Archive for the ‘Tapestry Crochet, Middle East’ Category

Sew Fine!

Tuesday, 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!


Thursday, 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!

Peaceful Tapestry Crochet

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Although Mohammed Assadi doesn’t know the difference between knitting and crochet, hooks and needles, or wool and cotton, he wrote a very interesting article for in August about how tapestry crochet is helping support industrious women in Palestine.

Palestinian tapestry crochet
Palestinian tapestry crocheter and kippah

The short piece says that women in villages like Deir Abu Meshal on the West Bank have been producing religious headgear for their Jewish neighbors (and for export to the US) for years. The women told him that they enjoy making kippah while talking to each other and can tapestry crochet five a day.  At $3 each, that’s only $15,  but money goes further there than it does in the US.

Isn’t it wonderful that tapestry crochet not only helps put food on their tables, but also brings people together?

4 Sale

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Don’t have time to tapestry crochet stocking stuffers? Well, you’re in luck – because a quick internet search will produce a fabulous selection of products that help support local artisans. So what’s out there?

I found a rainbow of kippot like the ones below from Israel and Guatemala.

These kippot are imported from Israel and sold by

Guatemalan Kippot
Colorful Guatemalan kippot are also available at MayaWorks.

And there’s a wonderful selection of other tapestry crocheted products from Guatemala, too.

Guatemalan Shoulder Bags
Rectangular shoulder bags from Todos Santos are sold by TerraExperience.

Shoulderbags from Guatemala
Cylindrical bags from Aguacatan can be found at Little Mango Imports.

Hacky Sacks form Guatemala
Little Mango Imports also sells these hacky sacks.

There are MANY more sites that sell tapestry crocheted items, some of which are Fair Trade businesses that pay a fair price to the producers. Happy holidays!