Tapestry Crochet Therapy

January 20th, 2018

Tapestry crochet has been there for me when I needed it. This video shares some of the ways it helped me work through a difficult part of my life.

Challenge Accepted

April 15th, 2017

I accepted another challenge – this time to crochet with a smaller hook into the back loop – which produced a fourth basket (below front center).

Experimental baskets

The same thread and instructions were followed to tapestry crochet these baskets, but the hook was inserted into the back loop to crochet the front 3 baskets and into both loops to crochet the basket in the back.

The cat does not slant on the basket crocheted by yarning under (left below), but slants slightly when tapestry crocheted yarning over with a smaller hook. The motifs do not slant as much as they do in the largest basket (above far left) that was crocheted yarning over with a size 1 steel hook, so the smaller stitch lessened the slant – but did not eliminate it.

Back loop under and over

Both baskets were tapestry crocheted into the back loop, but the basket on the left was crocheted with a size 1 steel hook yarning under while the basket on the right was crocheted with a size 4 steel hook yarning over.

I don’t understand how other back loop tapestry crocheters are able achieve vertical motifs while yarning over. Mysteries never cease. I hope someone out there in cyberland can enlighten me – but please – no more challenges for now!

Apples and Oranges Update

April 3rd, 2017

After my previous post, several crocheters asked why the cats slanted on both of my first two baskets (left and center below). Motifs usually don’t slant when the hook is inserted into the back loop (center and right below). The motifs are upright in my third attempt (right). Why?

The same hook, thread, tension, and instructions were followed to tapestry crochet these baskets, inserting the hook under both loops (left) or the back loop (center and right).

The same hook, thread, tension, and instructions were followed to tapestry crochet these baskets, inserting the hook under both loops (left) or into the back loop (center and right).

Yarning under and yarning over affects the slant of the motif, so I crocheted the third basket (right above) by yarning under. This last basket turned out much smaller, the motif doesn’t slant, and the fabric is very stiff. Why? I think the stitch is tighter because I manipulated the hook differently to keep the thread from sliding off the hook. Since I’m used to yarning over, yarning under was very awkward for me to do, but I kept reminding myself that challenges like this makes new brain cells, which I sorely need.

One inside the other.

My latest tapestry crochet experiment; 3 nesting baskets.

Tapestry crochet is still teaching me new things! I especially enjoy seeing what others are doing with this fabulous technique. I wonder, what’s next?

Apples and Oranges

March 1st, 2017

The most popular way to do tapestry crochet is with the single crochet stitch, inserting the hook into the back loop or under both loops while carrying the other color(s). Each method produces a different result, with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. The choice is yours.

The same hook, thread, tension, and instructions were followed to tapestry crochet these baskets, inserting the hook under the back loop (left) or under both loops (right).

The same hook, thread, tension, and instructions were followed to tapestry crochet these baskets, inserting the hook under the back loop (left) or under both loops (right).

ME Tote

November 28th, 2016

I grew up seeing people knit and crochet in public; today it’s a rare site. I’m one of the few who continues this tradition. I love crocheting where people can see what I’m doing and it’s certainly a great conversation starter!

Experience has taught me that geometric patterns tapestry crocheted with light, contrasting colors work best for crocheting in distracting places with low light – the usual scenario. I did the first rounds of the bag pictured below at home because they were a bit more complicated – but crocheted the rest of the tote while attending a number of very interesting talks at a honey bee conference and a textile symposium. I was the only crocheter at both events, but did see a few knitters there.

ME Tote

ME Tote tapestry crocheted with Omega Nylon, 2016.

I first crocheted this geometric motif in 2013, but didn’t see the letters back then. But after crocheting a few sections this time, I noticed the conjoined letters, M and E. I like to think it was a subliminal message from my inner self; I didn’t need the affirmation in 2013, but it’s very appropriate now.


First version of the ME motif, crocheted with cotton in 2013.

I usually create both right and left-handed versions of my patterns at Patternfish, but since “ME” only manifests when crocheting right handed, I decided not to create left-handed instructions because the word would appear backwards – not good.

The new ME Tote pattern is based on the larger Leftover Bag seen next to me below. I also crocheted the Leftover Bag in public, but some of the colors were too difficult to see in the low PowerPoint lit venues where I crocheted it; lesson learned.


Beginning the handles during the 2016 Textile Society of America Symposium.

This tote was a joy to crochet. I hope you’ll give it a try – even if you find yourself crocheting in a well-lit, calm location.

Christmas Stocking Pattern

December 7th, 2015

Are you looking for a Christmas stocking pattern? The right-handed instructions for this stocking are now available on Patternfish. Both were crocheted with the same yarn and instructions, but the smaller one was felted in a washing machine.

