Archive for the ‘Tapestry Crochet Patterns’ Category

Chain Reaction Heart Block

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Have you heard about Interweave’s Chain Reaction Afghan Project? I’m one of several lucky designers who were invited to participate.

My block was tapestry crocheted with Cream and Cherry Tomato Universal Yarn Classic Worsted. As usual, I did several versions, making slight changes each time.

Tapestry Crochet Heart Block
Which would you pick? Interweave decided to go with the third one on the far right.

The instructions are on pages 38 and 44 of the Fall 2010 Interweave Crochet Magazine. I hope you’ll give it a try – or design your very own – because Interweave will include several original blocks from their readers, too!

You can see the other blocks and vote for your favorite here.

A Lovely Prayer Shawl

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Last summer, Janet Bristow and Victoria Cole-Galo (of the Prayer Shawl Ministry) were looking for unpublished crochet patterns for their new prayer shawl book. There would be no payment, but it was for a good cause, so I thought, “Why not?”

I had never crocheted a prayer shawl before, so I asked them for a suggested size, then thought, “What motif would be appropriate for a shawl that’s lovingly made, then gifted to someone in need?” For me, the obvious answer was, “Hearts.”

I also thought a lot about the flat format – one that would be relatively easy to tapestry crochet. Instead of crocheting in a continuous spiral (my usual), this was crocheted in concentric rectangles with a “join” at the beginning and end of each round. The join created a line (seen on the right side of the short side of the shawl pictured below).

Tapestry Crochet Heart Prayer Shawl
Tapestry crocheted Heart-to-Heart Tapestry Shawl

Since it was crocheted from the center outwards, the hearts were crocheted upside-down. They would also have worked right-side-up, but I already crocheted Have a Heart Scarf that way and wanted to try something different.

This project was really “meant to be” because I had just enough raspberry and ivory Mod Dea washable wool left over from an earlier project. Unlike regular wool, which can shrink and felt during washing, this easy-to-care-for Merino can be thrown into the washing machine without worry because it’s been pre-shrunk. The loose stitch allows the carried yarn to peek through and gives the fabric wonderful drape.

I never heard that my submission would be included in the book – but figured it out when a friend told me that she made sure the shawl was arranged with the front side up at the photo shoot. Since the carried yarn does not show on the back, it’s often difficult to tell the “right side,” so photographs of some of my previous projects featured the reverse side instead of the front.

Crocheted Prayer Shawl book
The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion

I was really thrilled when the book arrived the other day because it’s so beautifully done. Hopefully, you’ll also be inspired to crochet a shawl for someone who would really appreciate a gift from the heart – be it one of the 37 shawls from this book or another pattern.

Striped Basket

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

What would you do if Brett Bara, the editor of Crochet Today! sent you eight vibrant colors of Debbie Stoller’s fabulous Stitch Nation Full O’Sheep 100% Peruvian wool and asked for a 12″ diameter, striped tapestry crochet basket somewhat like the coiled baskets below?

Coil basket

Coiled Baskets
These four coiled baskets served as inspiration for the tapestry crocheted basket.

Well, what do you think of my solution?

Beautiful Basket in July/August 2010 Crochet Today!
The carried yarns contribute to the sturdiness of the basket and the hefty looking “coil”.

This basket is not for beginners because it’s quite a challenge to carry seven colors at the same time! How did I keep the yarns from tangling? Well, I placed them next to each other as shown below and let the yarn cross over the others close to the fabric each time I switched colors.

Beautiful Tapestry Crochet Basket
Seven colorful yarns were carried while one was tapestry crocheted.

The tight gauge hides most of the carried yarns, but some of them pop through, especially on the back of the fabric.

Front Detail of the Beautiful Basket
Front detail of the Beautiful Basket in July/August Crochet Today!

Back Detail of the Beautiful Basket
Back detail of the same tapestry crocheted basket.

I thrive on challenges, so I really enjoyed designing and crocheting this project. If you like a challenge, too, then this basket is for you!

A Patriotic Bag

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I crocheted the first version of this bag in China in 2004. I hoped to find crocheters there so that I could show them how to tapestry crochet. Fortunately, the language barrier was not a problem when I demonstrated how to carry and switch colors to the many enthusiastic Chinese women I found crocheting in public all over China.

