Category Archives: Techniques

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

Working in a spiral with a double-ended hook

Working in a spiral with a double-ended hook
Working in a spiral with a double-ended hook

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.

A new page in the menu: on double-ended Tunisian crochet

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.

Double-ended Tunisian crochet hooks
Double-ended Tunisian crochet hooks

Magic ring (or circle)

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.

Cercle (ou anneau) magique
Cercle magique

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?

One page on foundation rows and cast on techniques

Today I added a big chunk to the documentation on my blog: one page about different types of foundation rows and cast on techniques.

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?

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?