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How to Do Tapestry Crochet With Free Patterns

Updated on August 2, 2017
Barbara Kay profile image

I've been crocheting since I was a little girl. Since then I've designed for magazines and offer free patterns at my site.

Tapestry Crochet Sacks from Guatemala
Tapestry Crochet Sacks from Guatemala | Source
These pieces were all crocheted in Guatemala to sell to tourist.
These pieces were all crocheted in Guatemala to sell to tourist. | Source

What is Different About Tapestry Crochet?

Tapestry crochet is a type of crochet where you use a base color of yarn and work in different designs with other colors. The completed project looks more like a woven piece than crochet. It is completed a little differently than other methods.

The technique has been around for years, but Carol Ventura has made it popular in the US. She found beautiful bags, hats, baskets and other items while she served in the Peace Corp in Guatemala. This type of work is popular in many other countries as well.

At one time, it was called hard crochet, color work, jacquard, or mosaic crochet. Tapestry crochet better fits the technique, because you end up with a beautiful tapestry that looks like it was woven on a loom.

It can be completed with or without beads. The beads add a nice touch. You can use almost any type of yarn. Once you learn the method and create the designs, you can crochet almost anything with this technique. Purses and bags are popular.

Carol Ventura, Youtube

How to do Tapestry Crochet

Tapestry crochet is usually completed with single crochet stitches. Higher stitches are used on occasion to help form the design. It doesn't leave strands of yarn on the back of the work, so this is an advantage over other crochet techniques. You'll need to learn the crab stitch. The crab stitch is just doing the stitches in reverse.

  1. To start, you will just single crochet, but when you get to the end of the row, don't turn. Instead work in reverse single crochet, also known as the crab stitch. To do a reverse single crochet, keep the work facing you at all times. At the end of the row, rather than turning the piece, work single crochets to the right rather than to the left like you would usually do.
  2. Then when you start the next row, work to the right again. This is easy, as long as you remember to never turn your piece of work.
  3. Following a chart, you will make color changes by crocheting with the yarn behind the previous color used. You'll be crocheting with two strands of yarn at one time. This will form a heavy fabric with no strands showing on the back of the work.
  4. If the strands start winding around each other, you'll have to unwind them. Don't wait too long to do this, or it will become a bigger job unwinding.

The heavy fabric works well for purses, baskets and anything where you need a heavy fabric.You can even create a beautiful wall hanging,purses, bowls, baskets or rugs. Your finished piece will be a work of art.

If you have any problems with the stitches or patterns, there is an entire Yahoo Group that is dedicated to this type of crochet. You can ask any questions that you have there. The group is wonderful about helping. Carol has also created several videos besides the one shown here that will teach you how to use beads with your work and many other advanced techniques.

Free Patterns from Around the Web

You can use many of the vintage Tunisian and filet crochet charts to design your own patterns. To find free patterns designed for Tapestry Crochet, just click on the blue titles below to find the them.

Red Heart Yarn, Youtube

Free Charts

These charts can all be used to create your own tapestry crochet designs.

Angels Crochet offers free chart patterns for 26 different designs. You can even print your own graph paper. Included at the site are 2 charts for cats, a panther, dinosaur, frogs, bats, angels and more.

Shona's Place has so many graphs that you'll never get finished crocheting all that you'd like to do. She includes lots of dogs, cats, wolves and too many more to name.

The Stylish Crochet Blog has several charts that are for filet crochet, but would work fine for tapestry too.

These three sites alone have so many graphs to choose from, you are sure to find just what you'd like to use.


By Carol Ventura, Youtube

Free Patterns

Find several free patterns at this site Tapestry Crochet.

Design Your Own Pattern

If you've crocheted a few of these projects, you are on your way to designing your own. Use some graph paper to map out your own design. Start out simple and then share the design with the world. There aren't many patterns available with this technique.

Are you Going to Give Tapestry Crochet a Try?

