5 Basics of Tapestry Crochet - FREE Crochet Tutorial (2023)

Categories Crochet Tutorials, Crochet Colorwork

by Janne Kleivset

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Tapestry crochet is easily one of the most beautiful crochet techniques, where you can create a crochet fabric using lovely graphs.

This crochet technique uses different colors and multiple strands of yarn, without having yarn tail floats on the wrong sides of the work.

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Table of Contents

FAQ About Tapestry Crochet

What Is The Difference Between Intarsia And Tapestry Crochet?

In tapestry crochet you will carry the yarn colors throughout the rows, by working over the other color of yarn. While with intarsia crochet you will leave the yarn and have one skein for each section you use that yarn color.
Either bigger sections with whole skeins or sometimes bobbins for smaller sections.

Is Tapestry The Same As Mosaic Crochet?

No, mosaic is a different technique. Mosaic crochet is a crochet colorwork technique where you use only one color per row.
While in tapestry crochet you will use more than one color per row and also change colors more than once per row.

How Do You Carry Yarn In Tapestry Crochet?

You work over the yarn, meaning the carried yarns will end up inside the crochet stitches, avoiding yarn floats on the back of the work.

What Stitch Is Used For Tapestry Crochet?

Single crochet is the most common stitch to use for tapestry crochet.

What Is The Difference Between Fair Isle Crochet and Tapestry Crochet?

Fair Isle Crochet have yarn strands or floats behind the work.
Like you often find on the wrong side of knitting projects.

Is Tapestry Crochet Easy For Beginners?

Yes and no! It’s easy because it only uses basic crochet stitches. However, keeping track of multiple colors can be difficult for new crocheters. Working with one main color can be viewed easier for most new crocheters.

Can I Create My Own Tapestry Crochet Design?

Yes, you can create your own tapestry crochet designs. Either use a pencil and paper or use a stitch chart program like Stitch Fiddle.

How do you read tapestry crochet charts when you are a left-handed crocheter?

As a left-handed crocheter you will read crochet charts the opposite direction as right-handed crocheters. For working in rows, you will start from left to right, then right to left, every other row. For working in rounds you will read the chart from left to right on each round.

5 Basics of Tapestry Crochet

1. Use The Single Crochet Stitch

The most common stitch to use for tapestry crochet is the single crochet stitch.

You can work through the whole stitch as a regular single crochet or work the single crochet stitches through the back loop only on the right side, to hide color changes.

The reason why single crochet (sc) is preferred before the double crochet is because one single crochet stitch have more of a square measurement/gauge. This makes the images created on the right side of the work appear correctly and not stretched.

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Other Stitches You May Use for Tapestry Crochet

When following crochet patterns you may find other stitches than the regular single crochet used. Common stitches are:

  • Back Loop Single Crochet (hides the color changes better) (BLsc)
  • Waistcoat Stitch / Split Single Crochet
  • Half Double Crochet Stitches (hdc)
  • Double Crochet Stitches (dc)
  • Treble Crochet Stitches (tr)

The following instructions are the same as when using the regular single crochet stitch.

2. Never finish up the last stitch before a color change

When changing colors, the general rule is to not finish up the last step of the last stitch with the working color before you change colors.

Pull through the last step with the crochet hook using the new color.

This technique is discussed in more details on the first method showed in 4 Ways to Join Yarn.

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3. Work over the yarn

This technique is the same technique as I use for weaving in yarn ends.

This is where you hide the first color by working over it, so you have it available when you’re changing back to it.

You will do the same when you change from the second color back to the first, work over the second color.

Make sure you keep an eye on your tension, as it’s easy to tighten too much while carrying the yarn inside the work.

Tip:When working in rows, notice on what’s the right side of your work (rs) and wrong side of your work (ws). The wrong side of your work will often be odd rows.

Let the yarn lay towards the back of your work when working over it on the right side. The same when working on the wrong side, but then it should lay closer to you.

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4. Follow a stitch chart

A tapestry stitch chart or tapestry crochet charts is read like this:

  • One square is one stitch.
  • One color on the chart represents the color worked.
  • If you are working in rows: Read the chart from right to left, then left to right, every other row.
  • If you are working in rounds: Always read the chart from right to left.
  • If you have trouble reading the charts, use a pencil to mark the stitches you have already crocheted or use a stitch chart keeper.
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Written Instructions For Tapestry Crochet

Some crochet patterns doesn’t include a tapestry crochet color chart and you will have written instructions.

In that case you will find instructions specifying how many stitches for each yarn color.

Like Color A, B and C or main color & contrasting color.

5. Leave yarn tails strategically when working in rows:

When following a chart when working tapestry crochet, I recommend leaving yarn tails strategically.

You might think that sounds complex, but it’s not.

What I mean is that you only work over the yarn if you need the yarn later on that row. If not you can leave it right below where you need it on the next row.Then continue only with the working yarn.

Make sure you leave it on the front of your work, so it’s behind when you turn your work and start working the next row.

That means you’re already setting up for the next row & makes the next row easier to work.

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Free Tapestry Crochet Patterns

After learning the 4 basics of tapestry crochet in this free crochet tutorial it’s time to put that knowledge to use in some free crochet patterns.

Tapestry crochet looks great in all kinds of crochet patterns, like pillows, crochet garments and crochet accessories.

Pick one of the tapestry crochet projects below!

My Crochet Patterns Using The Tapestry Crochet Technique

  • Christmas Trees Crochet Headband
  • Christmas Trees Crochet Hat
  • Crochet My Christmas Hat Free Pattern
  • Alpaca My Holiday Sweater

Guest Designer Patterns Using The Tapestry Technique

  • Forest Rug
  • Sunshine Beach Bag
  • Spring Tulip Basket

Hope you enjoyed this free crochet tutorial teaching you the basics of tapestry crochet!


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