The most popular way to do tapestry crochet is with the single crochet stitch, inserting the hook into the back loop or under both loops while carrying the other color(s). Each method produces a different result, with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. The choice is yours.
Archive for the ‘Tapestry Crochet Design’ Category
I grew up seeing people knit and crochet in public; today it’s a rare site. I’m one of the few who continues this tradition. I love crocheting where people can see what I’m doing and it’s certainly a great conversation starter!
Experience has taught me that geometric patterns tapestry crocheted with light, contrasting colors work best for crocheting in distracting places with low light – the usual scenario. I did the first rounds of the bag pictured below at home because they were a bit more complicated – but crocheted the rest of the tote while attending a number of very interesting talks at a honey bee conference and a textile symposium. I was the only crocheter at both events, but did see a few knitters there.
I first crocheted this geometric motif in 2013, but didn’t see the letters back then. But after crocheting a few sections this time, I noticed the conjoined letters, M and E. I like to think it was a subliminal message from my inner self; I didn’t need the affirmation in 2013, but it’s very appropriate now.
I usually create both right and left-handed versions of my patterns at Patternfish, but since “ME” only manifests when crocheting right handed, I decided not to create left-handed instructions because the word would appear backwards – not good.
The new ME Tote pattern is based on the larger Leftover Bag seen next to me below. I also crocheted the Leftover Bag in public, but some of the colors were too difficult to see in the low PowerPoint lit venues where I crocheted it; lesson learned.
This tote was a joy to crochet. I hope you’ll give it a try – even if you find yourself crocheting in a well-lit, calm location.
A square base, floating motifs, and pull-strap joined forces to create the unique tapestry crocheted tote seen below. The heavy fabric was produced with tight stitches tapestry crocheted with Classic Elite Provence mercerized Egyptian cotton.
The instructions for this Floating Squares Tote are in the April 2015 issue of QUICK & EASY CROCHET ACCESSORIES, published by Crochet! Magazine. The versatile shoulder strap that keeps the bag closed is easily converted into a pair of short handles (as seen below).
The magazine includes instructions for more than forty stylish accessories. I think you’ll be inspired by this special issue – so please take a look!
These bags were inspired by my hard working girls, who have been entertaining and teaching me since 2011. As you’ve probably heard, honey bees face a number of challenges today, including parasites, hive beetles, and diseases that were unknown in the US just a few decades ago. Pesticides and herbicides that are not supposed to bother them have weakened and killed many beneficial insects, making it difficult for them to overcome new challenges. Fortunately, my bees are quite resilient, having survived many of my well-intentioned, but stressful interventions. You see, no one agrees about how to keep or help honey bees and a procedure that works with one hive might hurt another.
My first design challenge was choosing the colors. All three bags in this posting were tapestry crocheted with two carried colors, which produced very sturdy fabrics. Black and yellow were the obvious choices for the bees, but what about the background?
Next, I had to figure out how to draw a honey bee motif on rounds tapestry crochet graph paper. I looked at lots of my own photos and online for inspiration, then asked friends and family which graphs they preferred. The top two choices are featured on my first attempt below.
The bees look a little better on the next version (below), but I decided that the experimental handle on the oval-based bag was too long to hold, but awkward as a shoulder strap.
The bees were tweaked again on the final bag (below), crocheted with Tahki Cotton Classic. Separate patterns for this bag with photos, tutorials, and graphs are now available on Patternfish for right-handed crocheters and left-handed crocheters.
I crocheted these bee themed bags while attending three different beekeeping conferences and look forward to showing off my Bee-U-tiful bag at the next one! I love that you can tapestry crochet just about anywhere, allowing me to combine two of my passions!
What to do with yarn left over from other projects? How about using them to crochet this useful bag? The carried colors and tight stitches combine to form a sturdy fabric that does not need to be lined. Many types of threads or yarns could be used to make this bag. Although any number of contrasting colors would work, only four were used in this example; Coffee and Grape from the Geometry Tote and Bronze and Bone from the Handy Basket. Do you see where the Coffee ran out, just seven stitches before finishing the rim on the inside of the back handle? Such is life.
The flat oval spiral base is crocheted first, then when the diameter of the base is no longer increased, the edges of the spiral move upwards to form the walls. The motif is eight stitches wide, so the total number of stitches in the base is a multiple of eight. It is possible to make a variety of sizes with the same design motif simply by increasing or decreasing the size of the base.
This large, sturdy bag can be made from leftovers and hold them, too! It’s my newest pattern, with photos, tutorials, and graphs individually prepared for right-handed crocheters and left-handed crocheters.
My reversible Spiral Coasters pattern is one of more than 30 projects in Interweave’s 2015 Crochet Home! This fabulous special issue includes a variety of crochet techniques, including tapestry crochet, tunisian, fillet, and Bruges lace.
I hope you’ll take a look and give these coasters a try!
For those who like to crochet loosely – this project is for you – since it is tapestry crocheted with a large hook and loose stitches.
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.
For more felted tapestry crochet projects, please take a look at my Bead & Felted Tapestry Crochet book.
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.
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 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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 machine-sewed grosgrain ribbon to the back of the strap to reinforce it.
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 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!
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.
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!
Large, loose stitches felt wonderfully in a washing machine. The carried yarn makes the fabric durable, so no lining is necessary.
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.
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.
I had to experiment with the cosmetic bag, too. Each of the finished bags (below on the right) have a zipper closure.
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.
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.”
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!”
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!”
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.”
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!”
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.”
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!”
I love that the bottoms of Marina’s drawstring bags are just as interesting as the sides!
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.”
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 sells her graphs and tapestry crochet bag patterns on both Ravelry and Etsy (and her bags here, too). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Their photo looks much better, don’t you think?
I hope you’ll take a look and give this project – and some of the others – a try!
Just in time for summer!
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.”
“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!”
“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!
I never copy exactly what I see. That would be unethical and too easy. Instead, I prefer to challenge myself by reinterpreting motifs and designs. So when Interweave asked me to write about and design a Bamum hat, I looked through my collection, chose a style, and took it from there.
My first attempt (bottom left) turned out too small. The octagonal top was produced by increasing in the same spot each time. I didn’t like the way the wedges lined up with the motifs and they were too large to allow for slight size adjustments, so I made the next one (bottom right) with several improvements.
I was happier with the second hat – so that’s the one you’ll find in Interweave’s 2012 Crochet Traditions. The circular top was produced by making more random increases. The motifs are small, so the circumference and height may be subtly changed by increasing or decreasing the number of motifs.