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