Archive for the ‘Tapestry Crochet, America’ Category

Wrap with Love

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Tapestry crocheted with Lion Brand’s Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, this blanket is so soft and cuddly, it’s sure to be treasured every day of the year.

Hearts Baby Blanket, 36″ x 36″, Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, 2012.

Patterns for both right handed and left handed crocheters are now available online.

Happy Day!

Monday, January 16th, 2012


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

The light blue background symbolizes water and green the land that both unite and divide us. The rows of people represent the different human races, which are all the same size – with their hearts in the same place. Large hearts form between them as they unite and hold hands in the top row.

While crocheting the figures, I deliberated about whose portrait to place above them. Who best promoted the idea of different types of people living and working together as equals in a peaceful world? After considering many famous mythological and real people, I realized it had to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To design the face, I projected Dr. King’s image onto graph paper that I modified to accommodate the tall single crochet stitches.

The facial proportions were good, but the curves were not as smooth as they could have been. It was after this project that I designed tapestry crochet graph paper to better accommodate stitch shape and placement.

In front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, this great man shared his dream that “. . . all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands . . .” This is my dream, too, that people around the world will learn not only to tolerate, but also to celebrate different points of view and beliefs.

Happy Martin Luther King Day! May it be peaceful and inspirational for you and the world.

Graphs from Photos

Monday, December 26th, 2011

There are many ways to make tapestry crochet graphs from photos. The ideal subject is lit from the side and includes several values. A variety of graph papers and information about how to use them are included in my Tapestry Crochet and More Tapestry Crochet books. In summary, the image may be projected onto paper or placed under tapestry crochet graph paper on a light table. After tracing the major lines, the cells are then colored in with light, medium and dark colored pencils.

Another approach utilizes computer graphics. The below images were done in a just few minutes with Photoshop, but several other programs could have produced similar results. Reducing the colors of the photo helps visualize the crocheted version and often makes it easier to trace onto tapestry crochet graph paper.

The “posterize” feature of Photoshop produced the image on the right from the photo on the left.

The number of colors and the posterized colors themselves are easily changed in Photoshop.

The colors on the left were altered with Photoshop’s “color balance”, then the image was transformed into black and white with “grayscale”.
Photoshop’s “mosaic” feature further simplified the image into squares of various values.

The online site, KnitPro, quickly (and for free) transformed my photo into a square-ruled graph.

Square-ruled graph done on KnitPro from a 3 color photo prepared in Photoshop.

KnitPro just as easily produced the rectangle-ruled graph below.

Rectangular-ruled graph done on KnitPro from the same 3 color photo.

To my knowledge, though, there is no computer program available that will fill in tapestry crochet graph paper automatically. Digital versions of the most popular tapestry crochet graph papers are posted in the files section of the Yahoo Tapestry Crochet group. The graph paper may be printed out, then placed over an image on a light table and filled in by hand or the graph may be digitally placed over a photo, then filled in (cell by cell) with the paint bucket tool.

Some the flesh tone was filled in on the right with Photoshop’s “paint bucket” tool.

For creating graphs of animals, flowers, etc., there are millions of free online images available for inspiration. For instance, Google “horse”, then click on “images” to find a profile view, then trace it onto the appropriate graph paper. This method helps achieve more accurate proportions and had I used one of those images, perhaps my horses would NOT have turned out like donkeys!

Simply Felted Basket

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The new Simply Crochet book by Robyn Chachula includes twenty two patterns from a number of crochet designers. My felted Tapestry Basket is one of them – crocheted with Cascade Yarns’ dreamy 100% Peruvian Cascade 220 wool.

Tapestry Basket in Simply Crochet Book.

My bead tapestry crochet Master Bag featured a woven twill motif, so this time I chose a different basket weave. The colors didn’t contrast enough in the first attempt so I crocheted the final version with yellow instead of beige. The first one was also too narrow, but since the motif was ten stitches wide and there were ten increases per round, it was easy to add three more rounds to make it wider without affecting the motif.

First and final versions of the felted tapestry basket.

I love felted tapestry crochet! The large, loose stitches are easy on the hands and the projects materialize so quickly. The felted fabric is substantial and the pattern is visible on both sides.

Interiors of the first and final versions of the felted tapestry basket.

A washing machine transformed the crocheted basket below into the felted basket above.

This is how the Tapestry Basket looked before it was felted. 

