Crocheting is a fun, creative, and versatile craft skill, but did you know there’s no one way to do it? There are different crochet techniques practiced all over the world. Tunisian crochet is one of them.
It’s almost a hybrid technique – like a mix of crochet and knitting – and creates a thick, firm fabric with less stretch than a conventional crocheted or knitted fabric. To learn this craft, you need yarn and a special tool: a Tunisian hook, sometimes called an Afghan hook. More on that later…
Tunisian crochet differs from regular crochet, in that you work one row at a time, rather than one stitch at a time. A row is completed in two “passes”: a forward pass and a return pass. The other big difference is that you don’t turn the work at the end of the row: you always work with the right side fabric facing you.
Tunisian crochet generally uses slightly more yarn than crochet or knitting. The resulting fabric tends to roll up, but this can easily be corrected by blocking.
There are hundreds of different stitches – but to get started you need to learn the basic stitch, known as Tunisian. Easy point.
Work begins, as with conventional crochet, with a foundation or working chain. The number of basic chains corresponds exactly to the number of consecutive stitches: you do not need to add additional chains to turn.
Let’s get started – what do you need for Tunisian crochet?
- tunisian crochet
- 4 strand cotton yarn
To try Tunisian crochet for yourself, you will need a crochet hook. A regular hook is usually about 15cm long, with a straight, round shank and a hook at one end. Most modern crochet hooks have a slightly flattened area in the center, a kind of indentation, which most crocheters use as a thumb rest.
A Tunisian hook is longer and straighter, with no indentation. It has a hook on one end but on the other end you will find a corkto prevent stitches from slipping.
There are other types of Tunisian hooks, some with a hook at each end of the handle and others, for working in the round, consisting of two hooks connected by a flexible cable, although we will not use them in this guide. of the beginner. .
Tunisian crochet hooks are readily available for purchase from yarn suppliers, in person or online. But when you try Tunisian crochet for the first time, the good news is that you don’t have to buy a special crochet hook: you can make a small sample using an ordinary crochet hook, to see if you love the technique before you commit. a special purchase.
In the examples shown here, we used a 3.5mm crochet hook and 4 strand cotton yarn.
How to make the simple Tunisian stitch step by step in pictures
Start with the basic stitches of Tunisian crochet
1 Make a slip knot and place it on the hook.
2 Make the desired number of chains: remember that this number is the same as the number of stitches in the following rows. In this sample, you will start with 15 strings.
In this photo you can see that the right side of the chain is at the top, closest to the hook. Where it is twisted you can see the wrong side, towards the lower end.
Tunisian crochet: make your first row
1 The first row is a preparation row and will not be repeated. It forms the basis of the following lines. You’ll work right to left along the base chain but, unlike regular crochet where you work along the top of the right side of the chain, you’ll need to flip the chain so the back is facing you. Insert your hook into the top of the second chain from the hook.
2 Wrap the yarn around the hook.
3 Pull the hook forward, the loop forms the second stitch; leave it on the hook.
4 Repeat the process. Insert the hook into the top of the next chain, wrap the yarn around the hook and pull it. Leave this loop of yarn on the hook to form the third stitch.
5 Repeat the process until you reach the end of the line. You will end up with 15 loops on the hook: the same number as the number of chains.
6 You have completed half of the preparation row; the next step is to return to the beginning of the row. Wrap the yarn around the hook.
seven Now pass the first two stitches of the hook.
8 You’ve basically cast off a stitch, much like you would in knitting. There will be one less stitch on the hook: 14 instead of 15, in this case.
9 Now cast off the next stitch. Wrap the yarn around the hook again, as you did in step 9.
ten Pass the next two stitches on the hook.
11 Again the stitches on the hook will be reduced by one.
12 Continue in this way until there is only one loop left on the hook. This is what the job looks like after completing the first row.
Tunisian crochet: how to work the forward pass
1 Now work the first forward pass. This will be done similar to the prep row, working from right to left but this time instead of working in the foundation chains you will insert the hook under the vertical bars formed in the previous row. Start by passing the hook from right to left under the second vertical bar, leaving the first unworked.
This photo shows a little more clearly how to locate the first vertical bar.
2 Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull the hook through; there will then be two loops on the hook.
3 Insert the hook under the next vertical bar.
4 Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull it; there will then be three loops on the hook.
5 Continue like this along the row, inserting the hook under the vertical bars, in turn, until you reach the penultimate bar. You will have 14 stitches on the hook. For the last stitch, pass the hook under two loops, identifying these loops and turning the work slightly so that you can see the side edge. This creates a nice clean edge on the fabric.
6 Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through these two loops; this way you will have completed the last stitch and you will have the correct number of stitches on the hook. You are ready for the return pass.
Tunisian crochet: how to work the return pass
1 Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull it through the first two loops on the hook.
2 Just as you cast off earlier, you will cast off the first stitch and the number of stitches will be reduced by one.
Tunisian crochet: working your rows
1 Continue working in rows, remembering that a row is a forward pass, working from right to left, where you create stitches and add them to the hook; and a return pass, where you cast off those stitches. This photo shows the job with four more rows completed.
This is what the fabric on the back looks like at this point. You can see that the good side and the bad side are very different from each other.
2 Continue working in rows until the sample is the desired length. Here, after the last step, seven more rows have been worked. You can clearly see how the fabric tends to curl. This is typical of Tunisian crochet.
Tunisian crochet: cast off
1 Once the fabric has reached the desired length, you will need to bind off, which you usually do with knitting rather than crochet. Begin by inserting the hook under the second vertical bar, as you would at the start of a forward pass.
2 Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through both stitches on the hook.
3 This will leave a stitch on the hook.
4 Continue like this down the row, inserting the hook under the next vertical bar, wrapping the yarn around the hook and pulling it through both loops, leaving only one loop on the hook each time.
5 The mold release process produces a nice clean edge to the artwork. Once you have finished binding off, cut the yarn and thread the tail through the last loop to fasten.
6 Due to its tendency to curl, you may want to block the finished piece. This will help it stay flat. A good way to do this is to wet the fabric, gently shape it, and pin it to a towel placed on a flat surface. Let it dry completely and it will dry flat and ready to use.
Now that you’ve mastered how to make a square swatch using Tunisian crochet, you can work on bigger projects like making a blanket or scarf. Keep an eye out for free crochet patterns.
Want to learn to crochet? Check out our beginner’s guide.