Blocking is a very important step in the making of a knitting or crochet project. The blocking techniques will be different depending on the type of fibre used in the project (wool, linen, cotton, synthetic yarn) and the type of project (blanket made of different squares, shawl, pullover, beanie), but in all cases blocking will help giving a nice finishing touch. Don’t underestimate the power of blocking.
In this article I present a very simple technique (I believe the most basic one) to block a project made of wool.
Before you start a Tunisian crochet project, ideally you make a swatch to count how many stitches you have per the measurement indicated in the pattern. However, counting stitches is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. In the sample below, how many Tunisian simple stitches do you count?
A Tunisian crochet work will always tend to curl. And curling can be severe if the fabric is dense. It’s a pure mechanical thing with weight and tension not evenly spread over the crochet work. Curling occurs when there is more fabric on one side of the work (usually but not always the back side of work).
The good news is there are a few things that can be done to fight against curling. You should take several aspects of your work into consideration and, ideally, combine several techniques to minimize curling.
This technique can be worked in many different ways by varying stitches used and changing colors at different places. The fabric is reversible if you work the same stitches in all rows. Or can be different on the front and back sides if you opt for different stitches from one row to the next. Possibilities are endless.
New page added to my site today. This time about working in a spiral with a double-ended Tunisian crochet hook. I added a photo tutorial and a video (in French) to show the basic steps of the technique. I used the Tunisian simple stitch to keep things easy-peasy. But you can use any other Tunisian stitch to have a different texture in your work. I used 2 different colors, but you can use 2 balls of yarn in the same color. You can even use both ends of the same yarn ball.
Today the plan was to update my site with double-ended Tunisian crochet techniques. But then I realized I had a few things to share about the double-ended hooks… So I created an entry “Double-ended” in the menu “Tunisian crochet”.
I have a clear-cut opinion about single-ended Tunisian crochet hooks. I work with and recommend interchangeable hooks. But about double-ended hooks, mmm… I’m not so sure what I like best.
So today I planned to tell you a bit about the magic ring (or circle). It’s a technique I use only when I make beanies (obviously starting from the top) or projects in a semi-circle shape.
It’s a very useful technique to make amigurumis. I started crocheting Dougal the mar from the EdinYarnFest. This magic circle, that’s very handy. I’ll share photos of Dougal later this week.
I made a short video (in French) to show how I do my magic circle. There are plenty of other methods to reach the exact same result. The one I show on the video works fine for me. See if it helps you. This technique required a bit of practice in the beginning.
Another way to start from the center of a circle is to make 2 chains and then start making stitches in the second chain from the hook. It’s really easy, but it makes the central part very fragile, easy to break. Be especially cautious with thin yarn: it could break just because of the weight of a big shawl or simply under sudden strong traction.
Other option: make 3 or 4 chains and join both ends with a slip stitch. Then make stitches by inserting your hook directly into the center of the circle or in the chains forming the edge of the circle. You’ll have something solid, resistant (like in “nothing to fear”), but you’ll always have a small hole, a tiny space. Especially with thin yarn.
Now that I have written this article, I wonder: Should I add this technique in the menu “Tunisian crochet”? Or create a new menu? But what would be this new menu? Tips and hints? I’m tempted to add the magic circle/ring to the page on “Foundations rows and other cast on techniques“. That’s probably what I’ll do. Tomorrow. After all, the magic circle is about starting a project. What do you think?
You’ll probably ask yourself: what does it have to do with Tunisian crochet? My aim is to show that you don’t have to start your Tunisian crochet project with chains. This is what you’ll see everywhere in books and on internet, but you have other options.
I could have made a simple list of foundation slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet and double crochet. But since there is a cruel lack of documentation on this matter (especially in French), I have made a series of videos (in French) on my YouTube channel about it. I try to show the logic behind the making of each foundation row.
I’m not saying a technique is better than another. The whole point is to have several techniques that you can choose from depending on your needs and the kind of project you plan to make. Keep in mind that these foundation rows are not interchangeable, you cannot simply use one instead of another in any pattern. Up to you to see what you like.
At the end of the page I share a stretchy foundationless Tunisian crochet cast on technique that I devised. It’s a variation from a foundation row. I said earlier that you don’t have to start a Tunisian crochet project with chains. Actually you don’t have to start with a foundation row in which you’ll pick up loops. There are methods to keep loops on your hook right from the start. After all, this is what you are looking for, adding loops on your hook to make your first row. So look into knitting techniques (I have not made any list of knitting techniques, but they are legions). Try and play around with the different foundation rows I present on my site. And draw your own conclusions about it.
So, tell me, what are the techniques you use most? Do you know other techniques than the one I mention today? What have you experimented in this matter and what are your conclusions?
Just like for increases, the objective of this page on decreases is not to make an exhaustive list of all possible techniques to make a decrease by 1 stitch in Tunisian crochet. I just want to show there is more than just one way to make a decrease.
The samples I show have all been made on purpose in Tunisian simple stitch, to allow a somewhat systematic comparison between the different techniques. You’ll get different results if you make a project in a different stitch than the Tss.
In the same spirit, all decreases have been aligned and made at every single row. You’ll get other visual effects if you place decreases differently in your projects.
Some techniques are well known. Other techniques are the fruit of my experiments over time. It is on purpose that I do not give any fancy name to the different types of decrease, I prefer to stick to a short description that is worth what it is.