Working With Multiple Colors

UPDATE: This series is now available as our ebook, Love Coasters: An Introduction to Tapestry Crochet. The book contains our entire tapestry crochet series in a convenient PDF, the pattern for the Love Coasters, and graph paper formatted especially to the shape of crochet stitches.

Other Posts in This Series
Part 2: Crocheting from a Graph
Part 3: Using Bobbins

Today begins a three part tutorial in how to do tapestry crochet. Tapestry crochet is the technique of using more than color of yarn to create pictures and patterns in a crocheted piece. It is essentially the crochet equivalent of knitted intarsia. If you know how to single crochet (or half-double crochet in some patterns), you can do tapestry crochet.

Patterns in tapestry crochet are created by careful placement of stitches of different colors. Since you are working with more than one color of yarn, you must know how to change colors in the middle of a row. You must also know how to crochet over or “carry” the unused colors throughout the project so that you don’t have to cut the yarn each time you want to change colors.

1. On the last stitch before switching colors, complete the stitch up to the point of pulling the final loop through.

2. Drop the current color of yarn from your hookless hand and pick up the new color of yarn. If the new color is being added to the project for the first time, attach it to the hook with a slip knot.

3. Use the new color to pull the final loop through on the last stitch of the old color.

4. To “carry” the old color, lie it along the unworked stitches of the previous row.

5. Insert the hook through the next stitch and under the old color of yarn.

6. Complete your stitch as usual. In this way, the old color is “carried” through the stitch in the new color.

7. Continue carrying the old color as shown in steps 5-6 for as many stitches as are worked in the new color.

The old color is carried through the new color until it is time to switch back to the old color, then the old color is restarted as shown in steps 1-3. You can then carry the unused color in the same manner.
When the color change occurs at the beginning of a row, perform steps 1-3 on the last stitch of the previous row before working the turning chain. This way the turning chain will be the same color as the first stitch in the next row.

Think you know enough to get started? Practice your skills with our Love Coasters or Viktoria Purse patterns!