Category Archives: Techniques

Techniques, tips and hints to make beautiful projects in Tunisian crochet

One page on decreases in Tunisian crochet

Today I added a page on decreases in the menu about techniques in Tunisian crochet.

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.

A page on increases in Tunisian crochet

Today I added a page on increases in Tunisian crochet.

The objective of this page is not to list all possible types of increases, but merely to show there are different ways to make increases in Tunisian crochet.

All samples have been made in Tunisian simple stitches and all increases have been made after the 3rd stitch of each row. You’ll get different results if

  • you make samples in other stitches than the simple stitch
  • you make increases after a different number of stitches at each row
  • you make more than one increase per row

An increase can be so much more than the simple addition of a stitch in a row. It does not have to be invisible and may have a decorative effect that is appealing in a pattern. I hope my little experiment with swatches showing different types of increases will inspire you in your exploration of different Tunisian crochet techniques.

A page on twisted up and down simple stitches

Today I added a page on 2 stitches that are variations of the Tunisian simple stitch:
the twisted up and twisted down simple stitches.

The difference between these 2 stitches lies in the direction in which the hook rotates before the yarn over. I have made a video (in French) to show how the hook rotates for each stitch.

Twisted up and twisted down Tunisian simple stitches
Right side: twisted up Tss. Left side: twisted down Tss.

Why making a swatch matters

Make swatches
Make swatches.

I have said it before, I’m saying it now and I will keep on saying it: make at least one swatch before you start a project! Note that I write “at least”. Implicitly this means that you will sometimes have to make several swatches before starting a project. Now it’s explicit! In this article, I give 5 good reasons to make a swatch. And I explain what is for me a good swatch.

Continue reading

A few things about changing colors

Today I added a page about changing colors in Tunisian crochet. There are many other things to say about colors in Tunisian crochet, but I have not found yet the right structure to cover the different elements I would like to share. So let’s start simple.

I strongly encourage everyone to play with colors. With the Tunisian simple stitch alone, results are already remarkable. And try combining different colors with different stitches. Only by changing colors at the beginning or end of rows, variations are legions. And if you add color changing yarns to the list of possible variations, it makes it even longer…

Pattern Vice versa (design by Rachel Henri)
Modèle Vice versa multiple colors

Don’t trust yarn labels

There are all sorts of yarns. This is why yarn companies give details about their yarns on labels: fibre type, category, weight, yardage, gauge, washing instruction… and needle size.

About needle size, most of the time it’s the size recommended for knitting needles. Hook size may be indicated but then it’s a hook size for “standard” crochet, not Tunisian crochet. I have not seen any label yet with a recommendation on the size of a Tunisian crochet hook.

The trap is to believe that needle size and hook size are interchangeable, that you get the same texture with a yarn that is knitted with 4 mm needles or crocheted with a 4 mm Tunisian crochet hook. In general (but this is not a universal rule), it is wiser to select a bigger hook compared to what is recommended for knitting needles.

Selecting the right hook size

The right hook size for a given yarn is very personal. Some people tend to crochet with a lot of tension. Others will crochet loosely. So crocheted samples with the same yarn and the same hook size may be different from one person to another.

The type of stitches used is to be taken into account as well. Basic stitches usually require a bigger hook than extended or Tunisian double crochet stitches.

Since the hook size has a direct impact on the texture of the project, you need to assess what is best for the type of work you plan to do. You don’t want the same density of fabric for a shawl or for slippers.

In short, the best way to select the right hook size is to make a sample. And maybe even several samples. Until you get the fabric you want to have for your project.

Test with 6 samples

Two or three years ago, I made a little experiment, some kind of test, with 6 samples. All done in Malabrigo Sock, with the same skein. All in Tunisian simple stitches, the most basic stitch. All done the same day by me. The only difference was in the hook size used for each sample.

On the yarn label, Malabrigo recommends 2.25 – 3.25 mm for needle size. In Tunisian crochet, samples made in 2.5 and 3.5 mm give something very dense, maybe ideal to make soles for slippers. No stretch, no elasticity. Untamable curling.

6 samples in Tunisian crochet with Malabrigo Sock
6 samples in Tunisian crochet

The sample in 4 mm gives better results, but curling remains strong and the fabric is not very fluid.