Carol Ventura in China
In a gondola going up to the Great Wall of China.

This bag received so many compliments that I decided to redo it and submit the pattern for publication. The Kolibri thread I used for the first purse was no longer available, so I crocheted the next one with Classic Elite Provence mercerized Egyptian cotton.

My busy life doesn’t allow lots of time for crochet, so I do it whenever I can. I crocheted the new version on the way to and from the 2009 Crochet Guild of America National Conference in Buffalo last August – and even during the conference. Projects for publication are usually top secret, but Michele Maks, the wonderful editor of Crochet World, said it would be OK for me to do it there.

Carol Ventura in Las Vegas
Waiting for my plane in the Las Vegas airport.

Then I crocheted a few more inches on the way to and from my daughter’s lovely wedding in Las Vegas last September. In the past, I could only crochet while not moving, so I’d crochet in the airport and in the plane while still at the gate, but would put it down when the plane took off to avoid becoming nauseous. The rapidly approaching deadline encouraged me to try to crochet while we were in the air. Fortunately, for the first time in my life, I was actually able to work on it during most of the flight!

Why are the stars up-side-down? Well, when I drew the stars onto tapestry crochet graph paper, they looked much better this way. The slight diagonals to the right and left on the bottom point of the star worked out really well, but putting two points on the bottom of the motif was very awkward.

The red, white, and blue threads were used in all the rounds; two threads were carried while the other was worked. The carried threads and tight gauge done with a size 00 steel crochet hook created a very sturdy fabric that didn’t need a liner.

New Patriotic Purse
Stars & Stripes Tote in June 2010 Crochet World Magazine.

Would you like to make your own patriotic purse? Well, you’re in luck, because this pattern is in the June 2010 issue of Crochet World. Please ignore the published pattern note, though, that says “join rounds with a slip stitch” because this bag is crocheted as a spiral without slip stitches joining the rounds.

Flower Power Basket

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Just in time for Spring – a basket/bag inspired by the colorful flowers that pop up their heads this time of year. The instructions will be published shortly in the seventh issue of Inside Crochet Magazine, available in digital and paper formats.

Crocheted with sturdy Omega nylon, this basket/bag will help you store and tote your stuff in style!

Flower Bag
Flower Power Basket in Inside Crochet Issue 7

I hope you’ll get some flower power and give this project a try! This is no April Fool’s joke!

Felted Skull Bag

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

While listening to Mary Beth Temple’s Getting Loopy podcast last April, I heard Julia Grunau of say that she didn’t know where to direct a customer who wanted a crocheted skull and cross bones pattern. At that moment I realized that this bag would be perfect for her wonderful business, so I posted both right handed and left handed patterns there!

Felted Tapestry Crochet Skull Bag
Felted Tapestry Crochet Bag for Right Handed and Left Handed crocheters.

This bag is loosely tapestry crocheted with Lion Wool and a size K hook. The bag shrinks and felts like magic in a washing machine. The loose stitch makes it a fast project to crochet and a great first tapestry crochet project, too! For more about my interest in skulls, you might enjoy reading my UFO Bag blog.

Skull Bag before felting
The bag (with handle detail) before it was felted in the washing machine.

The skulls and crossed bones are visible on the inside and the outside of the bag – and since I liked the inside better after it was felted, I turned it inside out!  The felted fabric is so substantial, it doesn’t need to be lined.

Why am I telling you about this bag now? Well, I just realized that I never blogged about it AND I realized that this pattern would be the perfect last minute gift since it’s downloadable – actually one of several tapestry crochet patterns that I sell online. Just scroll down the sidebar on the right to see them all!

Happy Holidays!

It’s About Time

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Tight tapestry crochet stitches with J&P Coats Crochet Nylon produces a very sturdy fabric – perfect for this clock face from the August 2009 issue of Crochet World. Tapestry crocheting with nylon is hard on the hands, but much easier with a hook with a handle.

