Annette Petavy Design – Newsletter May 2009 – Starting Tunisian crochet

Newsletter May 2009: Starting Tunisian crochetNews:My new website launched at the very beginning of May – if you haven’t seen it yet, click on the links above to explore! Regarding the content, the most important change is that the blog is now part of the website – you might want to update your bookmarks or blog aggregator feeds.I would like to thank Hélène Marcy for her wonderful work in making this website a true reflection of my universe.As you’ve already seen, the layout of the newsletter has also changed, to be more in harmony with the rest of the website. There is, of course, also news in the shop: the Chubby Bag, a pattern previously published in Interweave Crochet, way back in the spring issue of 2006, under the name « Tiny Tote ». crocheted bagThe issue of the magazine is no longer available, so I’m very happy to be able to offer this pattern in my shop!Starting Tunisian crochet:I have recently started to explore the medium of Tunisian crochet – a new adventure for me!Tunisian crochet is often described as a mix of knitting and crochet. I don’t really agree with this – I think it is more similar to a kind of weaving using a crochet hook.There is only one specific tool for Tunisian crochet, and that is the Tunisian hook: a longer crochet hook with a knob at the end:tunisian crochet hookThe hook needs to be longer than a normal crochet hook because you will get to a point where you have all the stitches in one row on your hook at the same time. All the swatches for this newsletter, however, were made with a small number of stitches on an ordinary hook. You can try out the technique with an ordinary hook to see how you like it before purchasing a special hook.You might also need to change the way you hold your hook. This was actually the most difficult part for me. I usually use what is called the « pencil hold », which looks something like the left picture below. This is essentially holding your hand under the hook.holding a crochet hookWhen doing Tunisian crochet, you need to use the « knife hold », with your hand over the hook (see picture to the right above). Otherwise your hand will get in the way of your work.Another basic fact about Tunisian crochet is that it produces a thick and firm fabric. It is often recommended to use a larger hook than usual. I worked the swatches in this newsletter with a DK-weight yarn and a 5 mm [US H-8] hook. When working traditional crochet, I typically use a 4 mm [US G-6] hook with the same type of yarn. Simple tunisian stitch is quite straightforward to work. Let me show you how!Work as many chains as you want stitches in your piece. Here, I wanted to make a 12-stitch swatch.Skip the first ch (counting from the hook). Put your hook through next chain, yo and pull through. Leave the loop on the hook. Repeat for each ch to end.tunisian crochet base row Now you have a loop on your hook for every stitch in your row.The next step is crucial: Yarn over, and pull through one loop. Take a good look at the chain you just made. This is your left edge stitch. You will need to find it again. If you’re not sure that you will be able to locate it easily, put a marker (perhaps a small safety pin) in it.left edge stitch in tunisian crochet Turn your work around, and see that at the back of the edge stitch, as in any crochet chain, there is a bump. This bump will be very important when you work the edge stitch on the next row.Now, yo and pull through two loops. Repeat this last step until you have worked off all the loops, ending with a single loop on your hook. The photo at left below shows the work with about half of the loops worked off. The photo at right shows the completed first row.finishing first row in tunisian crochetThis first row is the foundation row. However, it is worked like any Tunisian crochet row: in a « forward pass », when all the loops are worked onto the hook, and a « return pass », when the loops are worked off the hook.A row is completed only after both « passes » are completed, forward and return.So, let’s see how an ordinary row is worked.Take a look at the picture at the right above again. See all the vertical bars that were created in the row just made? This is where we’re going to work the next row.The loop on the hook is already the right edge stitch – we don’t have to do anything more about it. To work the second stitch, put your hook under the next vertical bar.tunisian simple stitchYo and pull through. Just as before, keep the loop on your hook. Continue to work under each vertical bar to work the loops onto your hook in the forward pass.Here we are halfway through the forward pass in a row a bit further on:forward pass tunisian crochetThe arrow indicates the left edge stitch. Once you get to this stitch, you work through it, making sure to put the hook under both the outer loop of the stitch and the bump on its back. This is the secret behind a neat left edge when working Tunisian crochet.After the forward pass, once again, yo and pull through one loop only, to create the new left edge stitch. Then start working the loops off the hook: yo and pull through two loops. Repeat until the return pass is completed.return pass tunisian crochetThe last completed row always looks a bit loose – that’s normal.To finish off your swatch, use the traditional crochet slip stitch.  Put your hook under the vertical bar, yo and pull through the vertical bar and the loop on the hook in one go. This makes for a neat finish and tightens up the last, loose row.tunisian crochet finishingOnce you’ve worked the final slip stitch through the left edge stitch, you can fasten off. Your first Tunisian crochet swatch is finished, and you are devastated, because it looks like this:curling tunisian crochet swatchOh yes, Tunisian crochet curls. The stitch we just learned, the Tunisian simple stitch, curls like crazy in a small swatch. However, a border in traditional single crochet and some energetic blocking definitely helps:tunisian crochet swatch with borderYou’ve just learned a new skill! It takes some practice in the beginning, but you have opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities.There are many different stitches in Tunisian crochet. However, if you know only the basic Tunisian simple stitch demonstrated here, you can still have a lot of fun playing with colours. Just look at these swatches, all made in Tunisian simple stitch (Tss), but with colour changes:tunisian crochet swatches in colourSo pull out some yarn and start to play!See you soon!
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