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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Bargello meets Roy G. Biv

By Ruth Ann Berry
It's a weird word.

It sounds like a name for a disease contracted in a rain forest,
or a pastry stuffed with chopped mushrooms.


I'm not even sure how to pronounce it.

BARG- ello?

I'm going with Bar-GELL-o. Feel free to correct me.

 Here's the definition I found on Bluprint (formerly known as Craftsy) for Bargello:
By definition, a bargello quilt is one made of strips of fabric sewn together to create the appearance of movement. These patterns look complicated, but they're actually a fine fit for beginning quilters. If you can sew a straight seam, you can do this!

And... who is this Roy G. Biv?

Why is it important that they meet?

Roy G. Biv is a handy way to remember the order of the visible colors in the rainbow.

Of course, I didn't meet Roy until my kids learned about him in elementary school. In their classes they learned about rain drops and refracted light, why the sky is blue and all that stuff.

In my day, we learned why we shouldn't try to ride the T-rex, just stick with the herbivores. I'm pretty sure it was that nerd guy in my class, the one that carried his club in a pocket protector, that invented the wheel.

I've never actually done Bargello because I've never felt that organized.

But today we're changing all that! There's a first time for everything and today is that day.

Let's make a Bargello style table runner. (Yes, it's a table runner, but it would be really cute hanging on a front door. That's where mine is destined.)

And because St. Patrick's Day is nearly upon us, it's going to be hosted by our buddy Roy G. Biv.

Materials needed:

Fat Eighth (or 1 strip - 2 /12" x width of fabric) in each of the following colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
Fat Quarters in Black and Gray
Backing fabric 1/2 yard
Bosal double sided fusible (if the project will be hung) 18" square (or large enough to fit inside your cloud)
Batting 30" x 40"
Heat-n-Bond or other double sided fusible
¼ yard gold Lame` 
A word about Lame` from the manufacturer: It is not recommended to iron lame` cloth because the heat can melt metallic fibers. The same applies to a clothes dryer. Keep your lame` from direct heat or sunlight. If you have to remove wrinkles, use an iron at the lowest setting and press from the wrong side. Use a pressing cloth between the fabric and iron.
Cutting for the Bargello: 

2 identical strip sets
From the Gold Lame cut 2 strips - 1 1/2” x 20”
From each color of the cotton, cut 2 strips - 2 1/2" x 20"

Starch and carefully press the cotton strips. Don't stretch them.

Strip piece in rainbow order, top to bottom: ROYGBIV. Sew the Lame` strip to the Red strip.
Repeat to make two identical strip sets.

Carefully press all the seams in the same direction running DOWN the rainbow. Avoid ironing on the lame`.

Place the two strip sets, right sides together with the top set rotated so the Violet and Lame` strips are together at the top and bottom. 

Sew the two strip sets together at the top and bottom to create a tube.

Take the tube to your cutting mat.
Cross cut the tube

Use a fresh blade and a long ruler.

Trim one end so all the strip ends are even and there are no selvages.

Cross-cut the strip tube into 7 slices using the following measurements.
  1. 2”
  2. 2”
  3. 2 1/2”
  4. 3 1/2”
  5. 2 1/2”
  6. 2”
  7. 2”
You can toss the remaining end piece, but DON'T MOVE THE STRIPS YET.

This is where the “Gello hits the Bar”, so I recommend you watch this video before we continue.

Don't forget to come back and finish this part of the project.

I'll wait. …...

Welcome back!

So ... now you know … we are going to start Pickin' stitches and Snippin' blocks on one end of the rainbow to turn the tubes into long strips.

We'll do it systematically so we don't get into trouble later.

To begin, turn the tubes right side out, without changing the order.

Number your strip slices 1 – 7. The 3 1/2” slice in the middle is #4.

Begin with that middle slice, #4, and work the others around it.

Each color should be a half-step off from it's neighbors as in the photo.

Ready or not...!
Pop the stitches on slice #4 between the Red and Gold. Be careful not to snag the lame`.

On strips #3 and #5, pop the stitches between the Gold and Violet.