The samples in 5 and 6 mm are excellent. My personal preference goes to the sample in 6 mm because the fabric is very fluid, but the sample in 5 mm could work as well for projects that require a little density. Curling, after washing, is easily defeated.

The sample in 8 mm does not curl at all (or so little), but it does not have any structure, it’s a bit sloppy.

So what do you think about this experiment? And what is your method to select the right hook size for your TC projects?

One page on Tunisian crossed stitches

Today I added Tunisian crossed stitches to the list of variations on Tunisian basic stitches.

The question I’ve always (let’s say often) asked myself is to know whether we should describe this type of stitch as “crossed stitch” (singular) or “crossed stitches” (plural). It’s a trivial question, really. But if we stick to logic, in order to cross 2 stitches, you need… at least 2 stitches. In geometry, a crossed line implies there is at least another line that crosses it. And the same applies to arms, legs, fingers, roads… So I usually say “crossed stitches” in the plural form.

However, the name “crossed stitch” is often used in the singular form. Because 2 crossed stitches form one unique entity, some kind of new stitch (though technically it’s nothing new, it’s just the arrangement of stitches that is different). Like a shell stitch in standard crochet, that is made of several stitches and forms a unique stitch. And taken from that angle, it makes perfect sense.

Yet I really like to use the plural form. By habit, no doubt. And in the end, what matters most is to be clear in the description of instructions provided in a pattern, so that everyone understands what is meant to be done. And you? What is the form you like best? Would you use the singular or plural form?

Technical details that make a difference

Today I added a few technical details on key elements about Tunisian crochet. Details indeed, yet they make a difference in understanding the basic principles of Tunisian crochet.

Edge stitches

I added documentation on edge stitches, i.e. the first and last stitches of a row. These are special stitches, completely different from all other stitches made in between.

The first loop on hook is not the first stitch you make at the start of a FwdP. This first loop is the loop that remains on hook wen you have completed a full RetP. Technically, this loop is not a simple stitch or any other stitch. It looks the same whatever the stitches you make in between the first and last loop of a FwdP.

Edge stitch at end of RetP
Edge stitch at the end of RetP

The last loop on hook could be picked up under the front vertical bar like a simple stitch, but you would end up with an edge that is not stable enough, that would be distorted after being stretched a few times. It is usually wise to insert the hook under both threads of yarn on the edge of the work.

Edge stitch at the end of FwdP
Edge stitch at the end of FwdP

One last thing to mention today about edge stitches: they do NOT look alike. This is normal. They are created in totally different ways.

Details about what makes a basic stitch

I added a photo to show the details of a Tunisian basic stitch. So far, in the documentation on this website, I mentioned vertical bars, RetP chains, back thread… without showing exactly what these are.

Structure point tunisien
Structure of a Tunisian basic stitch

Take the time to watch your work. Closely watch your work. While you are busy with it and after you’ve done a row. Have a close look at how yarn threads intertwine and shape stitches. It is not a waste of time. This will help you in learning how to “read” your crochet work, how to spot what you like and what you want to improve. Take the time to identify what a basic stitch is made of.

One page on Tunisian double crochet stitches

Today in my new blog I added a page on Tunisian double crochet stitches, a variation on basic stitches. Here below I show a photo of the Tunisian double crochet simple stitch and, further below, a photo of the extended Tunisian simple stitch.

They look similar but are not quite the same. Do you see the difference?

Brides tunisiennes - points simples
Brides tunisiennes – points simples
Point tunisien simple allongé
Point tunisien simple allongé

One page on extended Tunisian stitches

Today on my new blog I added a page on extended Tunisian stitches.

Point tunisien tricot allongé
Point tunisien tricot allongé

On this page I show what the main extended Tunisian crochet stitches look like, but also I add a short note on “standard” (understand “non Tunisian”) crochet. Any stitch can be “extended” by adding a chain in the making of this stitch.

I describe these stitches in words and with a video (in French) along with photos to show what the 4 basic stitches look like once extended.

Important note on edge stitches: Because extended stitches are taller than their equivalent basic stitches, it is wise to adapt the height of the edges at the beginning and end of the rows. I also show how to get this little “indented” edge.