Monday, February 24, 2014

10 Things You Need to Know About Tapestry Crochet (a.k.a. graphghan crochet)

I recently ventured into my very first tapestry crochet project. Now, I've heard it called Tunesian crochet, but it's definitely not.  But I'll warn you, it goes by a g'zillion names. You may find it called graph-ghan crochet, fair isle crochet (it's not fair isle, at least not in terms of what this means in knitting), mosaic crochet, color work crochet, jaquard crochet, or  even hard crochet. 

Don't let that last name scare the jeebies out of you. If you know your way around a hook, a skein of yarn, and the basics of crochet, then you've got this. 

What I've found to be the greater problem is that information on this technique is not well compiled. It's kind of, well,...fragmented? Yes, that'd be it, fragmented. I had to learn bits and pieces, here-n-there, some folks doing a better job than others at being an authority on the subject, before I felt confident that I had the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed.  

But enough about that. 

If you would like to give tapestry crochet the ol' college try, then there are some things you might like to know.

10 Things You Might Like to Know

  • For your first try, a two color project (no more) is best. 
  • A symmetrical project is also a first project "best." 
  • I highly suggest you learn how to work with bobbins, as opposed to carrying your yarns. With just two colors, carrying works great. But as you ease into 3 or more colors, the bobbins will keep your individual colors "pure" (no background carried color visible in the stitches) and you'll avoid unnecessary thickness and bulk being added to your project.
  • Bobbins do NOT need to be made on cardboard or store purchased bobbin "thingies." Figure eighting yarn on your fingers, then cutting it free from the skein/ball and taking the cut end and wrapping several times around the middle (and tucking the end under that wrap) will work just fine. You would then pull yarn from the starter end when adding the bobbin to your ongoing work. I can explain more on this if needed.
  • Learn to always pull the unused colors to the official back side of your work.
  • If you desire to make squares (a la granny square work), I would suggest patterns no larger than 31 stitches by 31 rows (all single stitch) The above project is 160 stitches by about 120 rows, by the way. 
  • Knitting fair isle charts and/or perler bead charts make for great free patterns.
  • Think of this type of crochet as a true art form; it cannot be rushed.
  • You Tube videos will help you master the technique. 
  • A cotton washcloth with symmetrical pattern might be a good first try.
I hope these pointers help, and please leave a comment below to let me know if you've tried this type of crochet, link to your work if you have a link, and/or let me know what you make in this technique.
Live wise in Him!

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