Tunisian Crochet is a method of crocheting that uses an elongated hook. This hook will hold multiple loops across the length of your project, much like knitting.
Today I’m going to go over everything you need to know to get started with Tunisian crochet, including how to do a basic Tunisian crochet stitch, the simple stitch.
What is the difference between crochet and Tunisian crochet?
The most obvious difference is the type of crochet hook needed. I’ll go over that more in the next section. Right now I’m going to outline the differences in the fabric and construction.
Tunisian crochet rows consist of a forward pass and a return pass.
A forward pass is where you pull up loops across your project. All these loops will stay on your hook.
The return pass is where you work the loops you picked up on the forward pass off your hook.
You never turn your work in Tunisian crochet, all your stitching is worked on the “right side” of your project.
In regular crochet, you work on both sides of the fabric and only one stitch at a time.
Let’s chat about fabric characteristics.
Tunisian crochet produces a fabric that is pretty dense and a lot thicker than traditional crochet and much thicker than knitting. It is also less stretchy than both of these.
Tunisian crochet fabric is also prone to curling. This is because of the bias created by always working on the right side of your fabric. You can reduce this by using a hook 2 sizes bigger than your yarn recommends, by keeping your tension loose and even, and by blocking your finished project.
What tools do I need?
Tunisian crochet hooks are longer with some sort of stopper at the end. They can either be rigid or attached to a flexible cable.
I have a set of Knitters Pride interchangeable hooks. There is a variety of hook sizes and cable lengths. The longer cables are nice if you want to make a bigger project like a shawl, blanket, or sweater.
The rigid hooks are good for small projects like scarves.
The length of your Tunisian hook or hook/cord combo depends on the width of your project.
Can you use a regular crochet hook for Tunisian Crochet?
Yes, kind of. First off you are going to be limited to the size of your crochet hook and as you know standard crochet hooks are not that big,
If you are doing swatches or making something small like a headband/earwarmer they could definitely work. You’ll just have to be careful your stitches don’t slide off the other end of your hook.
Also, your hook will have to be straight. It can’t have a thumb grip in the middle or any sort of handle.
Tunisian Crochet Curling
The first time I tried Tunisian crochet was probably 5 or 6 years ago and I thought I was doing something wrong because it kept curling at the bottom. This was not the case.
Tunisian crochet curls, that’s all there is too it. Some stitches curl more than others though so there are ways we can reduce this annoying trait.
Here a few ways to reduce the curl:
Use a larger crochet hook. You should already be using a hook 2 sizes bigger than called for on the yarn label, but sometimes it helps to increase that gap even further.
Keep your tension loose and even. Crocheting too tight can make it curl more
Block your work. When in doubt, block it out. I recently did this on a Tunisian crochet scarf I made (pattern coming soon!), I pinned it out flat and hit with some steam from my garment steamer. Easy fix. I also added some fringe so that helped “weigh” it down too.
Tunisian Simple Stitch Tutorial
Grab a Tunisian hook (or a straight crochet hook) and your favorite yarn. I’m using this 6.5mm hook and some Brava Worsted Weight Yarn from WeCrochet/Knit Picks. We are going to learn the Tunisian Simple Stitch.
Chain any number to start.
I have 15 chains.
Remember each row has 2 steps. The forward pass and the return pass.
Foundation Row or Cast On Row
Insert your hook in the second chain from the hook and pull up a loop. 2 loops on hook.
Insert your hook in next chain and pull up a loop. Repeat across. Remember to keep your tension loose.\
Now you should have a row of loops on your hook like this.
Let’s start the return pass. Ch 1.
Yo, pull through next 2 loops. Repeat across working off 2 loops at a time until one loop remains.
Now we’ll begin the second row forward pass.
Skip the first vertical bar. Insert your hook from right to left under the next vertical bar, pull up a loop.
Repeat across until you have picked up all the loops.
The return pass is done just as the first return pass we made. Ch 1. Yo, pull through next 2 loops. Repeat across working 2 loops off at a time until one loop remains.
Repeat row 1 until piece is the size you want it.
Now we can bind off. This creates a nice finished edge on your piece. We are basically going to be doing a series of slip stitches across your work.
The bind off row only has a forward pass.
Insert your hook under 2nd vertical bar. Yo, pull through the vertical bar and loop on your hook. *insert your hook under next vertical bar, yo, pull through the vertical bar and loop on your hook. Repeat from * across. Finish off.
This is my little swatch after I blocked it.
What did you think? Kind of fun right!
I have a beginner Tunisian crochet pattern coming out next week that features this stitch.
Let me know in the comments if you want to see some more stitch tutorials for Tunisian Crochet.