Tunisian Crochet is a yarn craft that blends some of the best elements of knitting and crochet. It has the ease of using one hook, like crochet, combined with the structure and textures that makes knitting so appealing. One of the fascinating things about Tunisian crochet is that you can use crochet stitches to enhance your work and also use knit stitches like cables, yarn overs, and entrelac. It truly is the best of both worlds.
Tunisian Crochet uses a special hook that is similar to a crochet hook but has a knob at the end or a cable with a knob for longer pieces. The key to working the stitch is the action of putting loops onto the hook going from right to left (for right-handers) and taking them off again going from left to right, building up rows as you go. It can also be worked in the round, with a cable hook or a two ended hook.
The basic stitch is the Tunisian simple stitch (TSS) but there are many others and a variety of textures to be created. Stitch patterns are achieved through inserting the hook in different places in the work as well as holding the yarn in front or back. The way the yarn is brought together makes color work especially interesting.
Victorians loved Tunisian crochet because of its natural grid that they could use to embellish with needlepoint or cross stitch. There is even a photograph of Queen Victoria doing Tunisian crochet. Another great advantage of Tunisian crochet is speed. It tends to be quicker than both crochet and knitting but uses more yarn than both.
Like so many crafts the exact origin is unknown. The Norwegians call it hakking and but don’t get too hung up on the name, it goes by dozens of others. One of them is Fool’s stitch, demonstrating just how simple it is once you get the hang of it. It was often called Afghan stitch and was used for making the thick blankets we call by that name. Because of working each row twice with different stitches Tunisian crochet makes a wonderfully thick fabric that is perfect for blankets and washcloths. It also makes deliciously warm sweaters, hats, and scarves.
Come learn the fun of Tunisian crochet and work up a speedy chunky cowl with Fancy Tiger teacher, Wynne Reynolds in her March 2nd Tunisian Crochet 101 workshop.