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 handle).

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!

Bead Felted

February 22nd, 2014

Have you seen Michele Maks’ wonderful new crochet pattern subscription site, Mainly Crochet? For more about this innovative business venture, take a look at Michele’s blog and Mainly Crochet’s Facebook page.

Mainly Crochet Tapestry Set

MainlyCrochet.com‘s Felted Tapestry Set (photo by Don Patty).

I’m thrilled that my bead felted tote and matching cosmetic bag are now included in Mainly Crochet’s pattern inventory. The tote is fully reversible because of the seamless one piece construction and the fact that the motif is integrated into the fabric as it is tapestry crocheted. One side has beads and the other is plain, so it’s two totes in one!

Felted Tapestry Crochet Bag before

Tapestry crochet tote before felting, 13″ high by 18″ wide, worsted wool.

Large, loose stitches felt wonderfully in a washing machine. The carried yarn makes the fabric durable, so no lining is necessary.

Bead Felted Tapestry Crochet Bag

Bead side of the tapestry crochet tote before felting, 13″ high by 18″ high, worsted wool and size 5 triangular glass beads from Fire Mountain Gems.

Glass beads are heavy, so I only put them as accents in the squares and on the arms of the crosses, for a subtle sparkle.

Felted Tapestry Crochet Bag detail

Detail of the plain (on the left) and beaded sides of the tapestry crochet fabric before felting.

Felted Tapestry Crochet Bag

Finished felted tapestry crochet tote, 12 1/2″ high by 14 1/2″ wide, worsted wool.

Bead Felted Bag

Finished beaded felted tapestry crochet tote, 12 1/2″ high by 14 1/2″ high, worsted wool and glass beads.

As usual, I experimented and made a large swatch (below) before crocheting the above bag. As you can see in the before and after pictures, the tapestry crocheted fabric shrinks more horizontally than it does vertically. The loose stitches allow specks of black to show in the white and white dots the black – but large stitches are necessary for successful felting. No problem for me because I actually like the “tweedy” look.

Tapestry Crochet Swatch

Tapestry crochet swatch – before and after felting.

I had to experiment with the cosmetic bag, too. Each of the finished bags (below on the right) have a zipper closure.

Before After Tapestry Crochet Bags

Tapestry crochet cosmetic bags before and after felting. My first attempt is on top.

I hope you’ll give this Felted Tapestry Set a try. If you have never done felted tapestry crochet, you might consider making a Felted Amulet Bag, the free introductory felting project linked to my web page that includes online instructions and a video tutorial. Please also take a look at my Bead & Felted Tapestry Crochet book and web page for more inspiration.

More Tapestry Crochet Digital

February 10th, 2014

Now that the first edition of my More Tapestry Crochet book is out of print, I decided to update it and sell the second edition through Amazon’s Kindle program.

Converting the book into a digital format was actually a LOT MORE work than I anticipated. After creating new graphs for left handed crocheters, colorizing most of the illustrations and replacing the black and white photos with color images – I had to resize all the text and pictures.

I performed the entire process myself, so I did not have to pay anyone to do that enormous task. I was surprised that it took almost as long to prepare the Kindle document as it did to lay out the original print version, though!

Digital conversion was quite a learning experience, especially after Amazon changed all the fonts to “Times” and split the words in large fonts to fit on the small screen. Fortunately, I was able to resize and resubmit an updated version – one of the many benefits of digital publishing. No more errata sheets since it’s easy to fix mistakes!

Another great advantage of digital publishing is that thousands of books do not have to be printed, stored, and shipped on demand. And – this digital edition includes links in the text to suppliers and to my online videos. Additionally, this e-book is for sale on Amazon.com sites in Europe, the Americas, and Asia!

The small size of the screen is not great, though. Hopefully, readers will use a larger screen than I did to read the Kindle edition. Also, hopefully, their screens will not be black and white because the color illustrations and pictures look fabulous!

Because the digital edition does not have printing and shipping costs, I was able to set the Kindle price at $9.99. I chose to let people who previously bought the print edition of More Tapestry Crochet from Amazon to be able to buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99. I also chose to let purchasers lend their copies to another person for two weeks. In addition, this digital book is included in Amazon’s lending library and has “text to speech” enabled, too.

