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Welcome to "What Are You Working On?(WAYWO)" - a place to share all things creative. If you sew it, knit it, crochet it, paint it, carve it, sauter it, felt it, or use any other means to make something new and interesting, please share! This is a friendly, supportive group and we love photos.

As for me, I like to do tutorials and little explanations of different methods. Today I will explain the mysterious world of Tunisian crochet.

First of all, it isn't Tunisian. (See, already a mystery!) There has been a good bit of research into the origins of Tunisian crochet. The only link to Tunisia seems to be that North Africans used a knitting needle that was long with a hook on the end, which is what a Tunisian hook is. The actual technique seems to have appeared in England in the late 1800s, at a time when fancy names were given to techniques, which could account for the Tunisian label. I have a reprint of a 1907 English booklet on Tunisian crochet, calling it "Tunisian or New Crochet." Here is an example of a simple baby blanket I made in Tunisian:


And here are a few Tunisian hooks, long like a knitting needle, but with a hook:

To begin to do Tunisian, you can practice with a regular crochet hook. Make a slip stitch and chain ten.
Insert your hook into the front or back loop of the first chain from the hook, and pull up a loop. Here is where the difference begins. In "normal" crochet, we complete a stitch and move to the next(or do a cluster,complete and move). In Tunisian, we work in rows, There is a forward pass, going right to left to the end of the row, and a return pass, completing each stitch.
The red yarn shows where the hook will go.
Continue across the chain, pulling up loops and leaving them on the hook until you are at the end of the chains and have TEN loops on your hook. It should look like this:

Now, you are ready to do a return pass. Every row is done the same way in return pass. First, draw up a loop through the last loop on your hook. After that, you will draw the loop through TWO loops on your hook. If you count, that first single loop is 1, and by the time you get to the last single loop on the hook(pulling two at a time) you should have counted to ten. It should be looking like this on the return pass: You keep doing two loops til there is just one loop left on the hook, and now you are ready to start the Tunisian simple stitch row. The first row(forward and return make one row) is a foundation row.
The row looks different from a normal crochet row, and you will see two vertical loops.(where the red yarn is). Put the hook from right to left in front of the work, through that loop. Bring up a loop and leave it on your hook. Continue across, one vertical loop at a time. Then do a return pass exactly as before: pull a loop through the last loop on your hook, then pull a loop through two loops on hook at a time, til there is only one loop left.
After a few rows, you will see the tight, woven look that makes Tunisian crochet so attractive.  Do not be alarmed by the curling of the beginning edge - it is just a feature of Tunisian crochet. There are recommendations for eliminating it: using a larger hook at the beginning, using the back bump behind the chain...I have tried them all, and it still curls. I get used to it. It is the reason I laid hooks across the work so you could see it clearly. There are many Tunisian stitches, some give the look of knitting and others are nice for lacy scarves - I invite you to Google and find the wide variety. There are good tutorials but they are pretty slow. I will show a few other stitches I tried: the knit stitch, and after that, a lace stitch.

I have loved adding this technique to my repertoire - it is wonderful for blankets but can be good for switching colors, as a background for embroidery, etc. I will end with a photo of a monster size S wooden Tunisian hook that I used for a blanket.  I don't have good photos of the whole blanket, as the colorway was hard to photograph. This photo gives a good idea of it, though. I used a chunky wool and it went very quickly. My arms got to be extremely strong from holding the weight!

Originally posted to Chun Yang on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by What Are You Working On?.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another view of wooden hook (11+ / 0-)

    I like working with wood hooks sometimes, just for a change of pace. This one I affectionately refer to as "martial arts 'n crafts" !

    George W. Bush: the worst Republican president SO FAR.

    by Chun Yang on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:25:40 PM PDT

  •  another view of large blanket (10+ / 0-)

     If you zoom in, you can see the stitches - I did a long piece, then turned and worked rows on the sides. My husband has this on his sofa in his work apartment(he works in another state) and I can tell you, it is wonderful for napping!

