How to follow a chart for Tapestry crochet
What you will need: A hook, sized appropriately for your yarn and chart design, two (or more) different colors of yarn (how noticeable you want your finished designed to be will determine how different the colors should be. The chart may specify colors; it may not. Just make sure that the two colors are the same fiber content. DO NOT mix a non-superwash wool with an acrylic unless you want shrunken and odd looking chart work), and chart of your choosing. If it is your first time, you might want to choose something simple.
First: Start with your chart. For the sake of this tutorial, I will use one of mine from the “Harry Potter Boxed Set Afghan”. This is a fairly simple chart, but one that will show this technique effectively.
You will note that the chart is 10 stitches wide by 50 tall. PLEASE NOTE: I am left handed, so I read charts left to right. You may find that if you are right handed, this will be the opposite of what you wish to do. So for me, I start with the right side being the bottom left hand square. Each square is one stitch. Generally speaking, I do this as a single crochet.(which you can learn to do here.) Each box is one single crochet.
So the next step is the foundation chain. Take your first color, and chain one more than the number of boxes along the bottom of the chart. In this case, chain 11.
Then single crochet, starting in the second chain from the hook, all the way across. In our chart, there are no color changes until the third row, so just do two rows in the first color.
So once you have the first two rows done, we can really start to have fun. On our chart, we see that the third row is two stitches in color 1, three stitches in color 2, one stitch in color 1, two stitches in color 2, and two stitches in color 1.
First, do one complete single crochet:
Then draw up a loop in the next stitch, like you were making another single crochet:
Then grab the tail of color 2, and leaving about 1-1/2 inches of tail, use color 2 to finish the single crochet:
Next gets kinda tricky. You are going to crochet OVER the tail from color 2 and the unused yarn from color 1:
It might be hard to see, but color 1 is inside the stitch that color 2 is making.
Now, we have done the first 2 stitches of color 2 and drawn up a loop to make the third stitch. Now we are going to switch back to color 1 in the same way we switched before. However, this time, and ever time hereafter, when you switch, twist the yarn; don’t just pull it through. This way, when you are working on the wrong side, it will look nice still on the right side.
So once you’ve switched back to color 1, make the stitch, and switch to color 2 for the next 2 stitches. Then switch back to make the last two stitches of color 1. NOTE: Stop carrying color 2 after the last stitch in that color. This will make sure the yarn is where you need it to be when you go to the next row.
This is what your row three should look like:
Now to row 4. This is a “wrong side” row, so you will be reading the chart in the other direction. I read wrong side rows from right to left, but if you started in the other corner, it will be read left to right.
So, row 4 is 2 color 1, 1 color 2, 1 color 1, 1, color 2, 5 color 1. So we do the same as before, twisting every time we switch colors and making sure that the last loop on the hook when switching colors is the same color as the next stitch is supposed to be.
Also, leave the yarn you aren’t using to the wrong side of the work:
This will make for a cleaner right side when you are done.
Here’s something that may confuse you. When you are done with color 2 in this row, DO NOT drop it. Instead, this time, carry it down to two color 1 stitches from the end, because that’s where it needs to be for the start of row 5. (If you are doing this in the right hand method, where you leave the yarn each time will change, but the principle is still sound: make sure that color 2 ends where you need it for the next row, unless you end closer to the end than the next row needs) :
Now we’re on to row 5, which is 2 color 1, 6 color 2, and 2 color 1:
Row 6 has no color 2, but we still can use it to move color 2 to where we need it for the next row:
In row 7, color 2 is the 3rd stitch from the left, so we need to carry it down to that stitch, like so:
Notice, we aren’t changing colors, so we don’t twist the yarns. We are simply carrying color 2 to its proper position for the next row.
On to row 7. From the left, that is 2 color 1, 1 color 2, 2 color 1, 1 color 2, 1 color 1, 1 color 2, 2 color 1.
Row 8 is just row 7, but backwards
And row 9 completes the second letter in this chart.
Continue as before, noting where color 2 needs to be for the next row. If it needs to be further up, just carry color 2 in color 1 like we did before and then twist and switch colors as before. Easy!
You are now well on your way to doing tapestry crochet! Your two yarns may get twisted up, so I recommend stopping every few rows and untwisting the skeins.