Are you hooked by felted tapestry crochet yet? If so – or if not – please look at my video tutorial and at my web page and Bead & Felted Tapestry Crochet book for more felted tapestry crochet projects.

Shallow Single Tapestry Crochet

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Ariana Thompson taught herself how to crochet more than fifteen years ago from the 1993 Harmony Guide To Crocheting: Techniques and Stitches by Debra Mountford. That’s where she discovered the shallow single crochet stitch. Fortunately, Ariana decided to experiment with this stitch while doing tapestry crochet.

Ariana’s “shallow single” tapestry crochet swatches with designs from Alice Starmore, Tone Takle, and Lise Kolstad. Most are superwash wool DK worked with a 4mm hook. The two on the top right are cotton, and the small red one in the middle with two isolated motifs were crocheted with Kroy sock yarn.

According to Ariana, “The finished project does not behave like knitting – structurally it’s still single crochet, but the look is nice. It is actually a little firmer than regular single crochet, as you are working into the stitch below a little . . . deeper, I guess you could say. I think that’s why they call it ‘shallow crochet’, because you don’t actually gain as much height with each round as you would with a round of regular single crochet. It has a firmness that’s great for jackets, purses, pillows – with a finer yarn, like sportweight or sockweight you get a fabric than behaves like . . . maybe light denim. Shallow stitch has a significant bias and has to be wet-blocked to be straight, so I like to use a fibre that can be blocked – a wool or a cotton rather than acrylic.”

“I often do tapestry crochet using a ‘shallow single crochet’ usually abbreviated in patterns as ssc. Instead of working your single crochet into the top two loops of the stitch below, put your hook in the centre of the stitch below, between the two uprights. You have to work this stitch in one direction only so you always have the right side facing. The result is the perfectly stacked little “V” shapes of knitting.”

After Ariana shared her swatches with the Ravelry Tapestry Crochet Group, I began to experiment, too. Several attempts were required to successfully produce the red and white sample below – done with a large hook, loose tension, and stretchy yarn.

Both pieces were crocheted following the same instructions, but the blue one was tapestry crocheted with size 3 cotton thread and the pink one was “shallow single” tapestry crocheted with a larger hook and stretchy worsted wool.

The motifs on my sample didn’t slant – maybe because the hook was stuck under the carried yarn of the stitch below.

The back of the blue tapestry crocheted piece looks quite different from the back of the red shallow single tapestry crocheted piece.

I’m not only intrigued by the look of the front and back – but also by the incredible thickness of the fabric! To me, it looks like shallow single tapestry crochet has great potential!

Out of Print – But Not Out of Style

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Tapestry Crochet was the first of three books that I wrote to spread the word about this fabulous technique. I couldn’t turn this out-of-print book into an e-book because the publisher owns the copyrights of the layout and graphs – but I own the copyrights of the projects and text.

After Interweave said I could republish the projects, I updated the text and redrew the graphs – this time making separate sets for right handed and left handed crocheters (the written instructions are the same for both right handed and left handed crocheters, but the photos and graphs are reversed).

“Rounds” projects for left handed and “Rounds” projects for right handed crocheters from Tapestry Crochet, 1991.

My second book, More Tapestry Crochet, has expanded history and design sections, so I only concentrated on making the eight most popular projects available online, grouping them together by format.

“Spiral’ projects for left handed and “Spiral” projects for right handed crocheters from Tapestry Crochet, 1991.

I actually wrote Tapestry Crochet in the early 1980′s, but it took ten years to get it published! Most of the other pattern books at the time featured expensive fibers, but my Mom and her friends preferred to crochet with inexpensive synthetic yarns, so I made most of the projects with their favorites to appeal to people like them. Unfortunately, most of those yarns are no longer made – but that’s the situation with many published patterns.

I’m an artist and art professor, so the projects were designed not only to teach the basics, but also to provide crocheters with fresh ideas and design tools. I try to encourage crocheters to tweak the patterns, but even when the instructions are followed to the letter, each finished piece is still unique because substituting yarns makes them that way!

What really amazes me when I stop and think about it, though, is that these pieces were crocheted 30 years ago – but they don’t look dated – at least not to me!

Just in time!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

If you like to crochet loosely – then this project is for you. It’s tapestry crocheted with Plymouth Galway worsted wool and a size K hook. Size 5 silver-lined gold beads add sparkle.