On strips #2 and #6 , cut the violet block in half.

On strips #1 and #7, pop the stitches between Violet and Indigo.

You should now have 7 strips of colors that, while laying side by side, create a lovely double rainbow with a gold strip between.

The strips won't all be the same length. We'll fix that later.

While you are all warmed up to strip piecing, strip sew those slices back together without changing the order.

Only the lame strips will match up and nest. When those are in the right place, all the others will be correctly lined up as well.

The ends will be uneven.

Sew from top to bottom.

Press. Trim the ends to a straight edge.

Your rainbow piece should measure 13 1/2” x 30” - ish.

Easy! Right?

Quilt the Rainbow

From the batting and backing fabric, cut a piece 18" x 34".

Make the quilt sandwich by laying the batting out smooth and flat. Place the backing fabric right side UP on the batting. Place the Rainbow piece face DOWN on the backing.

Pin the sandwich together.

Use the edge of the pieced top as a guide to sew the sides and bottom only using a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave the top open for turning.
Note: The photo shows only the sides sewn, not the bottom. That was a mistake I had to fix later. Oops!

Trim backing and batting to 1/2" from the seam, then trim the batting close to the stitching to reduce bulk. Clip the corners.

Turn the piece right side out. Work with the edges until everything lays straight and flat.

Top stitch  1/4" from each side. Bottom doesn't need it.

Quilt using an arch motion following the colors all the way down the quilt.

Try to do it without breaking thread so there are no tie offs.

The quilted rainbow will be about 12" x 28"

Making Templates

*NOTICE: I fused the lame` to double sided fusible using the lowest temperature as would activate the fusible. While I'm happy with the result, it is NOT recommended. If you try this, test carefully first and don't blame me if it goes badly for you
 I fused the Lame` to Bosal scraps before cutting to give the coins some dimension. If you use Bosal, you need to undercut the foam so it doesn't stick out under the applique. The second side of the bosal needed more heat to activate than I was comfortable using. I used glue to secure them for applique.

Cut 10 oval coins from (stabilized*) lame'. (Ovals give the impression of laying flat.) If you have Perfect Circles ovals this would be a great time to use them. Just be careful when pressing.

While you are working with the lame`, cut a shamrock (optional) for the front of the pot. 3 heart-tops and a stem make a good shamrock. The shamrock could also be green.

I used this coloring page enlarged to 125% for my shamrock template, 150% for ovals.
Keep trying until you like it.

Cloud and Pot o' Gold endcaps

I recommend drawing your own shapes. They are not difficult and you'll enjoy the project more knowing you drew it yourself.

The only requirement is that they should be wider than the rainbow and smaller than your FQ.

At the top of the rainbow we'll be making a rain cloud. Aim for a finished measurement of 8"x14".

If drawing your own cloud gives you a panic attack, here's a tutorial.

At the end of the rainbow, there is (obviously) a pot of gold.

I've done some Pot o' Gold research and I've discovered that the leprechaun pot is strikingly similar to a witches cauldron.

My pot is an oval with a wide top to catch the rainbow.

Again, if you just can't make yours look like you want, here's a tutorial.

Fold the fat quarters in half, right sides together

To make the endcap shapes, trace your drawing onto the back of the respective fat quarter. Cloud on the gray, Pot on black.
I just pinned the drawings onto the fabric and sewed on the lines. The paper peels off easily after sewing.
Sandwiched, Sewn, Trimmed, Ready to turn
Make the quilt sandwich by laying the batting on a flat surface, then place the two layers of fabric with the drawn lines visible.
Pin well to prevent shifting.

Sew all around the shape on the lines.
If using Bosal in the cloud: Sew the Cloud piece without any batting.
Cut out the shapes with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Trim the batting close to the stitching. Clip curves and corners as needed.

Carefully, pinch the layers of fabric apart. Cut an X in the back of the shapes. Take care to only cut ONE LAYER of fabric.
We've used this technique before. Here's Lori Holt's video tutorial for applique that uses this method as well.

Turn the shapes right side out through the hole.

Gently push out the curves and points with a point turner, chop stick or other not-pointed turner.

