How is it February already? I’ve been meaning to write this post since the beginning of last month, but work, life and general business have swallowed up my time. Anyway, here we are! I hope 2020 is treating everyone well and you are all well underway with some beautiful projects!
My main resolution this year was to finish off some of my wips that have been hanging around for a while. I failed. I’ve started a silly amount, bought a ton of new yarn and decided to up my game in Tunisian crochet after one of my lovely friends gifted me this pattern.
Just on a side-note, I think anyone who enjoys crafting is guilty of telling themselves to get more finished, but let’s put a stop to that right now. We make things because we love it and let’s face it, a new project is always the most exciting part – looking through patterns and designs, working out which yarn will be best and finally casting on those first, perfect stitches. I’m now going forward with the mentality that I will finish my projects, but when I feel like it. And if I decide to start something new, man, I am going to enjoy every minute!
So, that being said; Tunisian crochet or as it’s sometimes called, Afghan crochet. You’ve probably seen the long Tunisian hooks and a few pieces in this style. It does look like the love-child of knitting and crochet, especially the Tunisian knit stitch. Generally speaking, Tunisian creates a lovely thick fabric and this is something you will need to keep in mind, but before we get on to that, lets have a look at a few different types of hooks and what you need to get started, or give this a go.
If you’ve never tried this technique before and you’re just a bit curious to dabble, you’ll just need a basic Tunisian hook. If you have a stash of DK yarn, you’ll go one size up to what you would use for standard crochet, so a 5mm if like me, you crochet quite tightly, or a 4.5mm if your gauge tends to be a bit looser. This will help to stop the fabric curling, although if you are working in simple stitch, you’re going to still get a little curl. You can either buy a singular hook, like these ones from Wool Warehouse, or for a few pounds more, you can get an aluminium set and I have this one from Amazon (affiliate link).
Once your hooks have arrived, you might want a tutorial to follow and I learnt the basic simple and knit stitch from Laura at Happy Berry Crochet. You can find the Youtube video just here. Once I have the basics down, I do like to move along quite quickly, so I prefer to learn from books. One of the nicest surprises about Tunisian crochet is the amount of stitches there are! I didn’t think it could be so diverse, but if you are wanting a comprehensive collection of stitches to play around with, I recommend this book. If you think that isn’t enough, then there are volumes two and three, so plenty to keep you going!
Not too bothered about making a load of squares to stitch together for a blanket? Using your standard hook, you can actually make this blanket as it is hooked in strips than sewn together. Also, it’s a freebie.
Whatever pattern you are doing, the best tip I can give you it to make sure you work that last stitch! It’s slightly below where you’d expect it, but miss it and you will not only get your stitch count off, but you’ll get a wonky side!
Maybe you decide that you really have found a new hobby and want to get some long hooks – these are just like normal crochet hooks, but have a tail. You can either get a fixed set like these ones or a set of interchangeable. I have to say, those cheaper bamboo ones haven’t been great in my experience, but the ones in that link seem to have ok reviews. I prefer spending a little more though and getting a set of interchangeables so I can choose the size of the cord I want to use. My first set was this set by Knitpro. You get 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm and 8mm hooks,4 cables; 1 x 60cm, 2 x 80cm and 1 x 100cm, plus the end caps and of course the key to tighten the cables to the hooks. The join is smooth and I haven’t had any problems with the yarn catching or the cord coming loose. The hook is also quite sharp which helps to pick up the correct bar, but can also split your yarn on occasion. My only peeve with this set it the cable. It’s quite curly and doesn’t really straighten out unless it has a good amount of yarn on it. This being said, I think for the price, this is a good set.
If you have been here a while, you’ll know I adore my Chiaogoo knitting needles and if you want to push the boat out, you can get a set of Chiaogoo interchangeable Tunisian hooks. These come with those fab Chiaogoo cables and the hooks are made of bamboo. I did have one issue of a snag on my 4mm hook, but the replacement is nice and smooth, so I’m going to believe I was just unlucky. If you want to have a look at this set, you can get it from Purlescence.
With these longer hooks, you can make blankets and throws in one piece. You could pick a few of the stitch patterns you like from the books suggested above and providing they all require the same multiple of stitches, hook up a blanket with different patterns in each panel.
The final type of hook are double sided Tunisian hooks. These come in various sizes and are used to crochet in the round. You can also get longer ones, joined together by a cable and I have to be honest and say I haven’t got round to trying this yet. I do have that set though and again, found the tutorial by Laura from Happy Berry very useful.
I hope this has been useful and given you a bit of guidance if you were wanting to try your hand a Tunisian crochet. Be sure to follow Instagram to keep up to date with all my projects and see how my Tunisian crochet shawl turns out!
Until next time,