Learn something new: Tunisian crochet

Betty's Tee, the knit version

A note from Kathleen: Remember Betty's Tee from the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits (photo at right)? We all loved it, including the folks at Interweave Crochet, so much so that they asked Tram Nguyen to design a similar top in Tunisian Crochet for the Fall 2011 issue. Tram designed the Tunisian version in a luscious 100 percent silk yarn, and I think I might like the crochet version even better than the knit version!

I decided to try my hand at Tunisian crochet to see if I could possibly take on this project, and guess what? It's really easy! To learn how, click on the video at the end of this newsletter. Tunisian is a really fun technique, and the crochet version of Betty's Tee is really gorgeous. If I can do it, you can, too.

Here's CrochetMe editor Toni Rexroat to tell you more about Betty's Tunisian Tee.

Betty's Tunisian Tee by Tram Nguyen, from Interweave Crochet Fall  2011

Sweater Workshop: Betty's Tunisian Tee

The instant I saw Betty's Tunisian Tee by Tram Nguyen, from the Fall 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet, I knew I had to make this luscious silk top. I love the strong lines and textures created with a combination of Tunisian knit stitches and Tunisian purl stitches.

As I read the pattern and studied the sample garment, I realized that this entrelac top might look more complicated on the surface than the construction entails. This is really a great intermediate Tunisian crochet pattern! Let's look at the unique construction together.


Betty's Tunisian Tee is worked in the round from the bottom up in entrelac tiers: two pyramids at front and back (number 1 on the schematic at right), two diamonds that wrap around the sides (number 2), two "Vs" placed point to point with the first pyramid for the front bust and back (number 3), and two squares each for the sleeves (numbers 4 and 5). The directional striping in each tier is created by alternating Tunisian knit stitch and Tunisian purl stitch.


1) The Base Triangles

This top begins with a chain that is the length of the hip circumference. The first base triangle is worked, beginning with just two Tunisian stitches, from the lower left corner in rows that increase in stitch number. These rows are worked at an angle from the lower right point to the last row, which is the entire length of the triangle from the top point to the lower left point.

At this point, you will have worked into half of the beginning chain stitches. The second base triangle is worked in the same manner as the first. All of the beginning chain stitches should be worked, and you now have two triangles.


2) The First Entrelac Block

To begin the first body block, or the side diamond, pick up loops along the right edge of the first diamond. You will continue to work in Tunisian knit stitch and Tunisian purl stitch pattern, but because you are working at a different angle, these stripes will be perpendicular to those created in the base triangles.


Each successive entrelac block is worked in a similar manner, building the tee geometrically. I found the constructions diagrams (above) particularly helpful when I was figuring out this garment's construction. While I will admit that, on first glance, it resembles a battleship, this clever drawing is an excellent representation of the way the entrelac tiers are built into the final garment. If you fold the drawing along the lines I have drawn (above right), you can see what I mean (left).

Once you have wrapped your head around the intriguing construction techniques, this unique pattern is beautifully accessible.

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Best wishes,

P.S. Get a Tunisian crochet tutorial on CrochetMe, and when you're ready to tackle Betty's Tunisian Tee, join us in the crochet-along!

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