I’m always up for a challenge! On a girl’s day out with my besties Cornel and Elsbeth I told them I was looking for something challenging to crochet. Cornel had just returned from her fabulous trip to Morocco and she brought back some awesome crochet mandalas for me from Morocco (they now have pride of place in my study).
We got chatting how most of thecrochet work in Morocco was done using single crochet. This got me interested and so I found myself looking on Instagram for some amazing patterns using only single crochet and that’s when I discovered the beautiful art of tapestry crochet. Also known as hard crochet and also sometimes called jacquard crochet, intarsia, mosaic, Fair Isle, and colour work.
While on Instagram I discovered MochilaMilano – an upmarket boutique that specialises in offering their patrons some really beautiful handmade tapestry crochet pieces. I contacted them and got chatting to Silvia Ferrari who was so gracious in sharing the Mochila Crochet story with me. In fact it was the beautiful products that they stock that motivated me to crochet my very first tapestry crochet bag using the Blossom Drawstring Bag pattern by Marina G. Read a little about MochilaMailano…
What inspires you?
Trips (I travelled a lot when I worked as a buyer and I am travelling now too for buying my products), film festival, design and fashion events, Milano it’s really a city full of inspirations
Tell us a little about your beautiful crochet bags
All the bags that belong to my collections are 100% handcrafted by a Colombian indigenous community called Wayuu, they are living in the Northern part of Colombia. I am selling unisex bags and since last year I created a special collection for kids.
The Wayuu (pronounced “Wah-You”) people are an indigenous Latin American group inhabiting the visually striking desert of La Guajira Peninsula which borders Colombia and Venezuela.
The Wayuu live in small settlements called “Rancherias” which consist of five or six houses. Within these Rancherias, the Wayuu people are able to preserve a way of life that has been passed down through the generations and remains unscathed by modern culture. Organized in matrilineal clans, the Wayuu children carry their mother’s last name, making the Wayuu women not only the centre of the family but cultural leaders as well. One of the most significant aspects of culture that the Wayuu women practice is the art of crocheting Mochilas Wayuu bags.
I personally select all the bags that have to be characterized by the very high quality of the material, original shapes and amazing colours that can give emotions to the customers. Each piece is unique.
How did it all begin?
A few years ago I fell in love with the original products and began a course about loom weaving in Florence held by a famous master and then discovered these beautiful bags called “mochila”
Who on the international craft scene do you admire most and why?
I love products handmade by Loom and also handmade house wares
I adore the Italian ceramics of Faenza and Vietri
Where can our readers find you?
I am mainly using Facebook and Instagram, and since last August I opened a shop on the new platform of Indipendent designers called Wardroba, please find attached the links:
I very quickly learned that there are a few techniques to tapestry crochet that are important to master if you want to produce a product that is as unique as those made by the Wayuu community. Most tapestry crochet is done with single crochet stitches, but the slip stitch, half double, and double crochet stitches are also used. Yarns are either carried inside the stitches, dropped and picked up when needed (also called intarsia), or they run along the back of the stitches.
The crochet hook may be inserted under both top loops or under one loop (also called Fair Isle crochet); colors may be changed before the stitch is completed or afterwards, all of which produce different results. Tight stitches produce a stiff fabric with hidden carried colors, while loose stitches show the carried colors and produce a fabric with drape.
Some fibers may be loosely tapestry crocheted, then felted in a washing machine – resulting in a dense fabric patterned on both sides.
With bead tapestry crochet, beads of the same color are strung onto individual yarns. To produce the motifs, yarns are switched and beads are placed on some or all of the stitches.
I am so enthralled by the art of tapestry crochet that I have just purchased my second pattern. I no longer think that the single crochet stitch is boring or tedious. In fact I find it an absolute challenge and so exciting to see how the beautiful patterns unfold one row at a time.
You should try and crochet one for yourself. After all it’s so much fun!!