Tunisian Crochet with Your Handspun Yarn
Learn How to Tunisian Crochet
Tunisian crochet has been known as many names over its history, including Afghan crochet, hakning, railway stitch, and Princess Frederick William stitch. It is a fabulous technique using a crochet hook to create a unique fabric with a woven appearance and myriad stitch possibilities. Tunisian crochet is also ideal for use with handspun yarns to create warm accessories and items of clothing. Let's explore the construction of the most popular Tunisian stitch.
Tunisian crochet is worked using either a Tunisian hook (sometimes called an Afghan hook) or a regular crochet hook that does not widen at the grip. Some Tunisian hooks are made extra long with a cord or wire that extends from the end of the hook.
The hook shaft needs to be longer because you pick up stitches across the row until a loop for each stitch is on your hook, much like knitting, then work the stitches off the hook as in crochet. A single row is made up of both a forward pass and a return pass. With Tunisian crochet, the right side of the work is always facing you.
We'll begin with Tunisian simple stitch. You can find examples of Tunisian simple stitch in the Mulled Spices Afghan, as well as the Spice Market Tunic, and the Five Peaks Shawl (all from A Step-By-Step Guide to Tunisian Crochet).
Pull out your swatching yarn and give it a try. Create a chain long enough for a good-size swatch. For the foundation forward pass, pull up a loop in the bottom ridge loop of the second chain from the hook (see Figure 1), leave this loop on the hook, and *pull up a loop in the next bottom ridge loop of the foundation chain, leaving this loop on the hook as well; repeat from * the entire way across the foundation chain (see Figure 2).
You should pull up one fewer loops on your hook than chain stitches you made for the foundation chain. The loop already on your hook when you begin pulling up loops counts as the first st.
To work the Return Pass, yarn over and draw through first loop on hook (this stitch becomes your selvedge stitch), *yarn over and draw through two loops on hook (see Figure 3); repeat from * until you have only one loop left on the hook, leave the last loop on your hook (it becomes the selvedge stitch for the other side of the fabric).
For the Tunisian simple stitch (tss) forward pass (FwP), insert the hook from right to left behind the 2nd vertical bar (see Figure 4), yarn over and pull up a loop leaving this loop on the hook, *insert the hook from right to left behind the next vertical bar leaving this loop on the hook as well; repeat from * to the last vertical bar. When working the last vertical bar, insert the hook behind both the vertical bar and an additional loop at the edge of the fabric. This creates a more stable edge. Now work the return pass as above. You've just done two rows of Tunisian crochet!
Continue to repeat the Tunisian simple stitch Forward Pass and Return Pass to create this unique fabric.
Inserting the hook in different loops or multiples of loops will create a remarkable number of different fabrics, including fabrics very similar in appearance to knit or purl stitches but with increased thickness for warmth. I've found that this technique can be terribly addicting.
Give Tunisian crochet a try with your handspun. Download Interweave Crochet Presents A Step-By-Step Guide to Tunisian Crochet today. And check out other great crochet eBooks in the Crochet Me Shop for more beautiful crochet projects.