Thursday, 26 September 2013

It’s Crochet, Jim, But Not As We Know It

Whilst browsing knitting needles and crochet hooks (yes, that is a thing that lots of us do, and no it's not that weird), you may have noticed what looks, at first glance, like a single knitting needle hanging in a packet by its solitary self.  If you then looked closer, you might even have noticed that the end is shaped like a crochet hook.  And you may have said to yourself, "What is this crafty implement, so long and so hooked?"

This instrument, dear readers, is a tunisian crochet hook.  And it is awesome.

Tunisian crochet is an interesting variant of crochet which produces a dense, tweedy-textured fabric if worked in a certain way, and a fabric that looks like the right side of a knitted stocking stitch when worked another way.  It's often described as a cross between knitting and crochet, as the stitches are worked in rows, rather than one at a time.

Tunisian crochet coasters, from

The fabric is constructed by pulling a loop of yarn up through each stitch and then working them all off.  In knitting terms, it's like casting them all on and then casting them all off every time.  It's pretty easy to get the hang of, and very, very addictive once you start.

Tunisian crochet is mega curly, but there are solutions

As a newcomer to crochet of the Tunisian variety, I've noticed that my work has a strange (and fairly extreme) tendency to curl up into a cottony tube, rather than staying nice and flat.  This, interestingly enough, is due to the thick loops that are formed on the back of the work, which increase the surface area to be much greater than the front of the work.  So far, the top two methods for combatting the curl seem to be:
  1. carefully blocking each piece when it's finished, and
  2. trying to avoid pulling the stitches too tightly.
I'm not going to reveal what it is that I'm working on at the minute, but stay tuned to find out!  (The only thing I will say is that it's going to knock your socks off - this is a seriously epic one, folks.)

An excellent introduction to Tunisian crochet can be found in Sharon Hernes Silverman's Tunisian Crochet book.

Post by Heather.

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