Saturday, July 4, 2015

Punto Risparmiato - Split Stitch Needlepainting

When I think of Needlepainting embroidery I usually think of the Long and Short Stitch. There are many talented embroiderers around the world who make the most beautiful pictures with this stitch.

When I was first translating Italian needlework terminology, I came across Punto Risparmiato which is the Split Stitch and I noticed that traditionally and historically it seemed a lot more prevalent in Italian needlework than in North American embroidery for example. I mistakenly thought that it was old-fashioned or perhaps little used today versus during our mother's and grandmother's days. As I was searching out typically Italian needlework techniques, I basically ignored and/or discounted this stitch as not very interesting.

Boy was I wrong. Now, I don't know about other countries or even much about North America but the Italians have done some breathtaking things with Punto Risparmiato and since that is what we concern ourselves with here at Italian Needlework, let's talk a bit about that.

Punto Risparmiato is the Split Stitch as I mentioned above, but "risparmiare" is the verb "to save" as in "to economize on". If you look at the back of the work, you can see that there is not as much thread coverage on the back as there is in say, Long and Short Stitch or Satin Stitch or even Straight Stitch embroidery. Threads are expensive, especially silk threads so it makes sense to use Punto Risparmiato when creating a Needlepainting picture.

Laura Boglione of Il Club del Ricamo e Arti Femminili di Grosseto in Tuscany has recently published a didactic manual packed full of tips and advice for using Il Punto Risparmiato.

This little manual is 63 pages and has more than a dozen designs for projects as well as step-by-step big colour photos and explanations for a few other complimentary stitches to use alongside Punto Risparmiato.

One of the projects from Il Punto Risparmiato by Laura Boglione.

Clicking on the photo of the book cover will take you to where you can see a preview of a few of the book's pages.

One of four vignettes of the Tuscan countryside from the book.

I had never considered Split Stitch for Needlepainting before and it's got me thinking that maybe it's something that I could do as my own experiments with Long and Short Stitch have been a little haphazard to say the least. I think with Punto Risparmiato being a little more regulated, I would feel more comfortable and less afraid. In the introduction of the book Signora Boglione says that the stitch is quickly learned and there are very few "rules" for execution. A versatile and manageable stitch that can be used on many kinds of fabric. It is a perfect stitch for allowing freedom when executing it, thus leaving the designs open to each embroiderer's own creativity and taste.

This book is available direct from the Italian publisher NuovaS1, they take PayPal or you can get it from Lacis in the U.S.  Text in Italian.


  1. One more tentation! Thanks Jeanine. I haven't ever known about split stitch needle painting. Embroidery has so many exquisite things to learn or just to see/observe

  2. Fantastico questo post, non conoscevo il punto risparmiato. Ma quando ho visto gli esempi nel libro della sIgnora bAglione, mi è venuto in mente che mia madre aveva certi tovaglioli i con un fiore ricamato a mano in un angolo da una signora che ci seguiva da bambine. Ed io mi meravigliavo perché sul retro quasi non si vedeva il filo!

  3. Mi piace molto questo punto, permette di fare delle cose bellissime. Complimenti all'autrice del libro, Laura Boglione. Ciao Jeanine!

  4. Another fantastic book from NuovaS1.