Curbing the Curl of Tunisian Crochet

Jan 28, 2013

You have finished your Tunisian crochet project, but your piece looks more like a scroll than a bag or a sweater. Don't panic. Tunisian crochet has a distinct tendency to curl, especially projects worked in Tunisian knit stitch. With a few simple tips, I can promise your sweater won't curl up around your chest.

Tunisian Crochet Jacket
 
Marisol Cardigan
 

In her new book, The New Tunisian Crochet, Dora Ohrenstein shares a few of her tips for getting rid of Tunisian curl and for creating an even fabric.

Countering the Curl

The dreaded curl of Tunisian crochet can be controlled in various ways. The most important thing is to use a sufficiently large hook to avoid too-tight stitches that pull in on themselves. Generally, I find that when the hook size is right, there is little curl in the fabric. Some stitches curl more than others, and one of those that curls most is Tks (Tunisian knit stitch), which is a pity. The reason is that in Tks, the return pass is entirely confined to the back of the work. All that thickness on the back is what causes the curl. But even with this stitch, a looser gauge will help.

 
Entrelac Tunisian Crochet Bag
  Sierra Bag

In the end, blocking your work is the best way to eliminate any remaining curl. Depending on the fibers in your yarn, you can wet block or steam block quite effectively. Wet blocking and then pinning the edges of the fabric while it dries is the most effective strategy and can eliminate curling completely.

While earlier I advocated a fairly loose tension on the return pass, keep in mind that a too loose return pass will also curl. Another strategy some people advocate is working several rows of Tps (Tunisian purl stitch) at the beginning and end of the work, since this stitch tends to curl in the opposite direction from other stitches, thereby neutralizing the overall tendency of the fabric to curl.

Beating the Bias

A finishing piece of Tunisian crochet may also tend to slant to the right or left, depending on your handedness. This is caused by the repeated working of the return pas in the same direction. The problem is more evident with some stitches than others, but I have not found a way to predict when it will happen. Luckily, it is usually possible to correct the bias in blocking. If you notice the fabric biasing when you work, make a swatch and block it to see if it eliminates the problem before embarking on a full-scale project.

Tunisian Crochet Lace Shawl
 
Rivuline Shawl
 

— Dora Ohrenstein

Keep Dora's tips in mind for your next Tunisian crochet project, and curb the curl. Order The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs from Time-Honored Tradition today for more great tips, tutorials, and gorgeous projects.

Best wishes,

P.S. Do you have any tips for getting rid of the curl in Tunisian crochet fabric?


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Comments

HennieL wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 9:16 AM

I have found that a larger hook is a must. On average, I use a Tunisian hook that is 50% larger than the recommended size of the knitting needles indicated on the ball band. For example, if the yarn's ball band recommends you use 4mm knitting needles with that yarn, I use a 6mm Tunisian hook. Yes, and then, block.

on Jan 28, 2013 9:18 AM

When I made Tunisian crochet(my grandmother called it the afghan stitch) placemats for my daughter I used a shell stitch border to control the curl.

Caladria wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 9:52 AM

I've just started with tunisian crochet, and I'm having trouble working out what size hook to use to get good tension.  I typically need a hook 2mm larger than suggested on the ball band anyway, so am unsure if I'd have to go to 2 more.

I was told that chaining and doing the foundation with a hook one size larger tan for the main art will make less curl, and have found that working in the bottom of the chain helps

on Jan 29, 2013 8:54 AM

Sometimes putting a border on the piece helps too! The bigger the the better. Anyone have advice on the bet border to counter this chime in;))

yfronts wrote
on Feb 25, 2013 10:27 PM

Suggested help on curbing thr curl...after the initial chain and to start the first row,  turn  the chain over so the 'v' is on the underside and use the 'hump' to draw up the loops.  

Also when I could not block a slant on an afghan to his proper size, I folded the slant to 'square' it and tacked it down with the same yarn and formed a pocket of sorts.  Since the skant was small, it was hardly noticeabe but I would not do that with a large slant. and would not not recommend that solution as a 'fix-all'.  My afghans go to shelters and the only feedback we get is in regard to size and 'pretty colors'.

florence  

rynbla wrote
on Jun 6, 2013 6:01 PM

I discovered Tunisian crochet last year & I love it. I've made two blankets and am on my third, not using a pattern but have found it really easy to just be creative and invent as I tricot!! I discovered a book in my local library & started from there, & found it so good I actually had to search down & buy a copy. It's by Rebecca Jones called The Complete Book of Tricot & in it she has lots of really interesting bits & pieces on the history of tricot as well as many different stitches. Definitely the most comprehensive and informative book on tricot I  have ever seen. (-;