5 May 2022

Free Blackwork Valentine's Heart Pattern


Free Blackwork Valentine's Heart Pattern

Why Use Blackwork Embroidery?

A sister to cross-stitching, blackwork is a beautiful form of embroidery that was hugely popular in Tudor England. With a romantic look, blackwork is ideal for patterns like this Valentine's heart. I added a contemporary twist by working with red instead of the traditional black. Blackwork is quick, easy, and takes very few craft supplies to do. It's ideal for people who are new to cross-stitch or are looking for a beautiful yet affordable gift. I hope you enjoy this pattern!

What You'll Need

  • Stranded cotton in bright red (DMC shade #321)
  • 18 count white Aida cross-stitch fabric, approximately 7x7"
  • 1x Cross stitch embroidery needle
  • Scissors
  • Small frame with 4x4" aperture (optional)

Blackwork Valentine's Heart Chart
Blackwork Valentine's Heart Chart

Heart Key

DMC Thread
Light Red
Bright Red (1 strand)
321 (1 strand)
Dark Red
Bright red (2 strands)
321 (2 strands)

What Is Blackwork Embroidery?

Blackwork is counted stitching in a repetitive geometric pattern. It's used to cover large areas of linen or counted fabric. Using a double running stitch, the designs use straight lines, detailed patterns, and different thread thicknesses to create a sense of depth and texture. It was traditionally only stitched in black silk (hence the "blackwork" in the name). Modern designs make use of a wide variety of thread colors and types.

Because you're essentially stitching a lacy pattern, blackwork is quick and adds a beautiful effect to any project, including garments. In fact, this was the main reason for its invention. Originally, blackwork was done on linen fabric because of its even weave, which made making uniform stitches easier. Nowadays, blackwork is less used as garment decoration and more for creating pictures to hang on the wall. Most blackwork today is created using special stitching fabric called Aida, normally used for cross-stitch, which has evenly-spaced holes.

A Brief History of Blackwork

The earliest known examples of blackwork embroidery date from 13-15th century Egypt and was found on linen discovered during excavations.

Blackwork's most famous fans were the English Tudors, with Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragon bringing many intricately stitched garments from Spain. Queen Elizabeth I then inspired many people to carry on the trend of blackwork-adorned clothing and furnishings, developing a more English style with lots of flora and fauna that were more free-flowing than the original linear Spanish style. Blackwork was most often used to embellish the cuffs and collars on dresses. This wasn't purely for decoration, as it helped strengthen delicate fabrics.

The demand for blackwork had a dip in the 17th century, replaced by new technologies and techniques (such as beading). However, it experienced a revival at the end of the century and has enjoyed a steady following. It is still not as popular as it's close relative, cross-stitch, but it is gaining popularity with the demand for quick, simple, and affordable crafts.

Additional Heart Patterns

Please feel free to use and share the link to this page, but do not replicate or sell this pattern. This heart is the first in a series of three designs for Valentine's Day. Complete all three for a beautiful yet simple display or gift.

I'd love to know how you get on with the design and what you do with it when it's finished, so please let me know below.

Bargello Valentine's Day Heart: Free Cross-Stitch Pattern

bargello heart free cross-stitch pattern
bargello heart free cross-stitch pattern

How to Cross Stitch a Bargello-Patterned Heart 

Bargello is a beautifully elegant pattern, and it's ideal for the third and final pattern in this romantic set of cross-stitch hearts for Valentine's Day. (See the other two patterns in the links at the end of this article.) This pattern is quick and easy to follow, and the short list of materials makes it an attractive yet affordable handmade gift for someone you love. Beautiful by itself or as a set with the other two designs, this heart in various shades of red would make a lovely seasonal decoration. You could even experiment with different colour combinations to create a wall decoration for different times of the year. How about using red, green, gold and blue for a Christmas theme? 

What You'll Need 

  • Stranded cotton in:
  • dark red (DMC #814), 
  • bright red (DMC #321), 
  • pale red (DMC #3721) and 
  • White (DMC #B5200) 
  • White 18 count Aida fabric, approximately 7x7" 
  • Cross stitch sewing needle 
  • Scissors 
  • Frame with a 4x4" aperture (optional)
bargello heart free cross-stitch pattern
bargello heart free cross-stitch pattern

Cross-Stitch Key

Dark red
814 (2 strands)
Bright red
321 (2 strands)
Pale red
3721 (2 strands)
Reddish white
3721 (1 strand) + B5200 (1 strand)
Backstitch Outline
Dark red
814 (1 strand)

What Is Bargello?

Bargello is traditionally a pattern created using long stitches, and it is likened to flames with an elongated zig-zag. Because of the use of long stitches, Bargello is quick to put together, making it a popular pattern choice for large areas such as seat covers and wall hangings. There are limitless variations of Bargello, using different widths between peaks and colour variations. So while the pattern is technically very simple and mathematical, it can be customized to your needs.

The pattern given here is an interpretation based on the finished effect of Bargello, but it uses whole cross-stitches to create each line rather than the original long stitch.

Other Names

Bargello has several other names, including:

  • flame stitch
  • Florentine stitch
  • Byzantine work
  • Hungarian point

A Brief History of Bargello

The name for this particular type of embroidery originated from chairs found in the Bargello Palace, Florence. The technique was used on the seat cushions. The pattern experienced a huge revival in the 1970s, but the earliest known uses of the stitch actually date back to the 15th century.

The original works of Bargello traditionally used woollen threads on a sturdy canvas, especially because it was mainly used for soft furnishing and needed to be durable. Today, the Bargello stitch is created using a wide variety of threads on fine and sturdy canvases alike. One of the most popular threads today for this stitch is Perle cotton, which has a beautiful silky sheen.

Bargello stitch has always usually been a vertical pattern, but needle-workers today have experimented with different directions.

Cross-Stitch Valentine's Day Hearts

This bargello heart pattern is the third in a series of free cross-stitch patterns for Valentine's Day. The full set includes:

  • Blackwork heart
  • Gingham heart
  • Bargello heart

I created these designs myself. Please feel free to share the link to this page, but do not reproduce or sell the pattern in any way. If you have ever worked Bargello or have used the pattern above, please do tell us about it below and leave a comment!