Tapestry Crochet is one of the oldest colorwork techniques in crochet. Worked with multiple yarn colors, the crochet artwork is possible with your regular crochet hooks. The beautiful technique allows you to create detailed graphic patterns using two or more strands of yarn of different colors. All the yarn colors needed for your work are carried along your stitches. In our previous blog, we discussed colorwork techniques in crochet. In this blog, we’ll focus on tapestry crochet. We'll delve into the fascinating world of the unique crochet craft and explore its origins, essential tools, basic techniques, and tips to help you embark on your colorful journey in yarn artistry.
Origins and Inspiration
The rich history of tapestry crochet dates back centuries, with its roots in various cultures worldwide. Originally it was used to create practical items such as bags, pouches, and household items. Over time, it evolved into a sought-after artistic expression, blending traditional techniques with modern designs.
Inspired by traditional tapestries and woven textiles, tapestry crochet allows you to create intricate patterns and images using multiple colors in a completed reversible fabric. The technique involves working with two or more strands of yarn simultaneously, carrying the unused colors within the stitches to create a seamless design. The result is a fabric that resembles a woven tapestry, with bold motifs and striking color contrasts.
Before you dive into tapestry crochet, gather the necessary tools to ensure a smooth and enjoyable crafting experience:
Yarn: As you will be working with multiple colors, choose complimenting or contrasting shades according to your project requirement. If you are following a pattern, you may get suggestions on yarns. Choose yarns with a similar weight, texture, and even fiber, which will help create a neat and put-together fabric.
Crochet Hooks: Opt for a hook size that complements your chosen yarn. Make sure it's comfortable to hold and work with for extended periods. You can work with any single-ended crochet hook, but ensure it matches the yarn weight. Even if you have interchangeable Tunisian crochet hooks, you can work it for regular crochet but don’t attach the cord. Without any cord attached, it works as a single-ended crochet hook. If you own any crochet hook sets, you have multiple sizes in one kit allowing convenience for a wide range of projects.
Yarn Bobbins or Cards: These tools help manage multiple colors of yarn, preventing tangling and ensuring a clean color transition. Make sure to wind the balls neatly so you do not face any hassle managing numerous colors. An excellent option to safely store these multiple yarn balls is to put them in the knit-out box, which you can carry whenever you are crafting outdoors.
Scissors: A good pair of scissors is essential for cutting yarn and tidying up loose ends.
Tapestry Needle: Use any of the large-eyed finishing needles for weaving in ends and finishing your project. The finishing needle should be a size smaller than the crochet hook so that you can bury the yarn ends neatly and securely in the crocheted fabric.
Measuring tapes: If you are working on a project that requires fit, measuring tapes are essential.
Basic Crochet Stiches: In tapestry crochet, you will work on the project with single crochet stitches. The basic crochet stitch is the shortest of the other stitches and creates a dense fabric. You simply insert the crochet hook in the 2nd chain or the next stitch. Yarn over and draw yarn through the work only. Yarn over again and pull the thread through both loops on the hook. One single crochet stitch is made. Add 1 chain stitch that works as the turning chain for the next row or round.
Color Changes: To create the intricate patterns of tapestry crochet, you have to change colors within your stitches. Before completing the last color, start the stitch in the new color. This will secure the new color and prevent gaps in your work. You can follow our easy guide to changing colors in crocheting.
Carrying Yarn: When you switch colors, carry the unused yarn along the back of your work. Crochet over the new color to trap it within your stitches. Be mindful not to move the thread too tightly, distorting the fabric.
Tension: Maintaining consistent tension is crucial in tapestry crochet. If your stitches are too tight, the fabric will pucker; the design might be unclear if they're too loose. Practice will help you find the right balance.
Reading Charts: Many tapestry crochet patterns are presented as charts or graphs. Each square on the chart represents a stitch; the colors indicated guide your color changes. Start with more straightforward charts and gradually progress to more complex designs.
Tips for Success with Tapestry Crochet
- Start Small with a Dishcloth or Coaster
Begin with a small tapestry crochet project, such as a coaster or a pouch, to familiarize yourself with the technique before tackling more oversized items like blankets or garments. Once you have practice and skills to weave in the yarns on a smaller scale carefully, you can quickly try out the skills on a blanket or other flat project.
- Choose Simple Patterns
As a beginner, opt for patterns with fewer color changes and straightforward designs. As you gain confidence, you can challenge yourself with more intricate motifs.
- Practice Tension
Tapestry crochet requires consistent tension to ensure a neat and even fabric. Practice your yarn tension with swatches before diving into a whole project.
Tapestry crochet is a captivating technique that allows you to transform yarn into intricate, visually stunning creations. With a rich history and endless creative possibilities, tapestry crochet opens the door to a world of colorful expression. By mastering the basics, experimenting with different colors, and honing your skills, you'll be well on your way to creating tapestry crochet masterpieces that showcase your unique artistic flair. So gather your yarn, hooks, and tools, and embark on a vibrant journey into the captivating art of tapestry crochet.
With the Lantern Moon collection, explore handcrafted knitting needles and crochet hooks from precious ebony wood. Each needle, hook, and accessories are made by skilled artisans specializing in generations-old craftsmanship.