7 things you need to know about Tunisian crochet that nobody told you
Things to know about Tunisian crochet is the first of a series of blog posts! I enjoy reading informative blogs and finding out little pearls of wisdom from fellow crafters. So, I hope you will enjoy reading this one and finding out a little more about Tunisian Crochet.
NOT YOUR BASIC BLOG POST
I have been reading a few blog posts about this fantastic crochet technique! They all have one thing in common- they don’t tell you the nitty gritty stuff! I have tried to collect informative stuff (the good and bad) and put it all together for you…
So here are 7 things you need to know about Tunisian crochet that nobody told you… grab a cuppa and enjoy!
Busy at the moment? Pin it for bedtime reading!
1.You can Tunisian crochet with a crochet hook that you already have
If you are stubborn crocheter and don’t like knitting because you have to wave big long sticks in the air and you never gave Tunisian a go for this very reason, this one is for you!
The main technique you can use standard short crochet hook for is Entrelac. This is a fun technique of working small squares of Tunisian crochet at an angle creating a fantastic fabric. This technique is mostly used for big blankets and can be a great stash busting project. The small squares don’t take much yarn at all.
Entrelac is not the only technique you can work with a standard hook! There is tons of innovative techniques like Tunisian crochet shells, short rows etc. A master in this field is Aoibhe Ni!
Aoibhe Ni (pronounced AY-vah NEE) is a Tunisian Crochet designer from Ireland.
She has been crocheting for over 30 years, and designing professionally for about ten. She’s had patterns featured in books and magazines internationally, and has taught crochet all over the UK and Ireland.
She’s a pioneer of the “Short Hook” Tunisian method for both lace and colourwork shawls but she also dabbles in amigurumi, traditional crochet and knitting.
All her patterns are designed to be made with a regular-length crochet hook, so no extra tools are necessary to begin!
She doesn’t believe in mistakes, instead calling them “alternative methods” and loves to see her patterns adapted and altered by those who make them.
Her patterns come with helpful How To videos at key points in the pattern, so even a beginner will find them accessible.
Aoibhe has kindly shared her Pax Shawlette pattern for FREE on her website so you can get a taste for her beautiful patterns and the techniques she uses. You can find the FREE PDF download here.
I would especially like to bring her Venus Shawl to your attention! It is a stunning shawl which is on my list of must makes of all times.
2. One row consists of two parts
You heard the saying “one step forward, two steps back”, right? Well this kind of applies to Tunisian crochet, apart from the fact that even doing the steps back actually brings you forward. Confused?
One row in Tunisian crochet consists of two parts- forward pass (often abbreviated as FP) and return pass (abbreviated as RP). This means that you work forward across the row from right to left picking up loops or “casting on stitches”. Once you have worked into each stitch across, you then work the stitches off or “cast off” working from left to right until you are left with 1 loop on your hook.
This sounds way scarier and more confusing than it really is and sometimes a picture (or a video) speaks a thousand words.
Check out my quick Tunisian crochet stitch tutorials on my YouTube channel- Tunisian knit stitch, purl stitch and simple stitch.
3. I’m lovely but I curl like a hedgehog
That’s right! I am like a hedgehog crossing the road when he spots a fast approaching car- I curl up!
But not all is lost! There are a few simple tricks you can do to help the hedgehog uncurl, so you can tickle his belly again…
A. choice of stitch
Some stitches curl more than others. The biggest hedgehog in Tunisian crochet is Tunisian knit stitch. It creates the densest fabric of all the stitches and the return pass is entirely hidden behind the stitches. The thickness of the return pass adds to the back, which is what causes the curl.
One of the stitches that curls the least is Tunisian purl stitch. You can do a few rows of Tunisian purl stitch at the beginning and end of your project to help counteract the dreaded curl.
B. larger hook
The larger the hook you use, the less it will curl. Simples! (…well, more on that below)
Block, block, block! Don’t hate me for this one but blocking really helps. I know it’s a pain in the backside and you just want to wear the finished piece but I’m gonna sound like your mum repeating herself over and over to eat your dinner- block, block, block! Depending on the yarn type you use you can wet or steam block your project and it definitely helps to get rid of the curl.
D. mock ribbing or edging
As mentioned above you can edge your project with a few rows of purl stitch. Alternatively, you can turn to standard crochet and use mock ribbing to edge your projects. I have used this technique on several projects over time. Check them out below! Click on the image to be taken to the pattern.
E. work (with) it, baby!
You know how we are all told to embrace the imperfections? Well, why not do that and work with it? You can use the natural curl of the fabric and fold it over so that the wrong side is showing, fix it with a few stitches with yarn needle and you have yourself the simplest sleeve cuff or bottom hem you could have dreamed of!
I combated the curl in my Double Brim Hat by folding it over with right side facing and creating … (you guessed right!) a knit look hat with a double brim! Click on the photo to access the pattern.
F. loosen up your tension
This goes hand in hand with the larger hook. Tunisian crochet is not a technique to be uptight with! Just relax, kick back, rotate those wrists a few times and crochet while some hottie is giving you a scalp massage… (yeah… well.. worth a try, hey?)
I bet you are now wondering how there can be 7 things you need to know about Tunisian crochet when I have already waffled on for ages…. well put the seat belt on, you’re in for a ride!
4. I’m a skinny b**ch, I don’t stretch widthways
Tunisian crochet is like that one friend we all have… You know the one who can eat a horse and chase the rider and is forever skinny! Don’t hate her for it, it’s not her fault. It’s genetics, hate her parents!
When you think about the return pass, you are essentially working a foundation chain with the loops fixed to it and we all know how stubborn and not stretchy foundation chain can be on a project.
5. You can work Tunisian crochet in rounds
Round and round we go! For this technique you will need a double ended…. Tunisian crochet hook (ya filthy minds!)
Rounds in Tunisian crochet consist of forward and return passes too. So, this is where it gets slightly more complicated… You work a forward pass with one end of the hook and first ball of yarn. The return pass is worked with the other end of the hook using a second ball of yarn. This technique does require a little bit of playing around with and getting used to, but life would be pretty boring if everything was really easy, right? …right?…
6. You never turn your work
All Tunisian crochet is worked on the right side. Both parts of the row- forward and return pass- are worked with the right side facing you. So it saves you looking like a Harry Potter waving a long wand around trying to turn your work and not poke someone in the eye (most likely your unsuspecting other half sitting next to you on the sofa minding their own business wondering why they no longer own a sock drawer as it is now full of yarn)
7. Be a rebel and forget the recommended hook size
Ooh, I like this one! I like when the sentence starts with “be a rebel”! I’m like that dog whose ears shoot up when you shout “walkies” or “do you wanna sausage” and he starts wagging his tail uncontrollably!
As a rule of a thumb, you should choose a hook 2 sizes bigger than the recommended hook size for your chosen yarn weight to start with. Before committing to a Tunisian project, I’d recommend doing a swatch (sounding like your mum here again, sorry!) and playing around with hook sizes. I am currently working on a Tunisian jumper design and I’m using 7 mm Tunisian crochet hook with 4-ply yarn and OMG am I loving the results!
OVER AND OUT
So, that’s it! That was 7 things you need to know about Tunisian crochet that nobody told you!
For more crochet goodness check out the shop section for all my previously published patterns.