Tapestry Crochet Clock Face
It’s About Time Tapestry Crochet Clock Face, 12 1/4″ diameter

There are two ways to display this timely piece. For the domed look seen above, a clock movement with a regular shaft that uses a size C battery is best, but for the flattened look below, the clock movement needs to have a 1 1/4″ long shaft to raise the hands high enough to clear the fabric. I bought my movement and the 5 3/4″ hands online from

Tapestry Crochet Clock Face

Time’s a wastin’! You need to take your time to give this project a try! (I couldn’t resist the puns – wait a minute – here comes another one!)

Market in Style

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Have you ever heard the expression, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? Well – my first market bag proves it true. When I got to the top of the bag, I realized it was WAY too wide, so I had to either rip it out and make it narrower, or come up with another solution. As you can see, I chose the latter. I rationalized that it would make a great market bag – and it does! And it’s even crocheted with fabulous organic cotton!

Lion Brand Organic Cotton is only sold in 4 natural shades, so I chose two contrasting colors, then thought about what motif would work best.

Fortunately, this Right Way Market Bag Pattern will be available for a very long time since Crochet World is not only printed, but may also be downloaded.

Right Way Tapestry Crochet Market Bag
Right Way Market Bag in April Crochet World Magazine.

The way the handles slip through the rim is a bit tricky, but they work great to close and support the bag!

Flattened Right Way Tapestry Crochet Market Bag
Opened Right Way Market Bag in April Crochet World Magazine.

My next market bag was not as wide, but the handles were similar, looping through the rim. Unfortunately, neither this Market Bag pattern nor the colorful worsted weight Euroflax linen is available for now. Any strong worsted weight fiber could be substituted, though.

Market Bag
Market Bag in Issue 7 of Knit on the Net Online Magazine.

The third Market Bag I designed was published by Interweave Crochet this Spring. As you can see from the photo (of my model daughter), I finished it last Fall, but things are done way ahead in publishing.

Interweave Spring Market Bag
Spring Market Bag in Spring 2009 Interweave Crochet Magazine.

This bag was crocheted with a thinner linen, Fibra Natura Flax. Instead of 2 handles, it only has one – another variation on the theme.

Interweave Spring Market Bag Open
Open Spring Market Bag in Interweave Crochet Magazine.

These bags will assure that your are marketing in style – while you save the planet – so I hope you will give them a try!

Handy Blocking

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

The brand new UK magazine, Inside Crochet, includes the pattern for this Handy Basket (tapestry crocheted with Size 18 La Espiga Omega Nylon). Why does it look so lumpy? Well, just about everything I tapestry crochet looks like that – until the last step of the process, “blocking”.

Handy Basket Before Blocking
Handy Basket before blocking.

My favorite blocking tool is a steam iron. Since nylon melts at high temperatures, it’s on the lowest setting that will allow steam to form. (Higher temperatures may be used with other fibers.) Steam is not absolutely necessary, but it makes blocking much easier.

Bottom of the Handy Basket
Blocking the bottom of the Handy Basket.

The iron may be placed directly onto the project, or a towel may be placed between the two to protect the surface of the fabric.

Blocking Handy Basket
Blocking the sides of the Handy Basket.

I press down hard – on the inside and outside – all around. Fortunately, this basket is large enough that the iron fits inside without a problem. (I insert a towel-covered can into smaller baskets to help support and shape them during blocking.)

Handy Waste Basket
Handy Basket after blocking.

Quite an improvement,  don’t you think?

2009 Crochet Calendar

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Looking for a 2009 calendar? Do you crochet? Then you’re in luck – because the 2009 Crochet Calendar can keep you up to date and happily hooking all year!

Crochet Calendar

This calendar has both easy and more challenging projects – and includes the pattern for my felted tapestry crochet basket below.

Felted Calendar Basket
15″ diameter Felted Tapestry Crochet Basket in the 2009 CROCHET CALENDAR

For those who like to crochet loosely – this is the project for you – since it’s tapestry crocheted with a size P hook, chunky wool, and loose stitches. The wool magically shrinks and felts in a washing machine. The beauty of felted tapestry crochet is that the pattern is visible on both sides of the fabric.

Felted Basket before felting
This is what the basket looked like before felting.

