An Introduction to Tunisian Crochet

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on Jan 3, 2006 12:43 PM

When I was just a wee crocheter, we used to call this Afghan stitch. I’m not sure when the term Tunisian came into popular use, but no doubt it was sometime during my misspent youth – that dark era when I failed to bring out the crochet hook for years at a time. Regardless of what you call it, this is an easy and handsome stitch and is particularly great for making stiffer fabrics.

Tunisian crochet is different from regular crochet in several ways. First, it is all worked on one side. You do not turn your work and the right side always faces you. Second, each row is worked in two parts: a forward part and return part, which I will address shortly. Third, it is technically possible to “drop” stitches with Tunisian crochet, and although it is not nearly as devastating as it is in knitting, it is a pain to correct so be sure to count your stitches frequently.

To begin, make a chain as usual.

1st row, forward: This is sometimes called the foundation row. Turn and begin picking up stitches as follows: insert the hook into the first chain next to the hook and pull yarn through. There are now two loops on the hook. Insert hook into next chain and pull yarn through again – three loops on the hook now. Continue across. When you finish you should have the same number of loops on your hook as originally chained. For example, the pattern above begins with a ch 15. At the end of the forward part of the first row, there should be 15 loops on the hook (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1

1st row, return: Working with right side (front) facing you still, yarn over your hook and pull a loop through the first loop (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
Figure 2

Yarn over again and pull a loop through the next two loops on the hook. Repeat across until there is one loop left on the hook (see Figure 3).


Figure 3

2nd row (and remaining rows), forward: Note that each stitch in the first row has a vertical line associated with it. You will begin your 2nd row by inserting the hook into the vertical line in the second stitch from the hook (Figure 4). Yarn over and pull a loop onto the hook. Continue inserting and pulling until you get to the last st. When you work the last st, insert the hook into the vertical line as well as the loop of yarn behind that – see Figure 5.

Figure 4   Figure 5
Figure 4                                                    Figure 5

This will make a firm selvedge edge on the left side that looks and feels the same as the right edge. Work this loop loosely, however, to keep the sides even.

2nd row (and remaining rows), return: Work the same as 1st return row.

Tunisian increase, forward: Make a forward row as usual. When all the loops are on the hook, continue by chaining the desired number of extra stitches, plus 1. Then remove the last loop of the chain from the hook. (see Figure 6).

Insert hook into first ch and pull up the back loop. Do this for all the ch except the last one. Return last loop to hook.

Tunisian increase, return: Work return row as usual. When there is one loop remaining on the hook, continue by chaining the desired number of extra stitches. When working the next forward row, skip the first ch closest to the hook and pull up loops in the remaining ch. Be sure to pull up a loop in the 1 st vertical st of the row – the one that is normally skipped on non-increasing rows.

Tunisian cast-off: This is worked on a forward row. Pull up first loop, then yarn over and pull yarn through two loops. Continue across to last st. After the last st is completed, break yarn and pull end through last loop.

If you would like more detailed instruction, there are quite a few good internet sources for Tunisian stitch. Two that I particularly like are Knitted Threads’ Afghan/Tunisian Stitch; A Brief Introduction, by Janet Rehfeldt and The Stitchguide’s Easy Tunisian™.

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caroltyoung wrote
on Jan 26, 2010 7:55 AM

I am not able to see the photos.  Am I doing something wrong? Maybe someone can tell me what to do.  I really want to try this. 

CarolY

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theonlynikki wrote
on Jan 26, 2010 11:13 AM

I can't see them either.

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chupie wrote
on Jan 28, 2010 9:21 PM

I would love to see the images. I really want to start doing this.

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Ms.DitchDoc wrote
on Feb 3, 2010 3:10 AM

Can you tell me why my afghan stich keeps rolling up? Is my tension too tight? Or am I just plain doing it all wrong?

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caroltyoung wrote
on Feb 3, 2010 12:53 PM

I have the same problem with my first piece, a pot holder.  I really need to know what to do before I start a real piece. 

Carol Y

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DPN wrote
on Feb 4, 2010 12:03 AM

I had the same problem with rolling, so I ended up with a modified Tunisian stitch which was a little looser and didn't curl.  I'd like to know how it's supposed to be done to prevent that because it's a pretty stitch. 

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caroltyoung wrote
on Feb 5, 2010 7:46 AM

What modification did you do?  Really want to get this under control and get started on a real project. Do you know any good sites to explain how to do this? 

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paulag1955 wrote
on Feb 11, 2010 10:49 AM

Tunisian crochet naturally curls. You can control the curl by using a larger hook and working loosely or by working around the outside edge of your finished piece with regular crochet.

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paulag1955 wrote
on Feb 11, 2010 11:59 AM

Here's a site with some good photos.

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caroltyoung wrote
on Feb 12, 2010 7:11 AM

Thanks for the tips.  I got a new hook yesterday and am going to try it.  The site is great, its a shame they can't fix the problem on this site and don't read the responses.

Carol Y

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SallyD wrote
on Feb 12, 2010 2:15 PM

Chupie and others,

You may want to go to youtube and search for tunisian crochet and there are quite a few videos on how to's.

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susie33 wrote
on Feb 16, 2010 1:14 PM

the you tube tutorial is useful... lovely to learn a new technique

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susie33 wrote
on Feb 16, 2010 1:14 PM

the you tube tutorial is useful... lovely to learn a new technique

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sharon.long wrote
on May 30, 2010 1:14 AM

There is a site called Nextstitch and they do Tunisian crochet how-to videos that are excellent.  Just put the name like I have typed it in your search engine and it should pull it up for you. You should definitely check those out.  My tunisian always curls but edging and/or blocking it will take care of that.  Make sure you always pull your loops up. I find it helps alot, rather than leaving them at the side where you inserted the hook to start the stitch.  Hope this helps.

Regards,  Sharon

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