Also – you don’t need an Amazon Kindle to read this ebook! With Amazon’s free App, you can read Kindle books on an Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, too!

So, now it’s wait and see what happens! I look forward to hearing your opinions about this Kindle edition of More Tapestry Crochet.

Drawn In Bags

January 27th, 2014

If you haven’t seen Marina Gavrilov’s striking tapestry crochet, then you’re in for a treat! I first noticed her wonderful bags on the “recently shared projects” window of the Ravelry Tapestry Crochet group. Lots of great items pop up there, but almost every time I linked to something that caught my attention, it was by RuskaM (her Ravelry name).

Marina describes herself as “. . . a mathematician by education but I am also a great lover of fine arts and crafts. One of my true pleasures is making tapestry crochet bags. I love their woven-like texture but I love “weaving” a story into a pattern most. Like a story, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out in the end, how the colours will compliment each other to make a stunning result.”

When I asked Marina how she discovered it – she explained, “I learned tapestry crochet when I was about 12 years old from my grandmother who was a great crafter. I have to add that I came from a culture (Russia) with a strong tradition in handcrafts. Tapestry crochet is called jacquard in Eastern Europe. I didn’t realize at the time the full potential of this technique. It took me half a lifetime and crossing the ocean to come to my lighting moment. A few years ago I came across your blog that changed my life. The tapestry crochet world was suddenly filled with so much colour and happiness! I could spend hours just browsing wonderful works by other artists. A few years ago my hubby bought me two of your books for my birthday. I was the happiest women on earth! I knew the technique but the book opened up my mind and unleashed my imagination. There are still several things I need to learn from your book, e.g. flat tapestry crochet and crochet with beads.”

MRuskaHibiscusBag

Marina, Hibiscus Drawstring Bag, 2.75 mm (C) hook, Red Heart Super Soft and Comfort Sport yarn, January 2012.

How does she find the time to crochet? She responded, “I have so little time between my day job as an IT manager, my family, and my community work that I try to spend every free minute doing what I love most – designing charted patterns and crocheting.”

“I love to crochet bags. Since tapestry crochet is my favourite technique making bags is the most natural choice. Besides I like making something very functional and not too bulky. I am a small accessories girl, afghans and coats are not my forté. Although I admire people having so much patience and diligence!”

MRuskaHarmonyBag

Marina, Harmony Drawstring Bag, 3.00 mm hook, Patons Shetland Ragg K.W., acrylic, and Red Heart Super Soft yarn, February 2012.

She shared her love for the craft by saying that the colors and textures attracted her. “I always loved woven-like fabric and traditional folk art and crafts. They are so rich in vibrant colours and carry timeless stories of generations and civilizations that have past! I am inspired by traditional South American indigenous tribal (mochila) bags. In my art I try to bring together traditional and modern western art. So I take the shape and design of mochila bags and put, for example, art nouveau or art deco designs on them. In my view tapestry crochet opens up a lot of opportunities for new ideas and creativity. It allows you to self-express, weave your own story, to be unique and yet continue the traditional line of this craft.”

Describing the below bag, Marina explained that the “Red drops were worked using the intarsia method. One of my personal favourite bags!”

M Ruska, Purple Cats Eye Lucky Charm Drawstring Bag, May 2012.

Marina, Purple Cats Eye Lucky Charm Drawstring Bag, 3.00 mm hook, variegated gold metallic, Red Heart Super Saver and Bernat Softee Baby yarn, May 2012.

Where does she get her yarn? She replied, “I mostly use yarn I found in thrift stores. If a design calls for a specific colour I buy it at a local yarn store. I prefer a more rustic feel to yarn and often use twine or thin rope. However, most of the time I just do with what I have – be it wool, acrylic, nylon thread, cotton or any combination of those.”

MRuskaBlossomBag

Marina, Blossom Drawstring Bag, 3.00 mm hook, Patons North America Decor yarn, November 2012.

Describing the below bag, Marina said, “The pattern turned out better than expected! I had to adjust the chart for slanted stitches (the chart has been updated!). The chart was very easy to use and to memorize. Lots of fun!”

MRuskaFloralGarland

Marina, Floral Garland Drawstring Bag, 2.75 mm (C) hook, Yarns Brunswick KW Jewel Tones yarn, January 2013.

