Caroline Routh, Tapestry Crochet Artist

Tapestry crochet and the internet brought Caroline Routh and me together and this past Spring we finally met. Caroline studied and taught painting and design before becoming a fiber artist. As you can see, this background shines through in her exquisite abstract and figurative tapestry crochet works of art.

Caroline Routh Baskets
Caroline’s Red Stripes and Georgian Landscape are 5″ tall.

Caroline’s working method allows her to create shapely, three dimensional sculptures and vessels with fantastic color variations. How does she achieve such an extensive palette? By mixing the threads as if they were paint, of course!

Her “paints” of choice include sizes 3 and 5 cotton threads and embroidery floss (each strand is composed of six 9 yard long pieces), which are available in a rainbow of tints and shades. Metallic thread and novelty yarn are ocassionaly utilized for special effects. Caroline usually combines 2 strands into one working thread to increase the thickness. Sometimes the strands are the same color, other times each is different. She subtly varies the hues by replacing one strand at a time with another color either as it is needed or when it runs out. The new thread is tied on with a weaver’s reef knot, then the join is skillfully hidden by crocheting over it.

Caroline Routh Shell
Caroline’s tapestry crocheted Shell is 7 1/4″ long.

Detail of Tapestry Crochet Shell
This detail shows how one color transitions into another.

How do Caroline’s sculptures stay in shape? With a wire skeleton – what else would work so well? She demonstrated the technique for me below. For a lot of color changes, as many as 7 threads are carried with the wire. When no color changes are necessary,  only the wire is carried.

Caroline Routh Tapestry Crocheting
The florist wire that Caroline carries plays an important supportive role.

Caroline Routh Blackbird
Caroline’s Blackbird is 10″ high. The wire skeleton keeps it in shape.

A painter’s sensibility and tapestry crochet are successfully married in the one-of-a-kind imaginative pieces that are available through her web site and at the Mad and Noisy Gallery in Creemore, Ontario. What an inspiration!

14 Responses to “Caroline Routh, Tapestry Crochet Artist”

  1. Judy Grivas says:

    Thanks so much for this article, Carol! Caroline is wonderful inspiration to those of us who are beginners in this craft. I think all of us who try to design our own tapestry patterns and work other designs in crochet are fiber artists…and what wonderful company we keep!

  2. Fredda says:

    Thank you for sharing some of Caroline Routh’s work. You and Caroline are making an incredible contribution to the world of fiber arts, especially by sharing its roots and inspiring us to keep old art forms alive.

    You are both an inspiration.

  3. Deborah says:

    Wonderful and beautiful. I so enjoy learning about new ways to improve crochet. Plus, using wire for the sculptures-great tip! Thank you.

  4. Amy says:

    This is amazing, Carol–thanks for sharing it!

  5. syeda says:

    these landscapes are great.

  6. Teresa D says:

    Your art work is beautiful I would like to know if you have an illustrated book on how to combine the wire with the yarn so well. Also is there a way to combine this technique by simple crochet, because I have not yet grasped tapestry crochet.

  7. My web page at http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/rightstitches.html will show you how to carry yarn, or thread, or wire, or whatever.

  8. Ellen says:

    Caroline, your work is breathtaking. You actually paint with yarn! What an inspiration. I look forward to seeing more of your work and wish you the very best.

  9. Meg-an Jack says:

    Beautiful work!!! I’m very impressed with the landscape especially the sky and clouds! I crocheted a hat two years ago starting with the sky, and although I thought I had lots of shades of blue, when it came to painting the sky I was disapointed in the result. It was too abrubt in the graduations, so I remedied the problem by needle-felting wispy clouds over the top. Funny thing happened then after many hours of work, I emerged out of my mobile home bus, to find the real sky full of ‘Wispy’ clouds! Yours is just exquisite, well done

  10. ronit semann says:

    hi my name is ronit
    i want to make a crochet portrait
    wher can i find a lesson how to make this wandrful art?
    thank ronit

  11. My free design video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZTqLx5OfI0 should get you started.

  12. John Ricks says:

    I discovered how to crochet when I was seven. It did take me a fair amount of time to master it but now I can create lots of items now. I love it!

  13. Tracey says:

    This is truly some of the most beautiful crochet work I’ve ever seen! That landscape basket is an absolutely gorgeous work of art!

  14. Marie-Anne says:

    Are her patterns available for purchase?

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