I thought it was going to be hard to figure out how to get started with my Year of Projects. Turns out it wasn’t. Here’s what happened. I’ve got quite a bit of cotton in the stash and I want to make washcloths with it. I’m in New England where it’s been in the upper 90s - hazy, hot and humid for way to many days in a row. Small cotton projects are where it’s at. I was searching for patterns on Ravelry and found two for cotton Tunisian Crochet Washcloths. In spite of the heat the light bulb was flashing and I knew that I discovered the first lesson in my year long learning adventure. And that friends is how I came to spend my weekend learning Tunisian Crochet.
I am venturing into uncharted territory, so I began where I always do with something new – I hit the books. A Rainbow of Afghans (Sedgewood Press1989) offers very limited written information, but a good diagram for the basic technique. The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting & Crochet Stitches (Readers Digest 2003) lives up to it’s name with a whole chapter dedicated to the technique. Additionally, it offers 39 pattern variations. 39! Until yesterday I was only aware of one!
Wondering what it’s all about? Me too! Here’s what I found out:
Tunisian Crochet is often referred to as the Afghan Stitch (which explains why I thought there was one pattern/stitch!). It’s a technique that is worked on a special hook that looks like a cross between a crochet hook and a knitting needle. The hooks are available in the same circumferences used in traditional crochet. Why the long hooks? Because you need it to hold the loops you create on the forward half of the row before you work them off on the return half. Confused? Don’t worry, keep reading and I’ll explain.
Typically in crochet, fabric is created by working a row of stitches, turning the piece over then working another row of stitches. Repeat until desired length. In Tunisian Crochet, each row is done in two parts. Forward and Return. Forward is done working right to left and pulling loops or stitches onto the hook. (I imagine that this might be what it’s like to cast on in knitting, but since I’ve never done it, it’s pure speculation!). On the Return, the loops are worked off the hook going left to right. The fabric is created without turning so the right (correct) side always faces you. There is a noticeable difference between the sides – unlike traditional crochet which makes a fabric that is basically reversible.
The fabric produced can be dense and thick. The Sourcebook recommends that you use a hook at least 2 sizes larger than what you ordinarily use based on your yarn choice. I’m using worsted weight (4) cotton which means they suggest I use a J hook. I don’t have a J hook. I have a G hook, and for better or worse – that’s what I’m using. For the purpose of my washcloth I think I’ll be okay.
Basic Tunisian fabric is made using the Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS), and the Basic Return (BR). When you see a reference to the Afghan Stitch, this is what they mean. The pattern stitches are worked using the same Forward and Return technique with variations on how you create and remove the loops. It seems like sound advice that you become familiar with the basic Tunisian fabric before moving onto the pattern stitches.
Now that I’m comfortable with my understanding of the world of Tunisian crochet, it’s time for the yarn and hook to meet. Join me next time when I put the basics to work and (hopefully) I’ll have a washcloth to show you!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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