First Fishie Experiment Finished…

The background of freeform Bargello was rather entertaining to do. Working using nine strands of stranded cotton allowed for some subtlety in the colours, combining various blues and greens in different proportions and shading them into one another, sometimes gradually, sometimes stongly. I was surprised, sometimes, when progressively adding a particular colour, to find that it didn’t make as much difference as I expected – but this is why we experiment!

Once I came to the Fishie himself, there was a bit of puzzlement. I wanted to have a different pattern for the head, the fins and tail, and the body. I wanted a vaguely “scale-like” pattern, and I wanted to make sure that the stitches were at a different orientation to the water.

I settled on Moorish Stitch for the body, Mosaic Stitch for the head, and Encroaching Gobelins Stitch for the fins and tail. And I left in the tacked outlines. They only show in a few places, and I think they give the impression of sketched lines, which is quite suitable for an exploratory piece. I’ve also left out the eyes, since I’m looking from above.

Looking at it now, I’m pleased with the sense of flowing water that the bargello nearly creates, and the fish is interesting, but maybe not entirely successful. Some of the edges and joining points are a little clumsy – but that may be because this is an experiment, thrown together to see what I learn.

I’ve had at least one idea for another fishy experiment, so you will be seeing more of this sort of thing…

And indeed, Episode 54 of SlowTV Stitchery describes the beginning of the Second Fishy Experiment, in which I begin a second fishy experiment, this one attempting to give the impression of the fish seen through water, making some slight changes to the form of the freeform bargello, and anticipating tussles with my very leftoverish leftover thread.


  1. Jen Mullen says:

    It gives the effect of looking into the pool and seeing the fish moving through the water. Well done!

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I think your second fishy is off to a good start. The broken edges will be interesting.
    Of course you can change blends in mid row! Slight changes give a bit more variety. Change the proportions of colours, add and subtract a few threads to alter the colour dimensions and the degree of “roughness” in the colour blend. There’s no rule that says that freestyle bargello has to have every row different from its neighbour and every row consistent. Play it by ear.

  3. Carolyn Foley says:

    i like the feeling of movement you have created.

  4. I agree with Carolyn, you have got nice movements, both in the flow of the water and the fishie himself.

  5. Meredithe says:

    Looks good! I’d give that experiment a big tick ✅

  6. Lady Fi says: