I think of Tunisian crochet as the best of both worlds, kind of a hybrid of knit and crochet. Because loops are added to the hook in one direction, and worked off in the other direction, the stitches are connected to each other horizontally. This differs from regular crochet, in which each stitch is worked to completion and is separate from those to the left and right of it. Because of Tunisian’s unique construction, you can create a variety of fabrics that would be impossible in regular crochet, including some that look knitted or woven. That’s one of the exciting things about the technique.
Tips for newcomers to Tunisian crochet:
- Use a hook at least one or two sizes larger than your regular crochet hook.
- To avoid the first row curl, use Tunisian purl stitch or a combination of knit/purl in that first row. Steam blocking is also helpful in eliminating the curl.
- Don’t think of Tunisian as only for heavy, dense afghans. There are plenty of lace stitches and openwork patterns!
- Take advantage of the many Tunisian crochet resources available, including Tunisian crochet groups on Yahoo and Ravelry. There are a lot of video tutorials on YouTube as well.
Once you get into Tunisian crochet, you’ll find a wealth of patterns from top designers — the craft is experiencing a well-deserved resurgence! Many patterns are written in languages other than English. It is useful to learn how to read international crochet symbol charts, whether for Tunisian or regular crochet. Once you know the code, you can make anything that comes with a good symbol chart. For example, I have successfully used several Japanese stitch dictionaries and pattern books for Tunisian crochet, even though my knowledge of the language is limited to what you’d find on a sushi menu.
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