiltsIf your dream of creating Bargello quilts skews nightmarish when you think about how to bargello quilt, you’re not alone. Let’s be honest: that’s a lot of tiny squares and rectangles! But Eileen Wright wrote her second book on the subject, More Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts, specifically for her students who were begging her to write it, and her friendly teaching style is key. If you appreciate the ease and speed of strip piecing, Bargello quilting is right up your alley. Same technique—just more of it!

Take a look, below, at some of Eileen’s Bargello patterns from her new book. One fan request? Smaller projects. Eileen came through, making the learning curve even more manageable. So grab your rotary cutter and start stripping that stash: you can do this!

Timeless TreasuresGIVEAWAY ALERT! Our friends at Timeless Treasures have generously donated a pack of beautiful Tonga Treats—a collection of twenty 6″ x 44″ strips—from their “Tonga Sea Glass” batiks line to give away to you for your next Bargello quilt! Find out how you can win it at the bottom of this post.

Tonga Treats by Timeless Treasures

Excerpt from More Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts by Eileen Wright

Eileen WrightBargello quilts are made by cutting fabric strips to the required width, sewing the strips together in the  predetermined sequence, and then cutting the strip sets into slices. When the slices are sewn together, the beauty of the pattern emerges, but it all starts with building strip sets.

Choosing the fabrics for any new project is the most exciting part for me—except for seeing the quilt actually finished. But we have to make a start before we can get to the end. Don’t be intimidated when you read that you need 20 or more fabrics for some of these quilts. There are so many ways to reach the desired goal. When choosing fabrics for your quilt, trust your instincts and create your own vision of any of these designs. Let your creativity loose. There are no rules when it comes to the fabrics you use in your quilts. You only have to please yourself.

Let me tell you about some of the quilts in More Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts.

Argyle bargello quilt
“Argyle” is a masculine quilt, reminiscent of the sweaters I used to knit my fellas, made in green for all those readers who asked for a green quilt. This one has my friend Brenda’s name on it.

Island Sunrise bargello quilt
“Island Sunrise.” A bed-sized version of “Island Sunset” was the most frequent request I received following the release of my first book, Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts. Based on my experience with twisted bargello quilts, I find that simply enlarging the strip widths in an existing design is not very effective. This is a complete redraft of the smaller quilt from my last book.

“Glacier Bay” was made as soon as I returned home from a cruise to Alaska. Compared to pictures I had seen, the glaciers I saw on the cruise were shrinking and covered in pollution. Not such a pretty sight. I felt compelled to make a quilt in memory of what the glaciers used to be.

“Misty Morning” is reminiscent of the early morning sun rising through the swirls of mist over the ocean, which was my view from the deck at my condo in Nanaimo, Canada. I no longer live there, so I’m so glad I captured and framed so many of the amazing ocean shots from that place.

Bargello for Baby quilts
“Bargello for Baby.”
Over the years, many quilters have asked me for a bargello-for-baby design. With only 10 fabrics and three strip sets, this little quilt is quick and easy to make. I chose soft pastels, one for a girl and one for a boy. I can even see this stitched in shades of cream for a christening quilt.

“Love Song” fulfills a number of requests I’ve had from quilters. It’s a black-and-white quilt made from fat quarters and, at 30½" square, finishes much smaller than the quilts I usually make. A touch of appliqué nails down the theme.

Bargello Bed Runner and Banded Pillowcases
“Bargello Bed Runner and Banded Pillowcases.”
When I was first asked for a bed-runner design, I didn’t even know what a bed runner was. Now, I think I need a duvet for the winter so I can show off this project across the foot of my own bed. Instead of making matching pillows, I thought matching pillowcases would be different. I’ve come to prefer special pillowcases for the extra pillows on my bed.

In More Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts I share the methods that work best for me. I encourage you to use what you like and create your own best methods along the way. There is always more than one right way to do things in quilting.

More Twist-and-Turn Bargello QuiltsSee more of Eileen’s amazing Bargello quilts here.

Have you made a Bargello quilt—or how long has a Bargello quilt been on your wanna-make-one list? Tell us your story in the comments and you could win a copy of the More Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts eBook PLUS the Tonga Treats pack above, generously donated by Timeless Treasures (visit their blog today for another special giveaway!). We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Kathy, who writes:

“I have yet to make a bargello quilt, and it has been on my wish list FOREVER!  I love the sea glass batiks – definitely hit my memories of summer visits to Cape Cod.”

Kathy, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


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