Both of the below baskets were crocheted following the same instructions, but the basket on the right was felted in a washing machine. Loose stitches, feltable yarn, washable beads (the color washes off some beads), a HOT soapy wash and cold rinse are the keys to successful bead felting.

Before felting (left) and after felting (right) Jack O’Lantern Baskets, 5 1/2″ high.

The Jack O’Lanterns are visible on the inside and outside! This online pattern is being sold by Patternfish for left handed crocheters and right handed crocheters – just in time for Halloween!

Online Vultures

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

I finally put my vulture bag patterns on Patternfish after Barb Holman sent me the wonderful wake-up call below.

Juvenile turkey vulture that Barb rehabilitated – isn’t he cute? 

I admire them from afar, but Barb helps all sorts of raptors and knows a lot about them. The following may be more than you want to know, but I found it very interesting. Describing the photos, she said “Anyway, here is the only juvenile turkey vulture I ever rehabbed. I’ve rehabbed several rascally adults but this little guy came to us almost right out of the egg. I wish I had photographed him then because when they’re hatched all white soft fluff with that beautiful black head, and they’re rather nice to get along with. These photos show his black feathers coming in and his black head. Their heads turn red with sexual maturity.”

“I’m sure you already know these things but just in case … They keep cool by urinating on their feet. Early in the morning, they’ll gather in groups high up in the trees and turn their backs to the rising sun to warm up. They’re easy to recognize in flight by the dihedral (V) angle of their wings and silvery grey underside of their flight feathers. Most birds have no sense of smell which is why you can put a chick back into their nest without the parent noticing. Vultures hunt mainly by smell and can detect carrion far away.”

“They actually have very delicate systems and regurgitate their food at the slightest upset. Luckily, they’re not picky and will simply re-eat it. Disgusting to most people but, like all of nature, they serve the very important role of cleaning up.”

“As adults, they can be very dangerous to handle. I once read of a rehabber being killed when he held an adult vulture too close to his face and the bird reached up and bit his neck, opening his carotid artery. I was very accustomed to handling large birds of prey and trained several as education birds. My own bird, Luna, was a great horned owl I trained from nestling age.”

“I caught and handled adult vultures fairly often as well. They’re huge by comparison to all but eagles and condors and very strong. The big difference in safety while handling them is that other raptors use their talons as their main defense while the vulture’s feet and talons are relatively weak. Its that beak that you must be very aware of.”

“We have many eagles where I live now and yesterday, moved roadkill off the road so the feeding eagle wouldn’t be hit while enjoying his lunch. Beautiful birds and try as I might, didn’t get a good photo.  Also have vultures here … We’re at the top of a hill on a peninsula overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks and I love watching them circle, higher and higher in order to make it over our roof. We have often found as many as ten of them sitting on our deck rail discussing whatever it is that vultures discuss.”

“Being on the lake, the eagles come every year and a few winter over. We even have a nest not far away and have watched the youngsters fledge. A couple of years ago, we were down the hill on the bank of the lake. It was very cold and quiet and suddenly, almost in front of us, a gull swooped low and dropped a big fish. Right behind him, a huge eagle landed on the ice and took the fish. Behind her came a smaller male and a juvenile. They made no move to take the fish she had stolen from the gull and the gull just kept going. I’m assuming their sexes because, with raptors, the sexes usually look alike (no sexual dimorphism as with most other birds) and the female is half again larger than the male. An exception to this rule is the American kestrel. Its our smallest true falcon, the sexes are marked differently but about the same size.”

She sent the pictures because of my old blog post about the Carrion Bag.

Vulture Purse and Carrion BagTapestry Crochet Vulture Purse and Felted Carrion Bag

You might already have these patterns because the Vulture Purse used to be available online, but was taken down when The Inside Loop went out of business. The instructions for the Carrion Bag are included in The Anticraft Book. Fortunately, I was able to keep the copyrights, which means that I can distribute these patterns myself. So the Vulture Purse for Right Handers and Vulture Purse for Left Handers and the felted Carrion Bag for Right Handers and Carrion Bag for Left Handers are now for sale – just in time for Halloween!

Free Wallet Pattern

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Crochet Today! just posted the pattern for my Tapestry Crochet Wallet as a free download. The November/December 2011 issue includes a picture and instructions for carrying and changing colors.

