Figuring out what counted thread and freestyle are, or how bargello differs from both? Learn more about these embroidery stitches with our illustrated guide. Hand embroidery is beautiful and has so many different styles. There are no universal classification methods as every culture has their own take on stitches and techniques. This guide introduces some of the most common ways to categorize hand embroidery, based on cultural origins: counted threads, whitework and freestyle.
In counted-thread embroidery, each design is made with a predetermined number of stitches. These are often simple, repeated patterns that are created by combining individual stitches onto an evenly woven fabric. The embroidery style may be done on a fabric that's still visible or completely covered up, depending on the pattern. This includes the following: The Bargello stitch is a needlework design that predominantly uses a single vertical stitch called the Florentine stitch. This type of needlepoint is primarily characterized by the use of 'two up' and 'two down' stitches to form bands, or waves. The origins of this style are uncertain, but it is thought to have gained prominence in Florence during the Italian Renaissance. It was traditionally used to make domestic upholstery.