It may take some fiddling to get the seams to lay flat and smooth. A turning tool will help.

Finish the Pot o'Gold

Press the turned pot.

Cut a piece of double sided fusible larger than the hole you cut in the back of the pot.

Put the fusible through the hole so it lays directly onto the batting, paper side up. Press to fuse.

Remove the paper from the fusible. Replace the fabric so it comes together on the fusible. It may not be perfect but it will be close enough. Press to fuse. (I recommend using a teflon pressing pad so you don't risk getting glue on your iron.)

Top stitch around the pot 1/4" from the edges. Don't top sitich the top edge.

Machine applique the shamrock to the front of the cauldron.
TIP: When appliquéing lame', use a medium zig-zag stitch. Lame' will fray if the stitch doesn't catch enough threads on the inside. The stitch also must go all the way off the lame' to prevent fraying on the outside. A low temperature fusible stabilizer will help.
 Aurifil 2975 is an exact color match to the "nothing-special" lame' I used.
Mark a line along the bottom of the rainbow where you want the Pot o'Gold to be. Be sure the rainbow goes into the pot but doesn't show from behind.

Add any detail stitching.

Now that you know where the pot will be, applique coins to the rainbow. Hold back any you want to have overlapping the pot.

Pin the pot to the bottom of the rainbow using the marked line as a guide. Top stitch 1/4" in from the top of the pot to attach it to the rainbow.

Finish appliquéing any remaining coins.
Finish the Cloud - Table runner (find instructions for hanging sleeve below)

Finish the top edge of the rainbow with a zig sag stitch or any binding method.

Repeat the same fusing method used for the pot.

Add any detail stitching to the cloud.

Decide where you want the cloud to sit at the top of the rainbow. Be sure the rainbow doesn't show from behind the top of the cloud.

Pin securely in place.

Sew the cloud to the top of the rainbow using a 1/4" top stitch that goes all around the cloud.

Finish the Cloud - Hanging sleeve

Cut a rectangle of  Backing fabric 14" x 5" for the hanging sleeve.

Finish the 5" ends by turning the fabric 1/2", then again 1/2". Sew the edges down. This piece should finish the same width as the rainbow plus 1/8".

Fold 1 long edge over 1/2" and press to make a line.

Place the rainbow face up. Lay the hanging sleeve fabric, also face up, so it overlaps the top of the rainbow 1/2". The pressed line will be even with the top edge of the rainbow.

Glue (best method) or pin in place.

Binding and hanging sleeve in one
Turn every thing over. Loop the hanging sleeve fabric over itself so the raw edge is even with the raw edge of the rainbow.

Lay everything together and stitch along the top edge, securing the binding and hanging sleeve in one.

Add any detail stitching to the cloud.

Decide where you want the cloud to sit at the top of the rainbow.

Glue or pin the cloud in place, making sure the rainbow and hanging sleeve don't show behind. Make sure the hanging sleeve is out of the way of any stitching.

Sew the cloud to the rainbow using a top stitch 1/4" from the edge. Continue the top stitch all the way around.

If your cloud tends to lean forward slightly, press the hanging sleeve toward the cloud.  Then roll the top layer back about 1/2 inch creating a pouch that resembles a "D".

Whip stitch the top edge of the D to the back of the cloud. Don't let any of your stitches go through to the front.

For other ways of adding a hanging sleeve,  Here's a video tutorial.

And that's it! We are done. Let the Leprechaunery begin.

If you have questions or comments, leave them in the comments section below.

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Or you can contact me directly at RB.SeamlessPiecing@gmail.com


  1. I absolutely love this project too! I want to hang it on my closet door in the living room. I posted a picture on your Facebook page, of all my fabrics that I have ready. I have to admit, I had no idea what Bosal is, until I looked it up on a fabric store site.

  2. Thanks Kathy. I'm glad you like this project. It was so much fun to make. I'll be sure and put a link to Bosal. It's a fun product to use.

  3. RaeLyn, thank you for the link to the Bosal. I was going to just use batting, but I think I will try that for the experience.


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