Crochet Class: The Secret to Changing Colors in Tapestry Crochet
Tapestry crochet is a color changing technique that allows you to make intricate patterns and shapes as you stitch. Since you can make stitches in different colors within the same row or round, its effect is similar to stranded colorwork in knitting.
It can be a tricky technique to pick up if you don’t know this special secret to tapestry crochet—switch colors in the stitch before you want your color change to appear. I’ll walk you through it.
We usually explain single crochet with the following steps: Insert hook in stitch, yarn over and pull up loop, yarn over and draw through both loops on hook—1 single crochet made.
To make a color change, you need to switch colors mid-stitch. Work in color A until the stitch before you switch to color B. In that last stitch: (1) with color A, insert hook in stitch, yarn over and pull up loop with color A, (2) switch to color B by holding color A at the back of the work, (3) yarn over and draw through both loops on hook with color B. The majority of that stitch will still appear in color A, but the final drawn-up loop will be in color B.
Why change colors mid-stitch, rather than when the stitch is complete? The final drawn-through loop of a crochet stitch carries over to be the top lip of the next stitch. If you work the entire stitch in one color and then switch, color A will carry over, your stitches won’t work as blocks of color and you won’t be able to distinguish your tapestry crochet pattern.
The sample on top uses the technique described above (correct). The sample below completes an entire stitch in one color (incorrect). Color chart is from Modern Tapestry Crochet.
Tapestry crochet can be worked in many more stitches than just single crochet. The Diamondback Tote from Interweave Crochet Winter 2017 uses double crochet. The Warm Woolen Mittens from Interweave Crochet Winter 2017 use center extended single crochet. No matter what stitch you use, work the stitch before a color change to its final yarn over and pull through. Switch colors by holding the previous color behind the stitches, then work the final yarn over and pull through in the new color.
It’s that easy! Use this secret for changing colors and your tapestry crochet will have a fantastic visual impact! For an entire book of tapestry crochet patterns to practice on, check out Modern Tapestry Crochet by Alessandra Hayden.
Happy color changing!
Associate Editor, Interweave Crochet
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