This week our focus is Tunisian Crochet. This is an older technique that’s getting plenty of love lately. While there are lots of great pattern books out there now it can be hard to decide if it’s a new technique you’d enjoy. For a short piece like we’re practicing with today you can use a regular crochet hook but for anything larger than 10 stitches you’ll need a Tunisian or afghan hook. These typically look like straight knitting needles with a hook on the end instead of a point, or a version that looks like a regular crochet hook with a long cord on the back. This second type of Tunisian hook is also available in an interchangeable version with different length cords that you can attach to different hook sizes.
Tunisian crochet begins like almost every other crochet project, with a foundation chain. In the samples here I’m working with a very short chain, just 9 chains long! Each completed row of stitches is made up of two rows of actions; the Forward Row puts loops on your hook and the Return Row works them off again.
For the first Forward Row, insert your hook into the second chain from your hook and pull up a loop, leave this loop on your hook! Insert your hook into the next stitch and pull up a loop leaving it on your hook. Repeat this process for each chain stitch.
Now that Your first Forward Row is done you should have 9 loops on your hook and you’re ready to begin the Return Row. To start, yarn over and pull through just one loop on your hook. Yarn over again and pull through two loops. Repeat this step, yarning over and pulling through two loops, until you have worked all the way back to the beginning and only one loop remains on your hook.
Your first full row of stitches in now complete! The Forward Row changes a bit now but your Return Rows will stay the same as what you’ve just done. If you look at the row you’ve finished you’ll notice stitches that are straight up and down, these are called “vertical bars” and this is the part of the stitch that you’ll be using. Insert your hook under the first vertical bar, yarn over and pull a loop back through that bar. Repeat that step, inserting your hook under the next bar, yarning over and pulling up a loop, until you have used all the vertical bars (the last one lives right on the edge of your work at the left hand side).
Now you’ll repeat your Return Row, yarn over and pull through one loop first, then yarn over and pull through 2 loops at a time until you’re back to just one loop. Repeat those last two rows and you get a substantial fabric with great texture. Tunisian wants to curl in on itself so don’t be surprised by that! The larger your finished object the less curl there will be. And since Tunisian fabric is a bit more dense than regular crochet you’ll want to use a hook that is a size or two larger that what you might normally use.
Swatching is a great way to try out new techniques and stitches but no one wants a basket or drawer full of little squares of crochet or knit fabric so what do you do with them? I like to make fingerless gloves, I use them all the time. For this pair I started with a chain of 25, and worked 25 rows of Tunisian Simple Stitch to for a square, and then seamed the edges, leaving a gap for the thumb. For the work pictured here I used Katia Azteca in color 7840 and a size J/10/6.00mm hook.
If this technique appeals to you and you’re looking for more check out Tunisian Crochet by Sharon Hernes-Silverman, Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet by Sheryl Thies or The New Tunisian Crochet – Dora Ohrenstein.
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