What hook sizes does Marina like to use? She says, “I crochet pretty tight with sizes 2.75 mm or 3 mm most of the time.”

MRuskaGreenPlumageBag

Marina, Green Plumage Bag, Red Heart Comfort Sport yarn and gold metallic yarn, 2.75 mm (C) hook, February 2013.

How big are Marina’s projects? She says, “My bags usually measure 31 cm (12.5″) in diameter and 34 cm (14″) high. I try to design my charts in sizes that fit within 65-75 rows (optimal height of a bag). No need to re-calculate and re-design!”

About the bag below, Marina said, “This bag was quite challenging to make. However, it was definitely worth the effort!”

MRuskaDancingRavenBag

Marina, Dancing Raven Drawstring Bag, Red Heart Super Saver and Eaton’s Fisherman Knit Aran and acrylic yarn, 3.00 mm hook, March 2013.

I love that the bottoms of Marina’s drawstring bags are just as interesting as the sides!

MRuskaCatsEyeFlowerLuckyCharmBag

Marina, Cats Eye Flower Lucky Charm Drawstring Bag, Bernat Softee Solid Chunky yarn, 3.25 mm (D) hook, April 2013.

Marina finds inspiration everywhere. She explains, “I listen to the voice of my soul and allow my heart to lead me on my next design adventure. All of my designs are adjusted to create tapestry crochet projects although they can be used for any counted craft: cross stitch, filet crochet, knitting, mosaic, beading, etc.”

“I’ve been making crafts my whole life. From knitting, crocheting, embroidery, macrame to mosaic and stained glass, – I’ve done it all! Lately I’ve been designing my own patterns that I hope you will find inspirational for your own projects!”

Marina’s graphs can be adapted for a variety of media. She explained that, “The graph (below) was designed in memory of my mother-in-law who lost the battle against breast cancer and to support those men and women who are still fighting the battle. It is a free download on Ravelry.”

MRuskaHeartRibbon

Marina, Heart Ribbon Graph

Does she sell her bags? Not yet – she explained that, “I have been giving away my bags and other items to my friends and family. I also have lots of completed items piled up at home. I will probably try to sell some of them but have to think how to organize this whole business. I am more into designing and making than selling.”

Marina does sells her graphs and tapestry crochet bag patterns on both Ravelry and Etsy, though. She describes the below bag as “A fashionable fun and trendy accessory or a truly unique gift! This pattern is easy to customize to fit any tablet or a lap-top. The final size is 9.5” x 11.5”. The strap’s length is 34”. Please keep in mind that yarn selection and hook size may alter the finished dimensions.”

“Personally, tapestry crochet helped me in the most difficult time of my life. It re-balanced my world-view and helped me prioritise my values. I now see the world in bright colours. It re-sparked my interest in local cultures and people. I would love to connect with other tapestry crochet enthusiasts in a physical world. I am open to communication (at ruskamg@gmail.com) and cooperation. I am also interested in cultural tours to explore this wonderful craft around the world!”

That sound great to me! I hope we cross paths someday soon.

An Extraordinary Man

January 15th, 2014

Let me introduce you to an articulate and talented artist who celebrates his heritage every day.  Many people know him as Diego Juárez Viveros, but he is Atlachinocolotl Paquiliztli on Facebook and in the dance community.  

He moved from Michoacán, México, to the United States when he was 4 years old. As you will see, he has accomplished quite a lot since then!

por

Atlachinocolotl Paquiliztli, 2005, and his tapestry crocheted Aztec Dancer, Red Heart acrylic yarn, 5′ x 2’6″, 2013.

He explains, “All of my life, I have stood out for being out of the ordinary for many reasons. I stood out in school for my excellence in academic achievement. Despite growing up in a family with low economic means, I have found ways to become successful. After graduating from high school with an outstanding academic record, I pursued a biochemistry degree at University of California, San Diego and graduated in 2008.  I then decided to pursue a career in pharmacy and I was accepted to University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy.  In September 2013, I completed the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program.” 

