Tunisian crochet basics

Tunisian crochet (or Afghan crochet) is a crochet technique that uses a long hook (or one with a cable) because you work multiple stitches at once like in knitting. It has a large variety of stitches that build some very beautiful fabric. Here are some things you need to know to get started.

Hooks

Tunisian crochet hooks are either long or have a cord attached to them. There are some projects that are worked in a round and will need a double ended hook. I own a few sets of hooks and you can read a review of all of them on my blog here.

It is important to choose the right hook for the yarn. You will need a hook that is at least 2 sizes larger than the hook recommended for the yarn. This is because Tunisian crochet stitches are denser than regular crochet and lead to curling (more on this later) if you use a small hook.

Forward and Reverse Passes

Every row in Tunisian crochet is made up of two passes – Forward Pass and Reverse Pass. You will never turn your project (the right side of the project always faces you) except for when you are working in a round.

Foundation Row

Tunisian crochet projects always start with a Foundation Row. It is an undefined row – there is no stitch that characterizes this row. How you make the next row will define the stitches of this row. There are multiple ways of making the Foundation Row. You can read all about it in my tutorial here.

Bind off Row

Every row you make defines the previous row and the current row is undefined. For this reason, a bind off row is need to define the last row and give the project a neat finish. Here is a tutorial for making the bind off row.

The first stitch

You do not have to do anything to make the first stitch. The loop on the hook at the beginning of a row counts as the first stitch for the next row.

Curling

Because of the nature of some Tunisian stitches, the fabric tends to curl. There are a few ways to fix this:
1. Use a larger hook
2. Block the fabric
3. Use non-curling stitches
4. Make a border with non-curling or regular crochet stitches.

You can use one or more of these fixes for any curling you might be seeing.

Tension

It is very important to keep your tension a little loose. Because the stitches themselves are very dense, making them tight will lead to curling and it will be very hard to work on your stitches. I am a tight crocheter and figuring out the right tension for Tunisian crochet took a lot of practice.

Use a regular hook (sometimes)

Not all patterns require a Tunisian crochet hook. There are some techniques where the pattern is worked in narrow panels and you can make them with a regular crochet hook. Two examples are: Join as you go and Entrelac. Here are two Tunisian crochet projects that I made using regular crochet hooks: Join Me Mittens and Luxury Plaid Tunisian Poncho.

Keep practicing!

If you can’t get it right the first few times, don’t be disheartened. Start with the Simple Stitch and use a larger hook. I also recommend starting with DK or heavier yarn for your practice swatches.

There are a LOT of Tunisian crochet stitches. Here are a few stitches to learn if you are just getting started!



Patterns to try

I have a Tunisian Sampler Blanket that is made up of 16 stitches. I am hosting a mystery CAL for it starting May 14th 2020 and it will last for 17 weeks. Click here to check it out!

You do not need to know complex stitches to make beautiful projects. Here are some easy patterns to try:

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Share your pictures with me!

I really hope you liked this stitch / technique. I would love to see what you make with it so please share your pictures with me!
– Share them on Instagram with the tags #knitterknotter, #madewithknitterknotter and @knitterknotter
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