Before and after feltingWorsted wool stockings before and after felting.

The alphabet chart included with the pattern helps personalize the stockings. Happy Holidays!

A Difficult Lesson

November 22nd, 2015

My husband stuck his head in the door last May to say, “Ten more minutes.” The sun was starting to go down, but he was almost done mowing the lawn. When he didn’t come in, I went looking for him. I couldn’t believe what I found. He had died while resting on the porch, looking out on the yard that he loved taking care of. What a shock! We never suspected he had a heart problem. I crocheted the tapestry below in his honor.

Tapestry crochet with lnen, 2015.

I’m very thankful for the 17 years we had together. We accomplished so much! My life will never be the same.

Floating Squares

February 17th, 2015

A square base, floating motifs, and pull-strap joined forces to create the unique tapestry crocheted tote seen below. The heavy fabric was produced with tight stitches tapestry crocheted with Classic Elite Provence mercerized Egyptian cotton.

Faculty Exhibit

My Floating Squares Tote on exhibit in the 2014 Tennessee Technological University Art Faculty Exhibit.

The instructions for this Floating Squares Tote are in the April 2015 issue of QUICK & EASY CROCHET ACCESSORIES, published by Crochet! Magazine. The versatile shoulder strap that keeps the bag closed is easily converted into a pair of short handles (as seen below).

Floating Squares, QUICK & EASY CROCHET ACCESSORIES, Crochet! Magazine, April 2015: 48, 49, and 107.


The magazine includes instructions for more than forty stylish accessories. I think you’ll be inspired by this special issue – so please take a look!

Bee-U-tiful Bag

January 26th, 2015

These bags were inspired by my hard working girls, who have been entertaining and teaching me since 2011. As you’ve probably heard, honey bees face a number of challenges today, including parasites, hive beetles, and diseases that were unknown in the US just a few decades ago. Pesticides and herbicides that are not supposed to bother them have weakened and killed many beneficial insects, making it difficult for them to overcome new challenges. Fortunately, my bees are quite resilient, having survived many of my well-intentioned, but stressful interventions. You see, no one agrees about how to keep or help honey bees and a procedure that works with one hive might hurt another.

bee frame

Honey bee frame showing dark nectar, yellow capped brood, and nurse bees feeding larvae.

My first design challenge was choosing the colors. All three bags in this posting were tapestry crocheted with two carried colors, which produced very sturdy fabrics. Black and yellow were the obvious choices for the bees, but what about the background?

Next, I had to figure out how to draw a honey bee motif on rounds tapestry crochet graph paper. I looked at lots of my own photos and online for inspiration, then asked friends and family which graphs they preferred. The top two choices are featured on my first attempt below.

Card Holder

First bee bag, tapestry crocheted with (discontinued) Senso cotton thread, 2012.

The bees look a little better on the next version (below), but I decided that the experimental handle on the oval-based bag was too long to hold, but awkward as a shoulder strap.


Second bag with an oval base and a split handle, (discontinued) Senso cotton, 2013.

The bees were tweaked again on the final bag (below), crocheted with Tahki Cotton Classic. Separate patterns for this bag with photos, tutorials, and graphs are now available on Patternfish for right-handed crocheters and left-handed crocheters.


Bee-U-tiful Bag, Tahki Cotton Classic, 2014.

I crocheted these bee themed bags while attending three different beekeeping conferences and look forward to showing off my Bee-U-tiful bag at the next one! I love that you can tapestry crochet just about anywhere, allowing me to combine two of my passions!


Leftover Bag

December 30th, 2014

What to do with yarn left over from other projects? How about using them to crochet this useful bag? The carried colors and tight stitches combine to form a sturdy fabric that does not need to be lined. Many types of threads or yarns could be used to make this bag. Although any number of contrasting colors would work, only four were used in this example; Coffee and Grape from the Geometry Tote and Bronze and Bone from the Handy Basket. Do you see where the Coffee ran out, just seven stitches before finishing the rim on the inside of the back handle? Such is life.

Leftover Bag

Leftover Bag, 12 1/2″ high (without the straps), Omega Espiga #18 nylon, 2014.

The flat oval spiral base is crocheted first, then when the diameter of the base is no longer increased, the edges of the spiral move upwards to form the walls. The motif is eight stitches wide, so the total number of stitches in the base is a multiple of eight. It is possible to make a variety of sizes with the same design motif simply by increasing or decreasing the size of the base.

This large, sturdy bag can be made from leftovers and hold them, too! It’s my newest pattern, with photos, tutorials, and graphs individually prepared for right-handed crocheters and left-handed crocheters.