Yes, this basket was supposed to be a hat, but it turned out WAY too big – so voila – a basket was born!

UnFinishedObject Bag

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

My father and I were both in our early twenties when we invited skulls into our lives. He was a sailor and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in highland Guatemala. He wore his skull tattoo to the grave, but after living with the shaped Maya skull I found in Jacaltenango for a few years, I buried it in Guatemala, where it belonged.

The skull motif is very popular now, but has had different meanings through space and time. The carved images like the one below probably inspired the skull and cross-bone motif of the pirates of the Caribbean who frequented the area.

Skull and Crossed Bones in Uxmal, Mexico
Skull and crossed bones carved onto the surface of a Maya stone structure at Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico, that dates to around 1000.

I decided to feature skulls on a bag big enough to hold lots of unfinished projects. The crossed bones were a logical choice for the handles, don’t you think?

I wasn’t sure who would publish the pattern, but when I found out that Laurie Wheeler (aka Camanomade) was looking for revolutionary crochet projects for a book that would liberate crochet stereotypes, I realized that it had found a home!

UFO Bag and Handle Detail
My UFO (UnFinished Object) Bag tapestry crocheted with size 18 Omega La Espiga Nylon.

Want to know more? Well you’ll need to look at the Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book for the pattern and to read about my skull connection!

CLF Book
In addition to my UFO Bag, this book has lots of other original patterns, too!

For those of you who have the book, there are a few typos of minor consequence, but the following errors need to be fixed:

Rnd F should read: Sc 1 Black, *3 Ivory, decrease 1 Ivory, sc 148 Ivory (onto the bottom of the chain), decrease 1 Ivory, sc 3 Ivory, 43 Black*. Repeat from * -* 2 times. *Sc 3 Ivory, decrease 1 Ivory, sc 147 Ivory onto chain, decrease 1 Ivory, tapestry crochet 2 Ivory, 43 Black*. Repeat from * -* 2 times.

The first 146 in Rnd G should be changed to 147.

Fortunately, Laurie has an online errata sheet and will be able to fix the errors in the next edition.

Two Tapestry Crochet Skull Bags
Deborah used Red Heart Super Saver, but Victoria used size 18 Omega La Espiga Nylon for her bag.

I hope you’ll give it a try, too!

Sunburst Bowl

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

How do I design my tapestry crochet pieces? Sometimes editors request specific projects. They choose the fiber and colors, suggest the shape and size, and often provide a picture for inspiration. This is what happened with my Sunburst Bowl pattern in the September/October issue of Crochet Today!

Inspiration for the Sunburst Basket
This coiled basket inspired my Sunburst Bowl.

As usual, I didn’t copy, but created a new piece based on the original inspiration. Copying is not only illegal, but also disrespectful to the original designer. The design usually changes anyway when translating from one medium to another.

I usually only carry one or two colors, but the (size 3) J&P Coats Royale Fashion Crochet Thread was too fine to produce a large tapestry crochet bowl using this method, so I decided to carry five threads to reproduce the coiled look of the original basket and to give it some structure. Carrying so many colors allowed me to play with color placement, too!

Sunburst Tapestry Crochet Basket before blocking
The Sunburst Bowl before ironing it with a steam iron.

After supplying the thread, the assistant editor asked me to write the instructions following Yarn Standards abbreviations and guidelines. The editor sent a contract that specified the date the project was due, the price, and the publication rights. I titled it “Mandala Basket,” but as editors often do, they changed it to “Sunburst Bowl.”

Sunburst Tapestry Crochet Basket
The blocked 10″ wide by 1.25″ high Sunburst Bowl.

This project is not for beginners – it’s definitely advanced tapestry crochet. A few intrepid tapestry crocheters have met the challenge, though! Lisa started the bowl below, but on Sept 13, she posted, “Okay, so the circle is done in the middle and I am carrying all 6 yarns at once. Now that I have done 8 rows, I am wondering how to keep all the yarn from turning into a nest. Everything was fine until I had to set it down!” I hope she picks it up again! I’ll post the photo with this thread if/when she does! (BTW, if you separate the balls of thread and allow the twist to happen next to the fabric when you change colors, the carried threads will not tangle so much.)

