Craft

What Is Intarsia Crochet, and What Do You Need to Get Started?

Learn about the origin of the intarsia technique, how it differs from tapestry and how to crochet patterns

The intarsia technique is not widely known but worth exploring as you can use it to achieve some beautiful effects with yarn.

This crocheting technique allows you to create designs by adding separate yarns when you want to change color in a section of your work. This feature separates it from traditional tapestry, where the different color yarns are inserted into the crocheted piece.

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Intarsia crochet is a technique allowing you to create colorful designs in your work.

Origin of the name

The name intarsia comes from the world of carpentry. In carpentry, it refers to putting together various pieces of wood in different tonalities, resulting in a colorful effect. It is a decorative technique often combined with carving.

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Intarsia technique on wood. Photo credit: woodworkessence.com

Why do many crochet artists favor this technique?

One of the main advantages of intarsia is that your crocheted pieces’ front and back are practically the same. Furthermore, many people find this technique more straightforward than others and that the result looks more even.

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Examples achieved using the intarsia crochet technique.
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Basic exercise to begin intarsia crocheting.

Differences with tapestry

When it comes to combining colors, tapestry dictates inserting colored threads into the crocheted piece. This allows us to manipulate more detailed and refined areas, but the effect is a thicker finish, with limitations in the colors we can use.

On the other hand, with intarsia, the finish is lighter and smooth, and the color choices are limitless.

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Using the intarsia technique results in lighter and smoother pieces.

Possible drawbacks

Although there are no limits in the use of colors, we must also consider that the more sections we are working at once, the more yarn balls we are going to need. This can complicate the process, as they can get tangled as we crochet.

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There are no limitations in the use of colors with the intarsia technique.

What do you need for intarsia crochet?

To crochet using the intarsia technique, we need to use a grid diagram. The diagram indicates how many stitches we need for each color. It also helps us recognize the front and the back of our pattern.
As far as your ability level is concerned, you only need to know two types of stitches: the chain and the half double.

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Grid diagram for intarsia crocheting.

Do you want to learn to crochet using this technique? Follow Flor Samoilenco’s step-by-step course, Intarsia Crochet: Craft Your Own Tapestry.

English version by @acesarato

You may also like:

- Essential Crochet Materials
- Amigurumi Tutorial: How to Do The Basic Stitches from Scratch
- What is Tapestry? The Definitive Crochet Technique

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