Bee-U-tiful Bag

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.

bee frame

Honey bee frame showing dark nectar, yellow capped brood, and nurse bees feeding larvae.

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.

Card Holder

First bee bag, tapestry crocheted with (discontinued) Senso cotton thread, 2012.

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.


Second bag with an oval base and a split handle, (discontinued) Senso cotton, 2013.

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.


Bee-U-tiful Bag, Tahki Cotton Classic, 2014.

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!


8 Responses to “Bee-U-tiful Bag”

  1. Nina Reiderman says:


  2. Daniela Pagliaruli says:

    Good evening Carol,
    I would like to ask how is it possible to work tapestry crochet with more than two colors without twisting them.
    Thank you ^__^

    • Sally Bode says:

      As for knitting, crochet can also be worked with bobbins and then to keep them from tangling beyond what you can control with your fingers, you use clippy markers and only release the bobbin(s) being worked.

      I’ve worked several afghans in tapestry crochet and one bedspread (queen size) but it was not single crochet but in double crochet and obviously going back and forth rather than in the round. As the repeats could be far apart, I either marked with yarn scraps. My pattern which I charted, was in a grid with lines which were thicker at the 5, 10, and 20, etc. both horizontal and vertical. As when the width in stitches is over 300, mistakes are not something you want to make as the thought of frogging back is, well, should I start over?

      I did in fact start over once until I found a way to count it which was to clippy mark my work for the grid so I knew where I was. This was for the beginning.

      If you haven’t done it before, working up the technique on a gauge swatch gives you the practice you need.

      I hold my yarn as knitters do, so when I have a color change, I can manage four colors at once. But you have to start managing two colors first.

      Life is a learning experience. Sometimes you have other projects to do in between to build the skills and confidence to do what really is your inspiration.

      When I did the queen quilt, it took a lot of prep work, I doubted if i could do it or finish in time because my son was packing to move when I completed it. Believe me I tried to talk him out of it. asking for a queen comforter in crochet He left California for New Hampshire. So every night he can wrap himself up in Mom’s love. I miss him dreadfully. But I am glad I did this for him. But we share pictures a lot and talk at least every week.

      See the crochet, though it is double crochet it is done with a worsted which is more like DK and is a washable wool blended with acrylic. The technique is similar to single crochet tapestry and it is reversible completely looking the same on both side.

  3. I wrote a little bit about this in the post at Basically, I separate the colors (one on my right, one on my left, one in the middle, etc.) and let the colors twist next to the stitch being worked.

    • Daniela Pagliaruli says:

      Good morning Carol,
      thank you for been reading my question, and for your answer.
      I think that I need again to practicize the tapestry crochet with more than two colors, this time separating the colors as you do.

    • Daniela Pagliaruli says:

      Good morning Carol,
      I practized several times and in several ways in order to do tapestry crochet with more than two colors.
      I am sure that I need an instructional video.

      Thank you again for your help! ^__^

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