Let’s talk about Tunisian crochet

Tunisian crochet is (finally) finding it’s spot in the sun. This technique that mixes crochet and knitting is a wonderful addition to your fiber arts tool kit.

Regular crochet and Tunisian crochet

The main difference between regular crochet and Tunisian crochet is that in Tunisian crochet, each row is made in two steps, or passes: the forward pass and the return pass.

In the forward pass, we’re pulling up loops in all our stitches, but leaving them on the hook instead of completing the stitches. That’s actually why we need a longer hook for any project of more than ten to twenty stitches.

If you think about it, the forward pass is kind of like making a regular crochet stitch, but without doing the last “yarn over, pull through 2.”

At the return pass, each stitch is completed one after the other. If we go back to the same analogy, this is where we’ll “yarn over, pull through 2”, but all the way across the row.

Interestingly, unless you are using a double-ended hook, another (!) technique, the right side is almost always facing you in Tunisian crochet.

My Tunisian crochet patterns are all available on Ravelry: click here.

Knitting and Tunisian crochet

When knitters see Tunisian crochet in the wild, they’ll often exclaim that it looks a lot like knitting. And it does – especially on the wrong side, but it’s not. The two techniques are wildly different, as are their stitches and characteristics.

That said, in “Should you use knitting patterns for Tunisian crochet, Yarn Andy explores in detail what does and doesn’t translate between the two techniques.

The tools

Aside from the hook, no special tools are required for Tunisian crochet. And for patterns of ten to twenty stitches (such as the Ocean Geometry scarf), a regular hook that does not have an ergonomic handle will do! Kind of a “try before you buy” type of pattern.

But if you do enjoy Tunisian crochet, you’ll want to use a variety of hooks for your practice. There are straight hooks, interchangeable hooks, and straight hooks with cables attached. If you’re in Canada, you can check out my shop here and here.

Texture of the Oblique Shell published in Crochet Foundry, Cotlin by WeCrochet and Tunisian hook from Furls Crochet

Tips and specifics

You should know that crochet fabric is rather thicker than knit or crochet fabric, even with openwork. For the same yarn weight, you’ll want to use a hook one or two sizes bigger than you would with regular crochet. If you don’t, your project is more likely to be very dense, or to curl.

In this article (7 things to know about Tunisian crochet) Blue Star Crochet gives a bunch of tips to stop the curling – among other amazing tips. Yarn Andy also talks about Tunisian crochet curling here.

It’s also good to know that Tunisian crochet requires more yarn than both knitting and regular crochet. And alright, that does it. I’m now a huge fan of Yarn Andy and their detailed explorations. Here, the question on all our lips: “Does crochet use more yarn than knitting“. The short answer is “yes”, but the article is worth the read.

You’re not alone

Later this summer/fall, I will be teaching an all new workshop that shows, with a variety of examples, how to create lace and texture with Tunisian crochet. After quickly running through the basic stitches, I will show you how placing your hook just slightly differently can create beautiful texture and lace, often in 1 or 2-row repeats!

I’ll be teaching this workshop for the first time ever at Twist. To register, click here.

xo Julie