Bag of Skulls

November 20th, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know how I feel about skulls. If not, my UnFinishedObject Bag posting will fill you in. The cylindrical UFO bag has some things in common with this one; they’re both tapestry crocheted with nylon, have skulls, and boney handles, but the Bag of Skulls has an oval base and more skulls.

Airlines allow purses of any size (within reason), so I made this one small enough to fit under an airline seat, but large enough to hold A LOT of stuff! And – the skulls are apotropaic (they scare away evil).

Bag of Skulls

Bag of Skulls, nylon, 14 1/4″ x 16″ with a 4″ wide base.

You, too, can tapestry crochet your own Bag of Skulls! Instructions for right handed crocheters and left handed crocheters are now for sale on Patternfish, a fabulous online pattern store. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Spiral Coasters

October 25th, 2014

My reversible Spiral Coasters pattern is one of more than 30 projects in Interweave’s 2015 Crochet Home! This fabulous special issue includes a variety of crochet techniques, including tapestry crochet, tunisian, fillet, and Bruges lace.


Front and back of Spiral Coasters, 4″ diameter, Nazli Gelin Garden size 3 cotton.

I hope you’ll take a look and give these coasters a try!

Felted Trail Ridge Tote

September 8th, 2014

The Fall 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet includes my felted Trail Ridge Tote, crocheted with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (50g/110yds) in Dove Heather, Firecracker Heather, and Mist.

Trail Ridge Tote in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2014.

Trail Ridge Tote in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2014 (photo by Interweave Crochet 2014).

For those who like to crochet loosely – this project is for you – since it is tapestry crocheted with a large hook and loose stitches.

Detail of the handle before it was felted.

Detail of the handle before it was felted.

The beauty of felted tapestry crochet is that the pattern is visible on the both the inside and the outside of the project. The two carried colors really bulk up the felted fabric, so no lining is needed. The tote shrinks and felts like magic in a washing machine. It is important to make the stitches loose, though, or it will not felt correctly. The flattened size of the tote before felting was 18” wide x 16” high (without the handles). The flattened size after felting the first time was 15” wide x 16” high, then after felting it again (to shrink it a little more), it was 13” wide x 14 1/2” high flattened and 12” wide x 13” high upright as seen below.

Felted Trail Ridge Tote, 12" wide x 13"high (without the handle).

Felted Trail Ridge Tote, 12″ wide x 13″ high (without the handles).

For more felted tapestry crochet projects, please take a look at my Bead & Felted Tapestry Crochet book.

Candy Cane Stocking Pattern

September 2nd, 2014

I entered the world of tapestry crochet 34 years ago with the green and red stocking below. The Dad Candy Cane Stocking shows how much my crocheting has improved since then. I wasn’t happy with the toe of the first two stockings and I didn’t like how the stripes got closer together around the heel on Betty’s stocking, so I gave it another try. I’m very happy with the new and improved Candy Cane Stocking because it has a better toe and the same amount of stitches between each stripe.

Christmas Stockings

My first TC project, Betty Stocking, and Candy Cane Stocking for Dad.

The heel was the most difficult part for me to design and crochet. While most of the stocking is worked in rounds, the heel is worked back and forth in rows. My free video shows two ways to do what I call, “flat tapestry crochet”. This technique eliminates the ridges formed from working back and forth and always places the front of the stitches on the face of the fabric.

The heel of the Candy Cane Stocking was done with the flat tapestry crochet technique.

The heel of the Candy Cane Stocking done with the flat tapestry crochet technique.

The pattern and graphs for the Candy Cane Stocking (for both right handed and left handed crocheters) are in Edie Eckman‘s new Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home, and Tree book. Alphabets for right and left handed crocheters are also included so that you can personalize your own stocking. I hope you’ll take a look at this wonderful book and give one or more of the 18 projects a try!

Sew Fine!

June 3rd, 2014

Thanks to the internet, one more person has discovered tapestry crochet, has mastered the technique, and has been discovered! Who am I talking about? Let me introduce you to Nina Reiderman and her fabulous tapestry crocheted bags.

Originally from Odessa, in the Ukraine, Nina and her family moved to Israel in 1995. Nina is a seamstress and knitter, and now she’s hooked on tapestry crochet. According to Nina, “Although once a hobby, crochet is now my passion and I devote a lot of my free time to it.” Judging from what she has accomplished over the last year, I think she must tapestry crochet day and night!

Nina explained, “In 2011 I learned about tapestry crochet when I saw pictures of Marina Gavrilov’s bags online. I was fascinated by her work. I didn’t know that you could do something that looked like fabric with a crochet hook. I started reading about it on the internet. It looked masterful and difficult, but I thought if someone else can do it, then I’ll do it, too.”

“I remembered that kippot (worn by religious men in Israel) were done with the same technique. Later I learned that tapestry crochet is known by many people.”

