i adapted this from the tapestry crochet kitty bag pattern. this only bubbled back into my consciousness because i was trying to work out how come i get so many search hits for variations of crochet hello kitty (kitty from this pattern, hello from the url). and i guess this post will prolly just compound the problem – sorry guys, no hello kitty here.
i was fascinated by the idea of tapestry crochet (aka mosaic crochet) – that you carry alternate colours of yarn within each stitch so you can create a 2-colour design without floats on the reverse of the fabric. the extra yarn makes the fabric stiff and perfectly suited to the containers i’m rather taken with, and desperately in need of – having very little storage space most of my stuff is on display.
i spiralled a base, but had to rip back a fair way to get it to sit flat. is there some kind of formula for making the increases so you get a properly flat round irrespective of the weight of the yarn?
even though i faithfully counted a hundred stitches in the final round (twice!) for a multiple of the 10-stitch pattern, i found i had loads of extra stitches once i’d completed the first pattern round. this actually worked to my advantage as it turned out i wasn’t happy that the sides were shaping up as i wanted. i had major splaying with the previous container i made, so i reduced a stich every other round between the first and last repeats, until the gap was the same as the other repeats. so now it has this fantastic gently curving shape.
the tapestry technique is a little unweildy but fairly easy to adapt to. my biggest problem was the yarns twisting together as i worked. it got more complicated when i introduced the third thread for the green eyes, especially since that thread was doubled, but since it was only for one round it didn’t get impossibly messy. i used a fairly small hook for the weight of the yarn (3.5 mm i think), and worked as tight as i could, and was heading towards blisters by the end.
there wasn’t quite enough yarn to complete the final row, but i figured the extra height was worth the not-quite-joining-up, and it would never have been perfect since it’s worked as a spiral so there would be a jog at the end no matter what.
fate stepped in when it came to blocking. i tried every round object in the house until inspiration struck – it turned out to be a perfect match for one of my saucepans. i stretched it, steamed it over the kettle for a couple of minutes then let it cool in situ.
i’m really pleased with this, especially since the final idea and execution only took an evening’s work plus a little finishing and blocking, instant project . i love how the colours work together – alone the shropshire was much browner, but given the creamy white contrast it comes over much more grey. the colour changes also really helped me come to grips with the structure of a crochet stitch, that the final loop of the previous stitch sits above the next one (if that makes any sense at all).
i’m really keen to explore the technique further, viz:
- explore interplay of colours, textures. e.g. hairy herdwick or something pouffy (coils? boucle?) with sheeny wensleydale
- empahsise spiral structure, chevrons
- random motifs and placement, pixelation
- traditional fair isle designs
- add surface embellishment, embroidery
and with two colour geometric designs in mind, with perfect (psychic!) timing whip up sent me to folkology today. i’m entranced by these, although reading urbanspinner reminds me they’re not easily translated into tapestry crochet because of the slanting structure of the fabrics (sitches placed above each other are offset). bummer.
edited to add: urbanspinner has some great posts about her work with tapestry crochet. i particularly like her use of two constrasting multicoloured yarns in this bag: a cunning way of adding more colour interplay without extra threads.