Florentine work, also known as bargello, is a popular form of needlepoint. It forms zigzag patterns, referred to as flame stitch, and is always worked in lots of different colours. Though named after the Italian city of Florence, it is thought to have originated in Hungary. Florentine stitch consists of a series of stepped vertical stitches, worked on canvas, typically over four threads. Here it has been used to make a stylish cover for your favourite notebook and a handy wallet. You could even cover a chair or cushion, simply by adjusting the size of the chart.
- Zweigart 14 count interlock canvas
- Backing fabric
- Narrow bias binding, 35cm
- PVC scraps
- Tapestry frame (optional)
- Tapestry wool, bright colours
- Tapestry needle, size 22 or 24
- Coordinating sewing thread
- Elastic, 40cm
- Notebook cover: 20cm x 25cm
- Wallet: 10cm x 14cm
Stitch a notebook cover
1 Cut 25cm x 30cm of canvas and stretch on a frame if you’re using one. Open out a notebook and place it cover side down on the canvas. Mark a line all round, 8mm away from the edge, using a pencil, an erasable marker, or a line of running stitch.
2 Download and print the pattern charts. Thread a tapestry needle, and starting in the centre of the canvas, work the first row, following the chart. As you begin to stitch, leave a short length of yarn at the back of the work, trapping it under the first few stitches to secure it.
3 Once the first row is complete, work from the centre of the design outwards. Use a contrasting colour to complete the next row, continuing like this changing shade on each, or working two rows using the same hue if you wish, to add variety to the pattern.
4 When you come to each end of the design area, you will need to work a few incomplete rows to create a straight edge - use the chart to guide you. Remove the canvas from the frame and trim it to a margin of five holes all round. Add a border of straight stitch in cream yarn.
5 Cut 22cm x 27cm of backing fabric and place it right side up. Cut four 10cm lengths of elastic and pin in position across each corner. Lay the embroidered canvas face down on top, lining up the edges.
6 Pin, tack, then stitch around three sides, close to the edge of the embroidered area, trapping the ends of the elastic in the seam. Clip the corners, trim the seam allowance, then turn out. Tuck in the raw edges on the open side and slipstitch together.
Make a wallet
1 Work the needlepoint pattern using the smaller chart. Once complete, trim the canvas to within five holes of the stitched area all round. Cut 16cm x 20cm from backing fabric and place right side up. Snip two 8cm x 12cm pieces of PVC and bind one long edge of each with narrow bias binding.
2 Place the PVC pieces on the backing fabric, ensuring that the two bound edges of the pockets are in the centre, 8mm apart. Lay the canvas face down on top and pin, tack, then stitch round three sides, close to the edge of the embroidery. Turn right side out, tuck in the raw edges on the open side and slipstitch together.