The most important skill required for tapestry crochet is carrying and changing colors. Because it’s so important, I wanted to make sure that I covered every little step and got every angle. Switching and carrying colors is one of those things that at first makes you feel like your tripping over your own fingers. But don’t worry! Once you find your rhythm and flow, you’ll be glad you stuck with it. Let’s get into the tutorial 🙂
Incorporating New Colors
To begin carrying and changing colors, you first have to incorporate the new colors. You do this by locking the colors under/behind a single crochet.
First, begin your single crochet by yarning over and pulling through, so that you have two loops on the hook as shown below. Place the new strands behind the two loops and on top of the yarn you’re doing the sc with (in this picture, it’s the gray yarn).
Complete the sc by yarning over and pulling through the two loops on your hook.
This is what it should look like from the back of the stitch.
And this is how it looks when you’ve completed several stitches. If your stitches are tight enough, you shouldn’t be able to see the colors through the stitches.
You do those same steps for as many sc’s as you need to until it’s time to change color. But just to be really thorough, I’ll go over it again.
Insert hook into next stitch, with the trailing colors laying on top of the stitch. Yarn over, going over the top of the colors you’re carrying. I usually hold the colors towards the back of the stitch. It’s what’s most comfortable to me. But when you try it, you made find that holding the colors more towards the front feels better. Whatever feels easier or more comfortable for you, that’s what you should go with.
Pull through so that you have two loops on your hook. At this point, I usually pull on the colors I’m carrying to make sure that they stay in place. You may also want to tug on them every 15 stitches or so, so they can’t be seen through the stitches on the inside of the work.
Yarn over, going over the trailing colors.
Pull through hook. The colors will be locked into place under the single crochet. Again, be sure that you’re holding the colors tight. This will prevent you from accidentally pulling one of them up.
Once you figure out the best position for the trailing colors to be held in and you’ve practiced that for a bit, carrying colors will become second nature.
Switching colors is more simple than it may appear. Start by beginning a sc (insert hook, yo, pull through). That’s what you see below. But don’t finish the stitch yet!
Drop the color you’re carrying (gray in the picture above), put it with the rest of the colors, and pick up the next color you want to work with (blue in the picture below).
Use the new color to finish the sc (yarn over, pull through loops on hook).
Now that you have the new color on your hook, the next sc you make will be the new color. That’s all there is to it! At this point, you’ll want to pull on the last color you were holding (gray here) before you make the first sc with the new color (blue here). If you don’t pull it tight, that last gray sc will be significantly looser than the rest.
Tips on Preventing Tangles
I’ve found that when working with the tapestry crochet method, the easiest way for me to prevent tangling is to give each ball of yarn it’s spot. The way the strands of yarn are radiating out in the picture below give you an idea of how spread out each ball of yarn is. I try to keep everything in its spot and only move them around if I stopped paying attention and got things tangled up.
Along with having the yarn spread out, I try to make sure that every time I’m done using a color, I put it down in the same spot I picked it up from. Using the picture below as an example, if I pick up the green strand from between the light blue and the dark blue, I replace it between the light blue and the dark blue. This is my method, but this is another one of those things that you’ll adapt to fit you.
Another thing that prevents tangling is to hold the next color that you’re going to use in the front until you need it. In the example below, the next color I’ll need is green, so I’m holding that color in the front with my thumb while I hold the rest of the colors towards that back. If you don’t do this, the colors sometimes start to roll a little after each stitch, which may make you next color less accessible. When holding a color in the front, be sure to hold it in the way that leaves the space for you to insert the hook into the next sc.
Also, you may notice that when you put one color down and pick up another, a bit of a knot is formed in the colors you’re carrying. Don’t worry about it. This is actually what happens most of the time, especially when working with more than two colors. It’s easier to just leave the knot then to move around the yarn so that you don’t have a knot.
Hopefully this post left you with a total understanding of carrying and changing colors. But, if there’s anything I didn’t cover or anything that you have questions about, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to clear things up for you. Now, go make something beautiful today!