I was going to post this next week, but was inspired by this beautiful New Year’s morning to share it with you today.
How did I hear about Bob’s love of tapestry crochet? You guessed it – the internet. I thought you might enjoy learning how he recently discovered the technique, has adapted some of my patterns, and is designing his own! Let me step aside and let Bob tell you about his tapestry crochet adventures [most of this was first posted at HappyHookers]:
“SilverStarShadow introduced the technique to me and I’ve been HOOKED ever since! I’ve made several stocking caps that had tapestry work done in the brim (just really simple patterns . . . like stripes for example). The people who received them were totally amazed. They thought they were woven. The hats I make are also pretty thick. I live in Michigan and can’t stand thin, wimpy hats . . . my balding head needs more padding . . . Now I’m ready to move onto something a bit more challenging. I tried to make one stocking cap that was supposed to have snowflakes going around the brim, but it just wouldn’t come out right. Then my sis (SilverStarShadow) sent me to Dr. Ventura’s website. The site has some YouTube files on it that made it much more clear to me as to the reason why my patterns were failing. It all has to do with the Graph Paper used [these papers are available in my tapestry crochet books and some papers are online Files in my Yahoo Tapestry Crochet Group]. Earlier this week, I ordered Dr. Ventura’s book More Tapestry Crochet. I’m eagerly waiting for it to arrive. Maybe it will make it to my mailbox today.”
“I started on this hat [below right] at noon and was done around 5 PM. It’s not complicated. All of the stitches are single crochets . . . It was just like magic appearing before my eyes.”
My Handspun Hats and Bobs hats.
“If I had to pick my worst made project, I would say that it was the Cat’s Meow bag [below]. The length vs. width just wasn’t a good combo. The bag looked too “tubish”.
My Cat’s Meow Purses from More Tapesty Crochet and Bob’s bottle carrier.
“I found a 2005 issue of Annies Favorite Crochet that has a beach bag tapestry crochet project in it. It’s called Patriotic Stars [see below]. The original is a dark navy background with white 5 pointed stars and trim. I’m using teal and orange. The colors reminded me of a beach ball. The image with the yarn pieces sticking out is the inside of the bag (the knotted side). This bag is turning out better than the Cat’s Meow Bag I made several weeks ago. This time I’m using a smaller hook. I’ve also learned to keep a snug tension on the yarn and to keep the stitches tight. I’m not a tight crocheter so this time I’m using an F hook (I used a G on the other bag).”
“Yes . . . it is RHSS [Red Heart Super Saver] yarn. The colors used were Teal and Vibrant Orange. I always think of those 2 colors when I think of the beach. And this pattern is a beach bag tote. ”
My Patriotic Stars Bag and Bob’s Patriotic Stars Bag.
“It’s REALLY strong. It took me a bit longer than I thought it would take to get it finished. I got SO lost when it came time to create the strap. I got totally frustrated and walked away from it for 2 days. Then I finally figured out what the pattern was telling me. As you can see, everything is made as one entire piece. There is a chain of 150 that makes the beginning of the strap. The pattern just said “with blue, chain 150 and sc in the 72nd stitch around the bag”. I was making the chain and wasn’t carrying the orange along with it. That’s what kept messing me up. I had the strand of orange way over on the opposite side of the bag. Once I got myself back on track, I had it done in just a few days.”
“I’m tellin’ ya. . . You could put bricks in this bag, knock a mugger upside his head and STILL not break a single thread! LOLOLOL [Laugh Out Loud]. I’m very pleased with the final result. My tapestry skills have improved a LOT just since the last bag I made. SilverStar has that bag now. I was talking with her on the phone and telling her how nice the strap on the bag was turning out. And when the star bag was finally done, I told her that she needed to throw that trashy Cat’s Meow bag out! The strap on that bag wasn’t very good at all. I could see a lot of the carried yarn showing through. I think she’s going to use it as a “catch all” bag for her car. That bag has a strap that pulls through a slit on the opposite side of the bag so the bag stays shut. I actually like the strap that I just finished making a little better.”
“Originally, this bag [below] is done with a size Q hook and wool is used. Then the bag is to be felted. I used RHSS and switched my hook size to an F. The bag came out to be just under 6″ at the base. The bag is round at the bottom… I just squished it down so the picture would show the diameter at the bottom and the decreases at the top. I also changed the length of the strap.”
My felted Hip Hop and Bob’s Hip Hop bag.