    George W. Bush: the worst Republican president SO FAR.

    by Chun Yang on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:28:27 PM PDT

  •  I republished to the (12+ / 0-)

    WAYWO group -- hopefully we'll get some eyes here, although it's a little on the early side.

    As for me... well, I finished the Wedding Ring Shawl a couple of weeks ago -- the total hour count was 420.87 hours, plus another five or so hours for blocking, weaving in ends, fixing glitches.

    I know of two major boo-boos in it -- one of which I hid so well I can't find it anymore; the other where I just couldn't get the joining of the graft quite right where it connects to the shawl.  Will have pictures later.

    Now I'm working on: slopping furniture oil all over a really cool old lawn chair the Mister and I found at an estate sale a few weeks back for $5; ruminating on how to do "Betty's Shawl" -- a shawl pattern customized for my beloved mother-in-law to accomodate her osteoporisis -- standard faroese shaping doesn't accomodate the curve in her spine and is too long in the front.  I think I'm going to extend the center shaping down a few more inches, and throw in some short rows in the upper-back, then cut down the increases on the outer edge nearing the end so the outside corners aren't so long.  Finally, yesterday evening I decided to start a Niebling round pattern -- "Wiesenflor" -- violets.  Appropriately, I'm doing it in violet colored thread.

    And yeah, I'm tracking the time to see how long it takes.  There are only 217 rounds in this pattern, so it shouldn't take too long, although there are a some wrapped stitches, which are time consuming.

    I'm a Ripplearian: I don't know; don't really care; let there be songs to fill the air

    by Frankenoid on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 02:48:58 PM PDT

  •  Schedule of posters (6+ / 0-)

    June 10 --CaliScribe
    June 17 --mayim
    June 24 --mayrose
    July 1 --open

    Do you knit? crochet? sew? make jewelry? do metal (or other) sculpting? build furniture? create with your hands and heart?

    If you do anything 'crafty' please consider doing one of our Sunday afternoon/evening diaries.

    Respond to this comment or send me a Kos-message, and I'll put you on the calendar, or you can sign up on the Yahoo! group page.

    "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

    by vgranucci on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 04:22:55 PM PDT

  •  Curling...I have found what is a solution for me.. (6+ / 0-)

    Do your chain and the first row in single crochet. Then for your first loop pass bring your loop through both (the top/flat loops)
    of the single crochet, and go from there in Tunisian.

    I find that gives a relatively flat start that actually stays pretty flat. And gives you a nice set of little holes for a crocheted finish or fringe.

    Thanks for this... I love Tunisian. Makes for great purses and bags, not to mention pillow covers!

    "In other words, if we bust our butts, there's an even chance things will get better; and if we sit on our butts, there's a major chance things will go completely to hell". --- G2geek

    by Lorinda Pike on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 04:27:36 PM PDT

    •  good idea! (6+ / 0-)

      I thought a row of foundation single crochet would do it, or just spraying with a little water, but I just ignore it. What is great about making something for gifts is that people look and look, trying to figure out what it is, because it looks woven.

      George W. Bush: the worst Republican president SO FAR.

      by Chun Yang on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 05:10:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And what I like about it for bags and such (6+ / 0-)

        is that it doesn't stretch much, and really feels solid. Makes a good jacket/hoodie too.

        And yeah, it confuses people sometimes - even folks who knit or crochet!

        (Have you tried the needles with hooks on each end? I've tried them, but you work with two yarns, and it even confuses me! Well, I'll keep on trying...)

        "In other words, if we bust our butts, there's an even chance things will get better; and if we sit on our butts, there's a major chance things will go completely to hell". --- G2geek

        by Lorinda Pike on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 05:16:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  one hook on one end only (6+ / 0-)

          like the Good Lord intended! :-)  Really, I have a hook with a cable and hook on other end of cable, but don't have any plans for it. I have seen some Icelandic wooden hooks that are thick but short, attached to cable to do many stitches.