I didn’t want to line the wallet, so I tapestry crocheted it with Aunt Lydia’s Size 3 Fashion Crochet Thread and a size 1 (2.25mm) steel crochet hook with a handle to produce the dense fabric. A plain hook would have been OK, but the handle helped my wrist and hand work the tight stitches much more easily.

Even though three colors were used, there are only two colors in each round. The carried colors were switched five times in the solid rounds as needed.

A short zipper was not available locally, so I adapted a longer one from my sewing stash. (The pattern includes zipper instructions – how to shorten and sew it into the wallet.)

This project would be great for using up small amounts of left-over thread and yarn – just switch the colors more often and / or use more colors! What a wonderful gift idea!

I hope you’ll crochet this wallet for yourself or someone else – and fill it with all the money you save!

 

Drawn In

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I discovered Kathryn Kawasaki’s playful tapestry crochet bags and hats on the projects page of the Tapestry Crochet Group on Ravelry, where she goes by mrskawasaki. Her children’s drawings and friend’s requests inspired Kathryn to tapestry crochet several functional works of art! What follows are answers to my questions and descriptions of her projects on Ravelry.

When I asked Kathryn how she found out about tapestry crochet and where she learned how to crochet, she explained that “A few years ago, I saw a picture of one of your pieces with cats, and was very fascinated with the idea of putting a design directly into the fabric.  So, I bought your book, More Tapestry Crochet, to get that pattern, and for the paper to make my own designs.  I originally learned regular crochet from my (late) mom, but that was close to 40 years ago, and I’d forgotten all of it.  I did inherit two sets of her hooks, though.  I had to buy a book to figure out what I used to know – this was about four years ago.  I started with little animals (amigurumi?) and afghans, before branching out into tapestry crochet.”

And when I asked about her inspiration, she said, “Mostly I crochet because my children never seem to finish their activities at the same time, and I need something to do while I wait. I love being able to “draw pictures” on the cloth and to watch them appear as I work.”

“The tapestry crochet graph paper has been very, very helpful to me. I use a copy machine to make bigger sheets of it to make drawings with more pixels.”

“My daughter wanted a lunch bag with ‘a mouse and a long strap’.  She drew the picture on tapestry crochet graph paper, and I added the balloons to give it more height.  She used it for several months, but it was too small, so now the bag holds the clothespins when I go outside to hang wash.”


Mouse Bag, 5″ diameter x 8″ tall, 2009.

Kathryn made the bag below for her sister. “The picture is a Daruma, a Japanese goal-setting doll. The doll starts with both eyes white. One eye is painted in at the beginning of a project, and the other at the end. The base looks a little like a chrysanthemum.”

 

“My seven-year-old drew the faces on the special paper. I cleaned up her design, cleared out some leftover yarn, and my friend ended up with the “coolest lunch bag ever!” Win-win all around. :)


Square Faces Bag, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, 6″ diameter x 10″ tall, July 2010.

“My friend’s niece is an acrobat in a circus (how cool is that?!), so my friend asked for a bag with circus elephants as a gift. There are six elephants altogether, but only pictures of four. Whoops.”


Circus Elephant Bag, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, 7″ diameter x 11″ tall, August 2010.

“My neighbor told me one too many times that my bags look like hats. So I made him a hat. A really, really garish hat. With fake dreads. In the colors of his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. The brown hat was a test. I kept that one. And the children. I kept them too.”


Bo and Jo model Orange and Brown Hats, Lily Sugar’n Cream Cotton, September 2010.

“These projects take fewer than 12 hours, so it’s usually only a few days.  Any longer, and the project becomes not portable.”

Kathryn made most of the Snowmen Bag below on a long car ride.


Snowmen Bag, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, October 2010.


Sea Turtles, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, November 2010.


Rasta Hats, Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool and Paton’s Classic Wool, December 2010 and June 2011.

“The bases of the snowman and fish bags are the same – kelp and snowflakes are different only in color!  Who knew?”


Fishy Bag, Plymouth Yarn Jeannee Worsted Cotton & Acrylic, March 2011.

“My ten-year old drew this for me. I like the fingers and how the alien’s eye moves around on its stalk. He didn’t want fingers on the lower limbs.”


One Eyed Guy Bag, Plymouth Yarn Jeannee Worsted, 5″ diameter x 8″ tall, March 2011.

“Who knew orcas have a gray patch behind their dorsal fins? I sure didn’t. This bag was fun to make, but I had to add kayakers to make it tall enough. I like the high contrast of the colors.”


