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Basics of Tunisian Crochet

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Tunisian crochet is often described as a combination of knitting and crochet. Why? Because it uses a crochet hook, but holds multiple loops on the hook – similarly to knitting. This means if you are working on a Tunisian crochet project you will need a special hook. It usually has a cable attached to a crochet hook, so that it’s long enough to accommodate the number of working stitches. What makes it different from knitting is that it uses a crochet hook and not knitting needles. The fabric that you create with it is beautifully textured and is also known as Afghan Crochet. Other names that this type of crochet has been called include railroad knitting, cro-hooking, and shepherd’s knitting.

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photo from makeanddocrew.com

How to do a Tunisian Crochet

You can use any yarn for this technique, but remember to choose the recommended hook size. 

When working on standard Tunisian crochet, some of the major things you need to have and learn are:

  1. Tunisian crochet hook
  2. Casting on in Tunisian crochet
  3. Forward and reverse/return pass

Tunisian crochet hook

This is a must-have when working on Tunisian crochet, because regular crochet hook won’t do the trick. You will need a double-ended crochet hook, but there are options. The hook can either be a straight one (that looks like a knitting needle) with the head on either end, or a circular one with a cord running in between two crochet hooks. You will also find some hooks called Afghan hooks, which look like regular crochet hooks, but with a long cable attached to it.

photo from jo-creates.com

Casting on in Tunisian crochet

Usually casting on starts with a “foundation chain”, but it doesn’t have to in Tunisian crochet.

One of cast on methods in Tunisian crochet involves two crochet hooks, where yarn is wrapped around both (the working hook and the casting on hook). The casting on hook then pulls the loop through the stitch on its hook.

You can also use standard foundation chain technique, but the first row is worked quite differently to regular crochet.

Forward and Reverse/Return Pass

Tunisian crochet involves forward and reverse/return passes, unlike the traditional crochet. Standard method requires one to turn the work as they work back and forth, but in Tunisian crochet you never turn the work. The forward and reverse and the return pass count as one row, and these passes can be explained as follows:

  1. Forward pass – You work this pass right to left for right-handed crocheters and left to right for left-handed crocheters. It is usually a process of accumulating the loops on the hooks, so it looks a bit like knitting. This pass includes a variety of stitches and it is also where stitches are established.
  2. Reverse/return pass – You usually work the reverse pass left to right for the right-handed crocheters and right to left for the left-handed crocheters. It is usually a process of working loops off the hook after the forward pass.

example of return pass in tunisian crochet simple stitch from jo-creates.com

Tunisian crochet Basic stitches and how to do them

Basic stitches in Tunisian crochet are different from the ones in standard crochet, such as single and double stitch. The most important thing to understand in regards to the Tunisian crochet stitches is how to insert your hook. Unlike the traditional crochet, where you usually insert it through the loop, Tunisian crochet is all about working through the bars. Most Tunisian crochet stitches are worked around the vertical bars, which you can see in the photos. To do basic stitches one has to follow these simple steps:

  1. Work a foundation chain
  2. Once you have completed the first row (which consists of a forward and reverse pass) you will notice that vertical bars appeared.
  3. With the bars in place, you should be able to work your stitches into the rest of your project. Additionally, these bars allow you to create different types of stitches depending on the technique you work with.

example of tunisian crochet simple stitch from thesprucecrafts.com

The different types of basic stitches in Tunisian crochet include:

  1. Tunisian simple stitch – this is usually worked through the front vertical bar
  2. Reverse Tunisian simple stitch – This is worked almost the same as the Tunisian simple stitch, but you work it through the back vertical bar.
  3. Tunisian knit stitch – This stitch looks almost like stitching. Why? Because you work it by inserting the hook front to back in between two vertical bars.
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Tunisian Advanced Stitches

If you decide to learn the Tunisian crochet indepth, you will come across some of the advanced stitches, which include:

  1. Twisted Tunisian stitches – You will insert your hook in the reverse direction, even though you are working in the same direction as before. This takes some time to get used to, but it creates an interesting right-leaning effect that improves the basic Tunisian stitch.
  2. Tunisian Purl stitch – Looks a lot like the reverse Tunisian simple stitch if you are working in one color of yarn, but if you add a second color you will notice it is completely different.
  3. Tunisian Diagonal stitch – this is a variation of the Tunisian simple stitch, but you work back and forth skipping stitches and then going back and filling them in.
  4. Tunisian Double crochet – it’s very similar to Tunisian simple stitch, but it creates the difference is in the stitch height.

example of tunisian entrelac stitch from yarnandhooks.com

Ways to increase/decrease Tunisian crochet

The concept is the same as that of the regular crochet, where you add stitches to increase and join stitches to decrease. The increase uses forward pass and there are multiple ways to implement it. You may do the decrease using a forward pass or reverse pass, depending on the stitch you are working on and the preference.

Takeaway and Tips for Tunisian crochet

Items made using the Tunisian crochet are denser and thicker than those made using traditional crochet. So, you should always consider it for items such as blankets for winter weather and not summer shirts. Additionally, you should remember that each row consists of two parts that are the forward and reverse pass. When working on Tunisian crochet you should ensure that you watch your tension for better results!

photo from tlycblog.com

We would love to see the wonderful items you make with your new skills, so share your work in our Facebook group!



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1 comment

Barbara Britton 12 December 2022 at 10:13 pm

haven’t tried this yet Beginner on new stitches.

Reply

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