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    • Margaridab profile image

      Margarida Borges 10 months ago from Lyon, France

      I've never tried tapestry crochet because I thought it was a difficult technique to change colors all the time . I liked your explanation and I'm thinking of giving it a try. Thanks!

    • Cool Tapestries profile image

      Cool Tapestries 13 months ago

      amazing, nicely done

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      peachpurple, It is not hard to crochet. If you watch a few Youtube videos, you can learn. Thanks for viewing.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      very unique design, i wish i know how to crochet

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      kschimmel, Thanks for viewing the hub. This technique opens up an entire new world of crochet design.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 2 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      This is another great crochet technique--I love to play with color and the tapestry technique makes wonderfully sturdy purses.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      DrBill, Thanks for viewing. I love the idea of tapestry crochet myself, since it reminds me of prehistoric art.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for an interesting and useful Hub! Love those two images at the top. What fun! ;-)

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      moonlake, Thanks for viewing and voting up. Tapestry crochet is a beautiful art form.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      I love the patterns. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      RTalloni, It sounds like a good idea. Thanks.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this introduction to tapestry crochet. I am very much interested in learning to do letters, but can see that I need to give myself time to perfect the crab stitch and working with the two strand technique on small projects first.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Stephanie, The trick is to start with just two colors. Keeping the colors from twisting etc is supposed to be the hard part. I'd start with something small with 2 colors and work your way up. Thanks for commenting.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      I've never tried tapestry crochet, but would love to do a pillow or afghan in a Southwest design using this method. The reverse crochet looks difficult though...probably some practice on a small item like a potholder would be a good start? Voted up and shared!

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Haddy J, It is hard to keep all of the colors apart. Starting one with just 2 colors would be easiest. Thanks for viewing and commenting.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      teaches12345, Thanks for viewing the hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      A very beautiful post. Tapestry is such a beautiful technique.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Alise-Evon, I better start with a small project then and without a lot of colors. Thanks for your input.

    • profile image

      Alise- Evon 4 years ago

      Barbara Kay,

      I do not think using the bottles would work for thread. You have to keep moving the balls of thread around to keep the individual threads lined up, having them in a bottle means you would just have to move the bottles around, and that would be a bigger job:) With yarn, though, it might be to your benefit to use them, especially if the skeins keep unraveling more than you want them to, making an even bigger mess:) You will still have to move them around, but it would be a lot more tidy, I'm thinking.

      Have fun, be patient, especially if it's a large project. My bowl is beautiful, but it took hours and hours.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Alise-Evon, I am excited about this technique myself. I wonder if putting the yarn in 2 liter bottles wouldn't work for this? They cut the bottles in half and then place the yarn in and run it out of the hole on top. It might work, but I wonder if it will still tangle at the top. Thanks for reading the hub.

    • profile image

      Alise- Evon 4 years ago

      Very interesting hub. I did one tapestry bowl in the round a few years ago because I wanted the challenge. It has a southwest pattern to it- circle in the middle with diamonds after that. I had to do it at the table because I was using 5 balls of thread simultaneously and it was just easier- you are so right about wanting to keep those threads untangled!

      Love the kitty bag pattern you link to. I might try that sometime once I get my current projects done:)

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Prasetio, Thanks for viewing and voting up. I think your Mom will like it.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Beautiful creation. I'll show this hub to my mom. Thanks for sharing with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Vickiw, Thanks. I want to crochet a purse using the technique. That way I am showing off my work at the same time. I hope you are able to finish your tapestry. Thanks for reading.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Audrey, If you know how to crochet, this is simple. Thanks for viewing.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
      Author

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      fayhef, Thanks for reading the hub. I love the idea of tapestry crochet too, because you end up with a piece of art. Thanks for voting it up.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed this Hub. I have never heard of tapestry crochet before, but now I want to make something - maybe a wall hanging! You have given great information here, and so comprehensive.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      So interesting and looks pretty easy too!

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      Great hub..I love this and it is going on my must do this list....voting up and sharing