Orka and Kayak Bag, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, 11″ high, April 2011.

“This is a (much) bigger version of the earlier circus elephant bag. It came out taller than I anticipated. Clearly, I need to plan ahead . . .  There are three rows of four linked elephants, with stars on half the blankets, and abstract designs on the others. The design on the base is because it’s easier to count to 18 eight times than it is to count to 144!”


Mammoth Elephant Bag, Plymouth Yarn Jeannee Worsted and TLC Cotton Plus Solid Cotton & Acrylic, 6″ diameter x 14″ high, June 2011.

“A co-worker asked me to make ‘a tote bag that looks like Eddie Van Halen’s guitar’ . . . umm, okaayy . . . A tote bag in this fabric would weigh three tons, so I made him a “swatch pouch” about the size of an e-reader so he could see if he wanted to go that big. He’s decided against the tote bag. Now he wants a beanie ‘that looks like Eddie Van Halen’s guitar’. I took the picture before I added the button.”


Eddie V Bag, Plymouth Yarn Jeannee Worsted, 6″ x 8″ tall, June 2011.

“Whew! My hands were able to save me from my big mouth – ‘sure, I think I could make a beanie that looks like Eddie Van Halen’s guitar . . .’ It was tricky making the stripes look random; I had to pay attention to where I put the increases. I made the top of the hat mostly symmetrical to keep the counting easier. I put his initials on the hat – looks kind of Van Halen-esque, no?”

Eddi V Beanie, Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, July 2011.

“It was a fun project for a camping trip, but I had to keep it away from the campfire lest it get all smoky-smelling. My 10-year-old took the picture of me. Not too many chins. :)


Kathryn busily tapestry crocheting the
Eddie V Beanie.

“What inspires me? The desire not to play with a phone to pass the time, I guess. I just like turning pictures into fabric. Deciding what to “draw” is the hardest part. (I seem to favor stuff with faces.) I am happiest when people give me ideas, for example: “Can you make an elephant?”

I really look forward to seeing what this creative mother and her two talented children from Campbell, California, do next! Don’t you?

Wendy Herdman

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Wendy Herdman, of Mesa, Arizona, is new to tapestry crochet. She says, “After several years hiatus from crochet, I stumbled on a reference to tapestry crochet while looking at painted thread techniques and the concept immediately made sense. Typically for me, I jumped into my yarn stash and started experimenting with all of three paragraphs “instruction”. Now that I feel comfortable with the basics, I’m looking forward to refining and expanding my skills.”

A few of Wendy’s fabulous crocheted bowls.

“I tend to work very organically with only a general idea of the finished project in mind. I don’t use published patterns or do more than rough sketches beforehand so my work is a constant process of finding solutions to problems I didn’t even know I’d be facing! That process–asking the questions, making mistakes, experimenting–constantly informs the direction of my work. Every piece begins with a single question: “What if?”

This is the bowl that first caught my attention (4.5” in diameter, Caron Simply Soft).

When I asked Wendy what she liked about tapestry crochet, she responded, “I love being able to change colors on the fly and even rip back huge sections without having to worry about stopping and starting new threads. It’s incredibly freeing.”

When asked, “What don’t you like about tapestry crochet?” She said,

“Having to stop to untangle the yarns! Working two or three colors at a time isn’t too bad, but when I get up to five or six I start seriously thinking about trading out a few colors to keep the numbers down.”

Wendy just finished this 6″ diameter Pinwheel Basket, tapestry crocheted with Caron yarn.

“My stash is mostly acrylic for economic reasons and for now that translates into a lot of Caron’s Simply Soft. I like the range of colors and the smooth feel, but I’ve been sneaking in more natural fibers and different weights of acrylic as well. In the end, anything that offers a good color or interesting characteristic to exploit is going to be a likely candidate for my work basket.”

She just finished this 7″ diameter Looking Down on Earth Basket, too, also tapestry crocheted with Caron Simply Soft yarn.

None of her pieces are done with graphed images – but are made up as she crochets. To see more of Wendy’s fabulous original creations, take a look at her projects page on Ravelry, where she goes by wherdman.

And when asked, “Do you have any tips?” Wendy replied, “Play! Every now and then, throw away the patterns and the graph paper and just play. It’s good for the soul.”

Who knew?

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Yarn under the hook using Esther’s method . . .

. . . or yarn over the hook as usual?

Who would have thought that grabbing the yarn from the front or the back would make a difference?