“I put a lot of passion in everything I do.  Aside from crochet, I am interested in astronomy, photography, technology, and learning languages. I speak Spanish and English very fluently. I am currently learning Nahuatl. Nahuatl is an agglutinative language, which means that words are constructed by combining word particles in order to form single ideas.  My name can be broken down as “atl” + “tlachinolli” + “colotl”, which mean “water”+ “burnt” + “scorpion”, respectively. My name means Burnt Water Scorpion.  “Paquiliztli” means happiness.”

Atlachinocolotl Paquiliztli’s unique tapestries are crocheted back and forth, but instead of showing the back of the stitches on every other row, the face of his fabric shows only the front of the stitches. There are a few ways to accomplish this, so I asked him how he did it. He explained, “When I crochet in the opposite direction, I crochet backwards just like it is described in your book. I hold the right side forward and the wrong side toward me. Then I use my right hand to crochet. You can see a little in the photograph of me crocheting that way (below).”

crocheting

Atlachinocolotl crocheting across the back of his Aztec Dancer with Red Heart acrylic yarn, 2012.

“In 2010, I saw my mother crocheting a piece and I asked her to show me how to crochet. She showed me how to do single crochet and, instantly, I was hooked (hehe). I started experimenting with crocheting that day. I wanted to know more. So I bought some books to learn the basics of crochet. I made some rather simple projects at first. After much experimentation and exploration, a vision of what I wanted started to take hold: I wanted to recreate pictures with crochet. I set off on a quest to find out more information about switching colors but I could only find basic instructions. I started making basic pieces with two colors to experiment at first. I created charts using square graphs. The designs came out okay, but I wasn’t satisfied.”

“The piece below was my first attempt at creating a tapestry crochet piece (at that time, I didn’t know the term). The pattern was modeled on a square graph paper.  The piece was crocheted with double crochet stitches, using blue and white Omega Crys yarn.   While creating this project, I learned the basics of switching colors to create a pattern. 

white blue
Bag, Omega Crys acrylic and polyester yarn, 8″ x 8″, 2010.

“One day, I came across your videos on YouTube. That is how I realized that pictures could be reproduced using tapestry crochet. I began to experiment. My first major crochet piece (The Aztec Dancer) was modeled on a square graph. With this project I began to understand the intrinsic structure of single crochet and figuring out how to reduce bleeding of colors. I realized a square graph is not an adequate model for tapestry crochet but that the stitches are better Erica the Mexican Folkloric Dancer modeled by a hexagonal graph. I spent an entire day figuring out how to overlay a hexagonal graph over a picture in Photoshop. Once I figured that out, I had a working model.”

Atlachinocolotl Paquiliztli Dancer

Graph, front, and back of Erica the Mexican Folkloric Dancer.

“I then started crocheting. With this most current project, I refined my technique more and created ways to make lines crisper with single crochet.” He describes the Erica the Mexican Folkloric Dancer tapestry in a short YouTube video.

3' x 6' tapestry

Erica the Mexican Folkloric Dancer, Red Heart acrylic yarn, 3′ x 6′, 2013.

When I asked about his yarn and hook preferences, he said, “It depends on the type of project I will be making.  In general, I prefer bright colors so I pick yarn brands that provide those colors. For projects that require fine detail, I like to use Omega Crys, which is a fine yarn (size 10) made of 68% acrylic and 32% polyester. It is imported from Mexico and is available in a wide variety of bright colors.  For fine projects I use a 2.00 mm hook.  For bigger projects, such as the colorful blankets I have made, I use Red Heart yarn (size 4) with a Size E hook.”

For his newest piece, Atlachinocolotl Paquiliztli digitized his own scorpion drawing with a pen tool, then layered a hexagonal graph over it in Photoshop.

graph

Atachinocolotl’s scorpion graph.

unfinished

Colotl Scorpion in progress, Omega Crys acrylic and polyester yarn, 2013.

“This is my most recent piece.  I crocheted it with a 2.00mm hook and tapestry single crochet techniques.  This project is different from my previous projects for two reasons. This is the first time in which I have incorporated beads in a project. It is also the first time in which I joined another fabric in the back in order hide the yarn that I carry in the back.”

Atlachinocolot lPaquiliztliWithScorpion

Atlachinocolotl Paquiliztli and Colotl Scorpion, OmegaCrys acrylic and polyester yarn and glass beads, 7′ 3″ x 8 3/4″, 2013.

