Betty's Tunisian Tee: Finding the Stitches

Oct 11, 2011

Remember the advice to never start a new pattern late at night? I'm pretty sure I gave that advice myself during the last crochet-along. Too bad I didn't listen to myself. I had the first base triangle about a third of the way done when I realized that I had missed half of the second set-up row. Oh well, practice makes perfect right, and I did notice that my stitches were more even on the second go-round.

I am using Cascade Yarns Cotton Rich DK in a beautiful sunny yellow. This cotton and nylon yarn lacks the shine of the Stitch Diva Studios Studio Silk used for the original sample. However, I think I will like the memory the nylon brings to the table, and the yarn, made up of 3 two-plys, has great stitch definition.

I also used a foundation single crochet in place of the original chain and single crochet row. The foundation single crochet has more elasticity than a chain, great for the hips. But in order to begin the first set-up row on the right side, I had to fasten off and join the yarn at the beginning of the row.

Let's talk about the first base triangle. You will notice that the return passes worked for the base triangle vary from the normal return pass which begins by yarning over and drawing through one loop. Make sure you yarn over and draw through two loops for each return pass stitch on the base triangle. This is what creates the angle for the right side of your triangle. Now we can look at exactly which stitches to work in. If you want to see larger versions of any of the photographs, just click on them.

  Beginning with Row 2, you will be working at an angle to the original chain. The loop on your hook counts as the first stitch, so insert your hook between the vertical bars of the second stitch from the hook. Try turning your work so that the stitches you are working in (i.e. the left side of the triangle you are creating) are straight and the original chain angles. I didn't do this for the photographs, but found that this really helped for my first few rows. When I tried to work into the stitch while keeping the original chain flat I found that the vertical bars of the stitches tried to masquerade as horizontal bars.

Pick up a loop in each stitch across, remembering to work a Tunisian knit stitch in a previous Tunisian knit stitch and a Tunisian purl stitch in a previous Tunisian purl stitch.

  I found that it is the last three stitches that can be a bit tricky.The third to last stitch might look like the last stitch of the row, but don't worry. Just pick up a loop in this stitch.

  The second to last stitch is actually the last stitch you picked up on the previous row. It looks like the row end. Insert your hook here just as you would on a row end and pull up a loop. I found that counting each loop I picked up helped me. After this stitch, you should have picked up as many loops as stitches you worked in the last row.
  The final stitch of the row in worked in the set-up row. This is the stitch that makes sure your triangle continues to grow across the original set-up rows.

As you begin working not only Tunisian knit stitches but Tunisian purl as well, you may notice that the Tunisian purl stitches aren't quite as tall as the Tunisian knit, giving the left edge a bit of a wave. Don't worry this will block out.

Let me know if still have questions about where to work the stitches as well as any areas you would like to see a blog about.

Best wishes,



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deblin1647 wrote
on Oct 12, 2011 9:29 AM

Thank you so much for this! I fell in love with this pattern but have never tried tunisian crochet before and this part almost made me give up. Thanks to you, I am back at it and pleased with the results so far!

on Oct 14, 2011 12:16 PM

very helpful, thank you Toni:)

Jan3459 wrote
on Oct 31, 2011 10:08 AM

Thanks for this up-close look at the triangle entrelac construction.

I have done Tunisian crochet before and know how to do the Tunisian knit stitch, but can't find a demonstration or diagram of the Tunisian purl stitch. Is there a place on the CrochetMe web site that details how to make this stitch?

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Oct 31, 2011 11:08 AM

You can find a video demonstration on how to work the Tunisian purl stitch here

Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!

the Wreck wrote
on Jan 7, 2012 7:15 AM

Toni:  Thank you so much for this.  I have been practicing my Tunisian knit stitch on my gauge swatch, and finally feel like I have it figured out.  Then I read the pattern...several times, and went HUH???  Your pictures and explanation have helped immensely.  Now, maybe I'm ready to actually start the garment.

jjustjoan wrote
on Jan 23, 2012 3:33 PM

I'm working on Betty's Tunisian Tee  and I am just now doing the first body block.  I am about 5 rows into it & notice that I have a chain stitch forming between the second base triangle and the right hand side of the first body block.  Is this correct?  The part I'm referring to is the first line of Rows 1-55: "Insert hook from front to back in sc at edge of 2nd base triangle and pull up a loop..."  When I "RetP to last 3 lps, yo and draw through all 3 lps on hook", it creates a vertical chain stitch.  Is this correct?  I don't notice this chain in the pictures. Am I doing something wrong?  

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Jan 24, 2012 12:21 PM

Hi jjustjoan,

Yes, you will see what looks like a chain forming up the side. In some yarns this chain is more pronounced than in others. You can see it a little bit in the photos of the next blog in this series here:

Let me know if you have any other questions. It sounds like things are going great.



andrealau wrote
on Feb 19, 2012 5:52 AM

Hi Toni!

This is my first time making an actual garment! Very exciting.

Newbie question. I'm halfway through the first triangle, then realised the width of my foundations rows is only 29.5 inches. I'm trying to make the 31.5 inch version!!

My gauge seemed okay. Should I start again using a bigger size?



Toni Rexroat wrote
on Feb 22, 2012 3:31 PM

Hi andrealau ,

It sounds like you will be okay. Remember that you still will have to block your sweater. Blocking out two inches sounds about right. Good luck!

andrealau wrote
on Feb 27, 2012 7:06 AM

Thanks, Toni. Will let you know how it goes!!


on Apr 26, 2012 10:22 AM

I love doing the tunisian crochet stitch.  Unfortunately I dont find too many patterns for wearing apparel.  I have made two sweaters using the book "get hooked on tunisian Crochet" by Sheryl Thies.  I am going to experiment on developing my own variation but it really makes a garment with more body than the usual crochet stitches.

Barbara Schwartz

MarthaE@7 wrote
on May 10, 2012 9:15 PM

I'm just about finished with my version of this Tee and I really like it.  I used Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton & Silk and the tonal quality of the yarn adds nicely to the end result.  One question I have is that the neckline seems to be so very big, and I was wondering if anyone else had that issue come up.  

Schelmerei wrote
on Dec 22, 2013 12:27 AM

Thank you very much for this post! I stopped after the base row and thanks to your post I finally figured out how to continue! This is my first garment, so it's going quite hard for me :)

When I'm working on tunisian knit stitches, everything goes smooth, but I have some trouble working with tunisian purl stitches, especially in the beginning. Could you provide some photos and explanation, how to start with tunisian purl stitches and particularly last 3 stitches in a row, like you did with knit stitches. Thank you!

patncat wrote
on Aug 24, 2015 12:19 PM

Waited to do the Tee until I felt at ease with my old Tunisian stitches. However, my set-up rows make the first triangle of the first "base triangle" begin on the RIGHT side of the base triangle.  The garment "construction" diagram definitely shows it on the LEFT.  This makes  (RS)  questionable......Did I miss a "turn" or "end" and  "join"?  (I did do the one "turn" before "Set-up row 1.)  Or is the Diagram showing the inside of the garment? Please help