“This [below] is another one of Carol Ventura’s designs. She named this pattern For The Birds! She got her inspiration for this bag from pre-Columbian interlocking designs from Peru and 20th century artist M. C Escher. Originally, this bag is supposed to have a diameter of 192 stitches. But because she uses thread type yarns and I don’t, I had to decrease the size of the pattern to keep from making a tote rather than something that’s handbag size. My bag is 96 stitches in diameter. Her pattern tells you how many stitches make up the motif so that you are able to increase/decrease the stitches to make a bag in the size you want.”
“This bag is being gifted to one of my good friends, Brian, in Arizona. He recently bought a very nice dig cam with extra memory cards and other accessories that can be used with it. He wanted a small bag to keep everything in so that nothing got misplaced. I think that this bag should be the perfect fit. The base of my bag is 7.5 inches long and 3 inches deep. I think that the finished height will be 11 inches once the strap is put on. Here’s some pics of my progress so far. The bags progress has been one of the main topics of discussion while talking to him on the phone. He hasn’t seen the pictures that are being shown in this post. The only thing he knows is that it is an interlocking mosaic/bird design. When I told him that the background color of the bag is actually another bird, I could hear the confusion in his voice. I’ll have a huge grin when I get the “I got the bag” phone call from him. He’s gonna be amazed when he see this.”
My For the Birds from More Tapestry Crochet and Bob’s For the Birds Bag.
“The strap is taking a very long time to finish. It’s 298 stitches each time I make another round for the strap. I did 2 yellow, 2 green and 2 red. That equals 1,788 for one half of the strap. I’m on the last round of red for the first half.”
“This bag was a lot of fun to make. All of the constant color changing kept it from becoming a boring project. The strap took a very long time to complete. The straps design was for a larger bag . . . 2 rounds of each color on each side of the strap (4 yellow rounds in the center – then 2 green and 2 red rounds on each side). I also made the length of the strap much much longer than the original pattern called for. Because of the smaller bag size, I was going to rip back and do only one round of each color on each side of the strap, but the guy that this bag was made for wanted a comfortable “across the chest” strap. The bag was made smaller than the average tote because it’s going to be used for his dig cam and all of the other accessories that he uses. The finished look is VERY different. When I look at it, I see a large strap that seems to just belly out at the bottom creating a “bag”. Pretty cool result. I feel that the wide strap gave the bag a more masculine feel. I’m really happy with the way this bag turned out and he’s gonna have saucer sized eyes when he sees it. He’s seen some of the progress pics, but he will not get to see the pics that are posted here in this message. Besides . . . pictures don’t do tapestry bags justice. The picture can’t capture all of the texture in the bag. And the feel of a tapestry bag is different from any other handmade project I’ve had my hands on.”
Bob has also designed some fabulous pieces, including the stocking hats below. He described the 66″ long black and white hat and showed it’s progress in several HappyHookers postings:
“I did this hat’s [below right] brim a bit different than all of the other hats I’ve made. This brim is not made in the round. It was made from rows of back loop only. Then the beginning row was attached to the final row of the ribbing. Then I began crocheting stitches into the end of the tube shape I created. From that point, it’s done as tapestry crochet. There are a total of 6 stripes on this hat, 3 white and 3 black. The stripes will get thinner as the hat increases in length.”
Some of Bob’s tapestry crocheted stocking hats.
Bob describes his latest tapestry crochet pieces below, first the hat: “I . . . went down to a Size I hook and double stranded the 3 colors that were used. The finished result is a very thick hat that’s a perfect fit. It’s fit for a King!”
Bob’s latest pieces are a hat and his very own Fleur-de-Lis.
“I had been working on this graph project [above right] since before Thanksgiving. I really like the Fleur-De-Lis design and wanted to incorporate it into a tapestry project. Working from Tapestry Graph paper for right handed in the round, I began to graph out my design using PhotoShop. The paint bucket tool allowed me to color in the holes of the graph. This saves me a TON of money on ink. I can’t even begin to think of all graph paper that I have printed out so I could use a pencil to scribble in the idea that’s floating around in my head. I managed to get an overall design graphed up and then started to work on it.”
“I had to rip back a few times, but finally got the result I wanted . . . I had been working on for quite sometime so I got it all finished up . . . I’m thinking that this could be worked into a pair of mittens. Maybe even a hat/mitten set. I have lots of thoughts . . . it just gets complicated trying to get all those thoughts into a usable pattern.”
“If my math is correct, I’m pretty sure that I can put the design into a small sized handbag and still have everything come out evenly spaced. And I’m still thinking of mittens too . . . although I’ve never made a pair from a pattern, much less figuring out how to write down my own pattern . . . hhhmmmmmmmmm there goes my brain again LOL.”
Bob’s enthusiasm, generosity, and encouragement are inspiring others to appreciate and even try their hand at tapestry crochet. I hope you will be able to do the same! Wouldn’t this be a great New Year’s Resolution?