The top two rows of cats were crocheted with the yarn under technique while the bottom two rows of cats were crocheted with the usual yarn over method. The stitches under the stripes were crocheted one over the other.
Comparing the stripes from the above example, the cats that were tapestry crocheted with the yarn under technique slant slightly less.

Not only does the design slant less with the yarn under technique, but there’s a sharper color transition. Less of the carried color is seen (especially where colors are changed) in the top two rows of cats. Why is that? Perhaps because the yarn twists slightly differently when yarning under.

If only I had paid closer attention in Guatemalan so many years ago! I always wondered why the motifs on their tapestry crocheted fabric slanted less than mine.

So now there’s a subtle additional tapestry crochet design choice! For tapestry crocheting zig-zags or the bottoms of hearts (where more of a slant is desired) then yarn over the hook. For less slant, yarn under!

More Amazing!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

I hate it that I’ve been too busy to blog, especially when there’s so much to share! Where to begin? Let me start with my trip to Asheville, NC, where I attended the WARP (Weave a Real Peace) conference in early May. It was exhilarating to be surrounded by so many inspirational women! Reconnecting with friends and making new ones was fabulous.

The day before leaving for Asheville, I realized that the amazing tapestry crocheter featured in one of my 2009 blogs lived there. So, I arranged to meet Esther at Earth Guild, where she works.

First she introduced me to her tapestry crochet hats. Esther is so creative and generous! For instance, she carries elastic in the last few rows for a better fit. What a great idea! (Esther’s pattern for the green and white pinwheel in the background of the picture below is part of her Tapestry Crochet Basics packet sold at Earth Guild.)

Esther with some of her tapestry crocheted hats at Earth Guild.
The rim is cinched in by decreasing stitches and by carrying elastic in the last few rows.

Esther also came up with a great way to carry both colors so that she can go back and forth between them without readjusting the yarns on her left hand between the changes. Tension is maintained by holding the yarns with the middle, ring, and little fingers of the left hand.

Esther holds the yarns in a way that allows her to quickly switch colors.

But the light bulb really went on when I noticed that her motifs don’t slant as much as mine. In fact, Esther made a special tapestry crochet graph paper with less slant.

The slant of the image is less noticeable!
Here is Esther’s graph paper and the tapestry crocheted motif.

What does she do differently? Let’s see if you can figure it out by looking at the photos below.

Esther crochets a little bit differently. Can you figure it out?
Notice how the hook goes under carried color to envelop it in the stitch.
Esther’s tapestry crochet technique is ingenious!

Did you see it? Instead of going under the yarn and grabbing it yarn from the back, she hooks it from the front! Eureka! I suspect that many Guatemalans tapestry crochet with Esther’s method because the motifs on most of the bags purchased down there do not slant very much. My next blog will explore these two methods more in depth.

You’ve probably also noticed Esther’s colorful yarn. Some of it is Earth Guild’s cotton Dragon Tail Yarn and the rest she dyes herself. Her hand painted yarns are sold at Earth Guild and her dying method is explained in her Tapestry Crochet: Basics, Bags, and Pouches packet sold at Earth Guild. It also includes stitch tutorials (her method for right and left-handed crocheters), patterns, design notes, several animal motifs, tapestry crochet graph paper, and tips.

Esther’s tapestry crochet is incredible!!!!

My only disappointment is that I didn’t schedule enough time to look at more of Esther’s amazing tapestry crocheted works of art!

Chattanooga Exhibit

Monday, March 7th, 2011

If you’re in southeastern Tennessee between March 28th and May 13th, please visit the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga. Why? Because some of my tapestry crochet pieces have been included in an exhibit there based on the quote by Bertolt Brecht, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Four of the eight pieces of my Lessons Series included in the Drawn In exhibit.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it then, but if you’d like to see my tapestries and meet the other artists in the exhibit, Judith Mogul and Frances McDonald, you’re invited to attend the reception on Thursday, April 7th, at 5:30.

The Federation is located at 5461 North Terrace Road in Chattanooga, TN 37411. The exhibit hours are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 to 5:00 and Friday from 9:00 to 4:00. It will be closed on April 19th, 20th, 25th, and 26th. All of their programs and exhibits are open to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.