“In 2013 I tapestry crocheted my First Bag with a size 1/2.00 mm hook. I liked it so much that while I was making it, I was dreaming about the next one.”

Nona's first tapestry crocheted bag, May 2013.

Nina’s First Bag, wool and acrylic blend yarn, 7 1/2 x 8″ (19 x 20.5 cm), May 2013.

Like Nina, I also design my next project as I’m crocheting; the following piece often evolves from the one I’m making. I see a similar evolution in Nina’s work.

She crocheted the eye-catching bag below for a good friend with a size 4/1.75 mm hook and Adriafil Classic Azzurra, a blend of wool and acrylic. Winter Bag and First Bag are the same shape, but the new bag has a button closure and a different strap. The sturdy strap was tapestry crocheted, lined with cotton twill tape to keep it from stretching, then sewn to the rim.

Nina's Winter Bag, Adriafil Classic Azzurra yarn, 6 1/3 x 7" (16 x 18 cm), June 2013.

Nina’s Winter Bag, Adriafil Classic Azzurra yarn, 6 1/3 x 7″ (16 x 18 cm), June 2013.

With the same size 4/1.75 mm hook and Azzurra yarn, she crocheted the next bag (below) for her wonderful mother. It features a striped oval base and abstract pea motifs in pea green. The nylon strap was carefully placed machine sewn so that it perfectly lines up with slits in the rim.

Nina's Peas Bag, July 2013.

Nina’s Peas Bag, Adriafil Classic Azzurra yarn, 8 5/8 x 9 7/8″ (22 x 24 cm), July 2013.

The following bag is even more amazing. Nina mentioned that, “I like mosaic work, which there is a lot of in Israel.” In fact, the pattern on the exquisite bag below was inspired by a local mosaic.

The mosaic from Keysarii in Israel inspired the motif on Nina's bag on the right.

The mosaic from Keysarii in Israel inspired the motif on Nina’s Fans Bag.

She made this one for her lucky daughter with a size 4/1.75 mm hook and Adriafil Classic Azzurra yarn. I love all the details – and the round bottom is as visually exciting as the pleated sides!

Nina's Fans Bag, September 2013.

Nina’s Fans Bag, Adriafil Classic Azzurra yarn, 7 7/8 x 10 5/8″ (20 x 27 cm), September 2013.

Nina mentioned that, “I also find patterns in magazines. I am inspired by the work of other people.”

She recycled the motif from my Arrowhead Tote (from the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet) to create the stylish shoulder bag below, using a size 4/1.75 mm hook and Vitalgo Holiday acrylic yarn. I love the color choices and the button flap! The fringed crocheted strap was machine sewn to the bag.

Nina's Arrows bag

Nina’s Pocket Bag, Vitalgo Holiday acrylic yarn, 9 x 9 7/8″ (23 x 24 cm), February 2014.

A Paisley Chart, available from Marina Gavrilova’s online store, inspired her next bag, crocheted with a size 1/2.0 mm hook and Vitalgo Holiday acrylic yarn. Most people are afraid of sewing in zippers and linings, but they are no problem for Nina.

Nina's Paisley Bag, April 2014.

Nina’s Paisley Bag, Vitalgo Holiday acrylic yarn, 10 1/4 x 10 5/8″ (26 x 27 cm), April 2014.

Nina incorporated the Dancing Raven chart from Marina Gavrilova’s online store into a zippered shoulder bag that she tapestry crocheted with a size 1/2.0 mm hook and acrylic yarn.

Nina's Bird Bag, May 2014.

Nina’s Dancing Raven Bag, acrylic yarn, 9 7/8 x 9″ (25 x 23 cm), May 2014.

Nina machine-sewed grosgrain ribbon to the back of the strap to reinforce it.

Dancing Raven strap

Back and front of the Dancing Raven Bag strap, single crocheted in the back loop without carried color.

Below, Nina is tapestry crocheting a Dragonfly Bag from a chart that she found online. The concentration that tapestry crochet requires is very meditative and the repetitive motion releases endorphins, which reduce pain and stress.

Nina Reiderman tapestry crocheting

Nina Reiderman tapestry crocheting her Dragonfly Bag.

Dragonfly Chart

Dragonfly chart, beginning of the Dragonfly Bag, yarn and handled hook.

Nina says that, “I never crochet when I am in a bad mood. I try to do it when I am in a good mood so that the person for whom I am making the bag will feel my positive emotions.”

The fashionable shapes, colorful motifs, and tailored details really make Nina’s bags stand out! She will post photos of her new masterpieces on the Ravelry (where she is know as nenaray) and Facebook Tapestry Crochet Group pages. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does next!