Start Learning Tunisian Crochet

Dec 5, 2011

Tunisian crochet, sometimes known as Afghan crochet, has found a strong foothold in crochet fashion, and I am thrilled. I love the sturdy thickness of Tunisian fabric and the gentle rhythm of the stitches. Tunisian crochet designers are busy experimenting with stitches, colors, and silhouettes to create innovative projects. You don't want to miss out. So let's explore the construction of a few of those stitches.

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. A Tunisian hook looks like a regular crochet hook, only longer, and without a wide grip. Some Tunisian hooks are made extra long with a cord or wire that extends from the end of the hook. It is longer because you pick up stitches across the row, 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 knit stitch. You can find examples of Tunisian knit stitch in the Betty's Tunisian Tee (at left) and Purple Smoothie Vest (at bottom) and the Unicycle Vest (at right).

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 than chains you made for the foundation chain, as 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 knit stitch (tks) forward pass (FwP), skip the first vertical bars and insert the hook between the next two vertical bars, yarn over and pull up a loop leaving this loop on the hook, *insert the hook between 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 knit stitch Forward Pass and Return Pass to create this unique fabric. This technique can be terribly addicting, I've found.

Inserting the hook in different loops or multiples of loops will create a remarkable number of different fabrics. Try the Tunisian simple stitch and the Tunisian purl stitch to create wonderful new stitch patterns.

What Tunisian project will you make first? For more fashionable Tunisian patterns as well as hairpin lace, beginner patterns and more, subscribe now to Interweave Crochet

Best wishes,

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rebat wrote
on Jan 31, 2012 10:55 AM


I have tried to start the afghan stitch many times, but it  never looked correct.  The instructions you gave in this posting helped me to understand what I was doing incorrectly.  Thank you for getting me started.  

I look forward to your next posting on more of the basic Tunisian crochet stitches.  I am eager to make a blanket as dense as those afghans made with this stitch.  They add hold in warmth but add extra warmth when one is in a very cold room.


awiner1 wrote
on Mar 4, 2012 11:48 AM


Have been making "afghan stitch" blankets for many years and have finally decided it was time to make a sweater.  Swain Sweater by Megan Granholm in the Winter 2011 issue seemed a good place to start.  After reading the pattern many time I was sure that this was a project that could be completed with no problems.  Of course it never works out that way.

The body is complete and have just completed the first sleeve.  The last instruction for the sleeves is to whipstitch the seams tog.  If instructions were followed and you only picked up 60 loops in the first 27 rows of the back and front sections this leaves the 10 stitchs added at the underarm open.  Not sure how to proceed or fix this problems.  

Please help.   Ann