 ”After seeing the huge online response to my work, I intend to teach about my technique.  After comparing my results with those of others, I realized that my techniques allow for crisper edges with single crochet.  I plan on writing an ebook in iBooks format. This book will include pictures, text and video explaining my technique.  It will have designs inspired by my Mexican background.  It will include the patterns for the Aztec Dancer and the Mexican Folkloric Dancer as well as some more of my ideas.  I am currently undergoing a huge life transition since I have just graduated from pharmacy school.  You should expect to see my book within 1-2 years.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Atalachinocolotl Paquiliztli’s future work - both his tapestry crochet and his publications!

Knot a Hat Thinking Cap

October 25th, 2013

You can find the pattern of my Thinking Cap in the 2014 issue of Crochet Accessories. I submitted photos of the red and white Knot a Hat (below) to Interweave. They sent me Pavlova and Kiwi colored Kenzie yarn to tapestry crochet the hat for them, then tweaked the name of the project.

Red Tapestry Crochet Hat

Proposed Knot a Hat

This playful hat was inspired by the blue baby beanie (below) that Maarit Aalto gave me in 2005 at the Crochet Days Conference in Finland. Instead of starting at the top, crocheting begins at the rim. The rounds spiral around towards the top, so the tail can be as long or short as you wish!

Tapestry crochet hats

Tapestry crocheted hats begun at the rim.

This year’s edition of the magazine is full of other fun projects, too, so I hope you’ll take a look and give this knotty project a try!

Much Ado About Something!

August 21st, 2013

It’s in the press and all over the airwaves – but in case you haven’t heard, next week is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington! Martin Luther King‘s dream is slowly becoming a reality. We are not there yet, but we’re much further down the road towards equality than we were fifty years ago!

. . . I still have a dream . . . , tapestry crocheted cotton, 27" x 56", 1983.

. . . I still have a dream . . . , tapestry crocheted cotton, 27″ x 56″, 1983.

One of Twenty

July 24th, 2013

I’m proud to say that Gwen Blakley Kinsler included my tapestry crochet and me in her wonderful new  book!

Fine art of Crochet

The Fine Art of Crochet doesn’t have crochet patterns, but instead focuses on the individual stories of twenty artists who use crochet as their medium. Gwen included several photos of my work, but could not include everything she mentioned.  No problem, though, because my Self Portrait, Mothers Advice Pearls, Mothers Advice Harvest, and our house can be seen online. Unfortunately, the Hidden in Plain Sight book she mentioned has still not been published – someday soon, I hope!

Gwen had a difficult time getting this book printed because publishers assumed it would not be a hot seller. Please prove them wrong and show your support by either purchasing a copy or by requesting that your library do so.  Currently, Amazon.com has both the paperback and kindle editions for the lowest prices.

Congratulations, Gwen, for making your dream come true (and thanks for including me, too)!

Vogue Tote

May 13th, 2013

Have you seen the new Vogue Knitting Crochet? My tote is one of thirty four projects in the stylish 2013 special edition of the magazine. Members of Ravelry can see all the accessories, skirts, tops, and dresses here.

As usual, I experimented first. After finishing the brown and white bag, I emailed a project proposal with a photo to Vogue. They liked it – sent me a contract and several skeins of Prism Windward yarn – and voilá!

First and final version.

The first version is on the left, in front of the Vogue Knitting Crochet Tote on the right.

Their photo looks much better, don’t you think?

Tapestry Crochet Tote in Vogue

Tapestry Crochet Tote in Prism Windward and Windward Layers, Vogue Knitting Crochet 2013 (photo by Rose Callahan).

I hope you’ll take a look and give this project – and some of the others – a try!

Just in time for summer!

 

Kippot

April 18th, 2013

Today I received this email that I thought you would enjoy:

“Many years ago, you and I corresponded. I had been looking for the key to incorporating different colors into kippot/yarmulkes, and had been asking people to teach me. Now one could. Finally, you introduced me to the answer…tapestry crochet! I had bought your first book on the subject and you sent me an autographed copy of the second. I think that crocheting patterns into kippot is more interesting than straight colors.”

Kippa Monica Stripes

Monica’s kippa, tapestry crocheted with DMC.

