Tapestry Crochet Technique

Tapestry crochet looks pretty complicated from the first glance only. The great news is that it's not difficult to learn skill.  As usually, similar   final result can be obtained in a few different ways. You can use different kinds of crochet stitches, crochet them in different techniques, use two or more colors of yarn.  Nevertheless, a couple of things still has to be available:

  •  your patience, to follow graphical chart and change colors multiple times
  •  know how to crochet basic crochet stitches. We will consider the simplest and the most often used of them US single crochet (UK double crochet) stitch.

How to change colors.

You can crochet flat turning your work at the end of each row OR work in a round when right side of crocheting is always facing you. No matter how you make your tapestry crocheting, there are two rules to remember while you are changing colors.

1. Always carry the unused yarn inside the stitches.
2. Change colors ONE STITCH BEFORE you have to introduce new color,  to get a neat color change.

Here is a very clear and understandable demonstration about changing colors.

To get a neat color change in tapestry crocheting is very important if you really care about the way your work looks. It  becomes especially important is a chosen pattern has not just simple combination of solid block but includes some elements with more or less complicated shapes. Let's consider how to make them look clear and tidy. As an example we are going to use this simple chart.

Flat Tapestry Crochet

tapestry crochett basic chart

How do we make traditional flat crocheting if we use single crochet stitches (US term)? First row and all odd rows we crochet from right to left.  At the end of the row we make 1 chain stitch for turning and turn our work wrong side facing us. 

Second row  (and all even rows) we also crochet from right to left and finish it with one turning chain at the end of the row. In other words,  we  work either on the right or wrong side of crocheting from right to left all the time. Here is a simple single crochet  swatch. Stitches are crocheted under the TWO LOOPS of the previous row stitches.

You can see that my pattern does not really have neat and clear look. Especially it is noticeable on those two one-line horizontal stripes. Can its look be improved? Let's look what Carol Ventura - a real guru of tapestry crocheting says about it.

According to Carol there are two major ways, to make flat tapestry  pattern look accurate while you crocheting flat fabric.

1. Alternate-Rows-Switch-Hands-Crochet Method.
On the right side crochet across the piece from right to left. Remember to carry the unused color(s). Do not turn your work. Keep the right side facing you. Using your non-dominant hand (left if you are right handed) crochet from left to the right. Read pattern from left to right too.

 2. Reverse Crochet Techniques.
On the right side (odd rows) crochet across the piece from right to left. Turn the piece over. Instead of inserting you hook from front to back like in a regular crocheting insert it from back to front. Direction of crocheting still from right to the left.

Both of these techniques DO require some practice.

Spiral (Continual) Tapestry Crochet

There are two different ways, to create a crochet circle.
1. Crochet in rounds. Each time we do a round, we crochet  a slip stitch , to join first and last stitch of the row. Then  chain 1 for the step up to the next round.
2. Crochet in  spirals. WE DO NOT join first and last stitch of the round. Once you crocheted the last stitch of the row, the very first stitch of the next row goes into the first stitch of the previous row. No slip stitch, no chain 1 for the next row. Use the stitch markers,  to be sure you crochet the first stitch of the next row EXACTLY into the first stitch of the previous row.

Crocheting in spirals is often used when you do tapestry crocheting. This way your piece is ALWAYS facing you and you change the colors from the same side of the work. Not only it makes crocheting more pleasant process, but it also makes your final project much more accurate.

Crocheting a single crochet, you can insert the hook:

1. Under the two loops
2 Under the back loop
3.Under the front loop.
Let's experiment crocheting the very same tapestry pattern we crocheted above.

Spiral tapestry crochet under two loops

Under the two loops. Pattern looks much   neater than the one I made with flat tapestry crocheting above. Nevertheless, we can see that a pattern has pretty obvious slant to the right. (I am a right-handed crocheter). For some patterns it does not make too much difference, while for the majority of them it will make a final result far from the original crochet chart.

Spiral tapestry crochet under back loop

Under the back loop. Final result is MUCH better. No pattern distortion, no mess around stitches.

Perhaps, crocheting in spirals under the back loop would be the best choice if you care about quality of your tapestry project while crocheting in circles.

› Tapestry Crochet