The curator, Ann Treadwell, said she was “looking for three different ways in which artists can be ‘a hammer’.  First through the use of words in decision making (Carol’s pieces); second in acknowledging the love for cars that shapes us and that we should push back (Judith’s work); and third the use of the artist as a “conductor” to engage others in the creative thought process and thereby change their lives (Frances).” For more about the exhibit, please contact Ann at atreadwell@jewishchattanooga.com or (423) 493-0270, ext. 13.

A Lovely Opportunity

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

If you have the courage to think outside the box, “mistakes” can open new doors – taking you to unimaginable destinations! That’s what happened to Connie Worley of Toccoa, Georgia, when she tried to tapestry crochet the pillow below.

Tapestry Crochet Round of Hearts Pillow.

Connie explained, “I’m not real sure what happened . . . it was supposed to have been a pillow but that wasn’t working out . . . I misread the pattern and added an extra row between each row of increased stitches. Carol answered my e-mails immediately with suggestions. The best advice was from a former teacher of hers, ‘There are no mistakes . . . only design opportunities.’ So I took this ‘opportunity’ and turned the pillow into a small market bag.”

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – Connie’s Pillow Bag.

“I am happy that the ‘pillow bag’ turned out . . . even my 13 year old nephew exclaimed (unbidden), ‘That’s a really cool bag, Aunt Connie.’”

“The first time I saw tapestry crochet was in the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet, which featured the Spring Market Bag. I got stuck when I got to the top where you work the strap into the openings to make the drawstring. I was so impressed that I got an immediate response from Carol with an answer to my e-mail asking for help with links in the e-mail, which I followed. I followed the links to find out more about tapestry crochet and loved all of the designs. I ordered the pillow design at that time, but did not try to make it until this past January . . . my new year’s resolution was to do/finish some projects that have accumulated in the corners and closets of our house (much to my husband’s delight). The heart pillow was one of them.”

Connie’s Spring Market Bag.

“Last week I bought some more thread at Bumbleberry in Clarkesville, Georgia, to make the pillow . . . and I now have a great bag to carry the thread in while I’m working on it. I really do want to make the pillow to put on my daughter’s bed. I am using the blue thread because of a hand-made blue and white quilt that is on it. I plan to put an eyelet ruffle around the edge of the pillow with a blue and white gingham or calico on the back. I go to Bumbleberry every Tuesday with a great group of women. Mostly they all knit, but one lady who crochets and knits loved my Spring Market Bag and she is getting ready to make it for herself.”

“The Spring Market Bag does take a while to do. When I finished, I thought I would never make another one like it . . . but I recently bought more yarn (in teals and browns) to make another one.”

“I love the effect of tapestry crochet. When I finish the round heart pillow, the Handy Basket is on my to do list as well. So many patterns . . . so little time!”

I was wondering why Connie goes by connieocd on Ravelry, then I noticed the explanation. According to Connie, “When I make something, I go gangbusters and all I want to do is make that item, whether it is crochet scarves, quilling (not quilting, but quilling), scrapbooking, etc. My sister (jennylouhoo on Ravelry) says I should open up a craft shop and call it ‘Connie’s OCD Shop’ and stock it with whatever obsession I have at the time!!”

Connie is determined to make a pillow this time!

Did you notice that Connie is crocheting with her left hand? Although the pillow pattern is only available with right-handed instructions, some of my other patterns are written for both right and left-handed crocheters. They rarely sell, though, so I asked her if I should bother offering them.

Connie replied, “I LOVE it that you have the left-handed patterns. That is the version I ordered for the Handy Basket, so please keep them available. Generally, I don’t have trouble with patterns, but recently I wished I had had a left-handed pattern for a sweater I was trying to make. I can’t find the pattern for it right now, but it was made from the bottom corners up (diagonally). Putting it together proved too hard for my little brain . . . figuring out what was left, right, and which way the pattern was supposed to go . . . up, down. I gave up and went on to another sweater that had straight rows. Please keep putting the left-handed patterns on your web site.”

So, the moral of this story is: The next time you make a mistake and are tempted to frog it and start over, accept the challenge and design your own version of the pattern instead!





This is how colors are changed
in tapestry crochet.



by Carol Ventura

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
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BELOW, PLEASE CLICK ON THEM:










THE FOLLOWING PUBLICATIONS
INCLUDE ONE OR MORE OF MY
TAPESTRY CROCHET PROJECTS.
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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THE
TAPESTRY CROCHET PATTERNS
BELOW, PLEASE CLICK ON THEM:




















































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