          There is a bit of variety that I did not discuss here, otherwise it would go on and on. Some of the videos are very clear, but put me to sleep.

          George W. Bush: the worst Republican president SO FAR.

          by Chun Yang on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 05:24:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I took a course in double-ended crochet (6+ / 0-)

          when I was at a knit/crochet convention in Portland OR a few years back. I'm way out of practice, but the technique is very similar to Tunisian, with the addition of using two yarns and making sure you don't get them too twisted. (One benefit of the technique is to make fabric that's reversible, which is good if you're making blankets or hot pads; I have a lap robe pattern that uses the technique that I'd like to make sometime.

          Mitt Romney: the Etch-A-Sketch candidate in the era of YouTube

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:21:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I finished a sweater! (5+ / 0-)

    My daughter is the model.  She wanted something long, and purple.  And she got it - just in time for summer!  It's knit with Plymouth Encore Chunky, on a size 10 needle.  Yer basic raglan with the ribbing to make it interesting.

    Now I'm in the unusual position of having no project to work on.  Not sure I like it!

    I've never tried to post an image before....eeek!

    When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Only Needs a Beat on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 05:21:51 PM PDT

  •  Saving this diary (5+ / 0-)

    for when I have more time to examine the detailed crochet instructions, hoping against hope that one day I can do something, anything in crochet that doesn't produce one big knot.

    Thanks for the good pictures, and that Tunisian blanket is gorgeous.

    We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time. --T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets / Little Gidding

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:11:05 PM PDT

  •  Made some great progress on (5+ / 0-)

    the wedding shawl today, and thinking about one small modification -- when I do the picot fan border, I'm thinking of getting some purple beads and working one into each picot, just to add extra flair. I'm working the shawl with 6 balls of the Berroco Pure Pima (or until I get to the length I want, whichever comes first), then have a 7th ball that I'll use to do the border so I don't have to worry about counting how much yarn I have left on any of the other balls. Made one small goof on one row, but figured out how to correct it without pulling out all my work; you'd have to know the pattern and look really closely to figure out where I messed up, and it'll be near the top anyway.

    Mitt Romney: the Etch-A-Sketch candidate in the era of YouTube

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 06:27:41 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vgranucci, Chun Yang, mayim

    for the tutorial. Very clear.

  •  Project updates.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chun Yang, mayim

    Well, the various jams are done for the wedding present. Picture to come when I get it packaged pretty.  There are a pina colada spread, a pear-cranberry butter, a plum-rum butter, a peach butter, a raspberry pear jam, and a papaya butter, each in 8 oz jars. The wedding is at the end of June, so I have plenty of time to get the packaging done.

    We are planning to put a twin bed in the second bedroom that we have our computers in, so as to accommodate the future needs of people having orthopedic surgery who can't share a bed.  News and plans to follow in the future. Bear builds very good platform beds, and is working on the design now. We're working out what height we want it, because it will also serve as a couch when not in use for sleeping, and Bear and I have a lot of our height in our legs.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 09:06:55 PM PDT

    •  Orthopedic beds (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, mayim

      That comes for a lot of us in time. Look forward to seeing how he makes a platform bed. (the one I had in college was thick plywood on cinder blocks, I think!)
      Your jams make me want to go put something on toast, but alas, in my house, that would be hummus. Bare fridge.

      George W. Bush: the worst Republican president SO FAR.

      by Chun Yang on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 03:42:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's more to accomodate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim, Chun Yang

        the fact that we have a queen bed pushed up against the wall, and when he gets up in the middle of the night to pee, I curl up, and he crawls out across my foot area.

        When he has his knee replaced, there will be no crawling. But he likes to sleep up against a wall. This way he gets to sleep against a wall, and when I get my foot/ankle surgery I will be able to sleep without needing to move my foot out of the way for him. It's hard to curl up in a cast.

        He made our current bed, which is high and lovely. I find it much easier to stick my feet out of the bed and fall onto them instead of standing up using muscles, you know.

        When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

        by Alexandra Lynch on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 06:39:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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