Lisa’s beginning
Lisa’s bowl.

Sheri’s tapestry crochet bowls
Here are Sheri Kelley’s bowls – before blocking – with fabulous color choices!

I’d love to hear from you and see your Sunburst Bowls!

Awareness Purse

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Crochet World included my Bead Felted Awareness Purse pattern in their October issue. The below final version was tapestry crocheted with Petal Pink and Aran Patons Classic Wool and #5 triangular glass beads from Fire Mountain Gems.

Bead Felted Awareness Purse
The 11” wide Bead Felted Awareness Purse in Crochet World.

Awareness Purse before felting
The 17 3/8” wide Bead Felted Awareness Purse before felting.

You guessed it! This pattern was perfected little by little. Never having worked with this wool before, I had to learn how it shrunk during felting. Even though I knew it would shrink more in width than height, it still surprised me! Along the way I also experimented with the size, color, beads, and straps. The first and second versions of the purse feature square beads and thinner straps.

Before Felting
The first and second purses before felting.

The First Awareness Purses
The first two purses after felting.

The Awareness Purse Open
All of the bags have a surprise inside. This is the inside of my second attempt.

The beads were slid to the front of the loose stitch in all three versions.

Front Bead Stitch
The loose stitch allows the beads to be slid to the front of each stitch.

My mother survived breast cancer, but unfortunately, she didn’t survive her second round of Lymphoma. Hopefully, all types of cancer will find a cure someday soon.

Bead Felted Purse

Friday, September 19th, 2008

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I usually make several versions of a project before the pattern is published. This time I experimented with the size, yarn, color, handle, buttons, and bead placement. A mobius style handle makes it possible to crochet the entire purse without cutting any yarns (until the very end, of course).

Bead Felted Tapestry Crochet Bags
Lambs Pride Bulky was used for the first purse on the left, then I tapestry crocheted the one on the right with Lion Wool.

The final version below was also crocheted with Lion Wool, but with a lighter green and #5 Miyuki Triangular beads from Fire Mountain Gems (placed on all the motifs this time).

Bead Felted Purse before and after felting
The published version of the bag before and after felting.

This bag has a surprise, too – it’s reversible! By sewing buttons to both sides of the fabric, it may be worn with the beads on the inside or the outside.

Reverse side of the Bead Felted Purse
This side of the 7″ wide bag doesn’t have beads.

So where’s the pattern? You can find it in the July / August issue of Quick & Easy Crochet. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Felted Aztec Bag

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

One of my felted bag patterns has been published by a new UK magazine! In addition to this project, which they call Aztec Bag, the Spring 2008 issue of Yarn Forward includes reviews, articles, tips, and instructions for eleven other original designs, including a sexy crocheted top and several exquisitely knitted socks and pullovers.

Felted Tapestry Crochet Purse
This Aztec Bag Pattern was tapestry crocheted with Yorkshire Tweed Chunky.

The motif is based on a Tukutuku Panel pattern that I saw in a Maori Meeting House from New Zealand at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. After a few adjustments, it has another life!

Tukutuku Panel, Field Museum of Natural History
Detail of a Tukutuku Panel in the Field Museum of Natural History.

I don’t copy patterns from other people or cultures, but they often inspire new motifs. In this case, I reversed the direction of the “steps” and put the horizontals on the same level and chose different colors.

Although the Aztec Bag was tapestry crocheted with Rowan’s Yorkshire Tweed Chunky wool, this fiber is no longer listed on their web page. Don’t worry, though, because Rowan’s Scottish Tweed Chunky is very similar and any other heavy feltable fiber would work, like Lamb’s Pride, for instance.

The Aztec Bag before it was felted.
This is how it looked before being felted in the washing machine.

The bag below was tapestry crocheted with Lion Brand wool. I made the handle a little longer and the felted fabric is thicker because the Purple Lion Wool was doubled to approximate the weight of the Latte Bolero.

Lion Wool Aztec Bag
Aztec Bag tapestry crochet with Bolero and Lion Wool.

I hope you’ll give this bag a try! If’ you’ve never tapestry crocheted, this project would be a great introduction.