“When I told DH I wanted to make him a kippa to match his tallit, he asked for a plain pattern. I matched the colors in the fabric with DMC skeins. I finished every color as if it were the outside of the kippa. I don’t like the ‘bump’ at the end of a row. (I will often incorporate the wearers Hebrew name so that the bump is woven in and not noticeable.) The gold thread was difficult to use which is why I put it on the inside, instead of the outside.”

“I actually had to unwravel the ecru outside band and redo it because the stitches were too tight for DH. He has a very flat head… LOL!”

Kippot Monica

Three more of Monica’s kippot, two with Hebrew names and a feminine one with beads.

Here are details on the argyle kippah. I have a couple of books in Hebrew with lots of patterns. I usually make up my own.

Here are details on the argyle kippah. I have a couple of books in Hebrew with lots of patterns. I usually make up my own.

“I thank you to this day and wanted you to know that I’m still inspired.”

Thank you so much, Monica, for your wonderful email and for letting me share it with the world!

Mitla Purse

October 27th, 2012

My Mitla Purse is one of more than fifty projects in Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012.

Mitla Purse tapestry crocheted with Cotton Classic by Tahki.

As with many of my other patterns, I needed to experiment. I adjusted both the size of the motif and the purse.

The first version is on the left.

The motif was inspired by one of the geometric patterns on the pre-Columbian building seen below from Mitla, Mexico. Stepped fret motifs work well with tapestry crochet and an almost infinite variety are found around the world.

Mitla wall from (photo from Wiki Commons).

The shape of the Mitla Purse was based on a change purse pattern in my first Tapestry Crochet book. It’s is out of print, but some of the patterns are available online for right handed and left handed crocheters.

Change purses from my 1991 Tapestry Crochet book.

What’s old is new again!

Biennial Award

September 24th, 2012

I was honored to have two of my tapestry crochet pieces accepted into the 2012 TACA Biennial: The Best of Tennessee Craft exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

My Hat and Geometry Tote in TACA’s 2012 Biennial Exhibition.

Even better is that my Geometry Tote received a Purchase Award! I’m so excited that it’s now part of the Tennessee State Museum’s permanent collection. I blogged about this Tote earlier, when it was published in Crochet World and recently posted about the Hat, too.

The Biennial Exhibition runs through October 21 and the reception will be this Saturday, the 29th, from 6-9pm. I would love to see you there! If you can’t make it to the reception, you can still make it by crocheting your very own Geometry Tote from the instructions in the February 2011 issue of Crochet World.

Switching Colors

September 15th, 2012

Do your yarns twist around each other when you tapestry crochet? Well, there’s a simple solution to avoid this problem. Just place one color on your right and the other on your left (or both colors on your lap next to each other) and then allow a slight twist to occur next to the most recent stitch when changing colors.

I’ve switched colors back and forth this way for years, but just recently noticed that the back of the work does not always look the same. To see what I’m talking about, please take a close look below at the back of the fabric (on the right). Do you see the jagged edges?

1. Front of the fabric (on the left) and back of the same section (on the right), showing the “twist” that occurs when switching colors.

Now look at the right half of photo 2 below. Notice the consistently smooth edges of the stripes on the back. The fronts of each sample (shown on the left in the photos above and below) look very similar, but the backs are quite different.

2. Front of the fabric (on the left) and back of the same section (on the right), showing the “twist” that occurs when switching colors.

Why do the backs look so different? Let’s see if you can figure it out. I’ll give you a hint. The jagged stripes in photo 1 document how many rounds I crocheted at one time. From bottom to top (the way it was worked), I crocheted 3 rounds, put down the work, then picked it up and crocheted 4 more rounds, then kept putting it down every time I finished a round. So, what was I doing differently each time?

It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally realized that the position of the balls were reversed each time I began crocheting again. When the brown ball was on one side of the yellow, the back of the work looked one way, but when it was on the other side, the twist that formed in the back looked very different. Eureka!

After figuring out which position produced the best results, I made sure the yellow and brown balls were always in the same place while crocheting the sample in photo 2. Much better! It’s amazing that this slight variation in technique makes such a difference – don’t you think?





This is how colors are changed
in tapestry crochet.



by Carol Ventura

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