tunisian crochet resources

Over the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with Tunisian crochet. It was a long time coming. Honestly I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. When I was a child, I wanted to learn to knit and couldn’t figure it out. My mother couldn’t and said it was “too hard” so she hated it. We both knew Tunisian crochet could look like knitting, however, the few resources I found back then didn’t make sense to me.

Once you figure out the rhythm of it and learn what parts of stitches to work with, it’s a fun new form and creates fabric that is unique. I really love how it plays with colour.

I’m so smitten I recently designed a crochet cowl — multimesh. The way it’s worked up blends colors into a cohesive and colorful whole and without it looking muddy. The colors retain their vibrancy due to the nature of the Tunisian crochet stitch. This design is worked up Artyarns worsted weight Silky Twist, using a “Duos” kit and a full length skein, approximately 440 yards/440 meters total.

There’s many resources online and a few new books out that show I’m not alone in falling for this crochet technique.

Resources

Edie Eckman is an excellent teacher and creates remarkable videos. In the two I’m linking here, she explores the Tunisian Simple Stitch for both Right-Handed and Left-Handed Crocheters.

the book title is in red and green. nine swatches primarily in oranges, reds, and yellows are laid out in a 3x3 grid on the white cover.

Kim Guzman of CrochetKim has been working with Tunisian Crochet for years. I’ve been able to borrow her book, Tunisian crochet stitch guide, from my public library. Published in 2013 it shows basic stitches, colorwork, and lace. While it may look dated when compared to publications from the past few years it is a useful book!

model wearing tunisian crochet wrap of light blue, grey, orange, and teal wrapped around their body. the title of the book is super imposed in white text.

If you’re looking for a more modern guide, Toni Lipsey’s 2021 title, The Tunisian crochet handbook: a beginner’s guide is lovely. It’s available from Hoopla if your library subscribes to that service or through a local bookstore or your yarn shop. It guides you through the basic essentials and includes 20 modern looking projects. The page layout makes it easy to skim or read closely. The swatch and tutorial photographs are clear and bright. Tutorial steps match the photos and I know I almost expected them to move they felt so right as I worked with them. The section “Adding Color” is where I first saw two-toned stripes and fell in love. I think this is a useful title no matter your Tunisian crochet skill level.

the title is above a flat lay of balls of pink yarn, a swatch on a hook, and four other swatches laid out to show different stitch options. the pallet is pink to the top and left and then shifts to yellow, greens, and blue.

Once you have mastered the basics – what other stitches can you make? Yes, it’s possible and fun to play and design your own. My preference is to first comb through a dictionary for inspiration. Some times I’ll create a new combination of stitches and at others I’ll create a new variation based on another stitch. If you love stitch dictionaries like I do, then the Tunisian Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Anna Nikipirowicz will be a useful addition to your shelf. There’s a clear photo of each stitch, it’s charted, and many of the steps are laid out with clear tutorial photos to help you figure out how to work them.

Tools

I’m working on adding more products to the shop, including Tunisian hooks. I struggled to find some when I was swatching for multimesh. Please sign up to my newsletter to be informed when I add them to the shop.

technique tuesday: granny squares (& other motifs)

Happy Granny Square Day! Don’t worry if you didn’t know that was today (15 August); I hadn’t heard about it until earlier this week. May your counting be correct and your ends weave themselves.

Granny squares were the next thing I learned to crochet after perfecting miles of chains. When I was 7, my mother was still working on my baby blanket and I wanted to make the cute little squares too. I made at least one square for the blanket. Unfortunately I can’t find my photos or the blanket (without looking in the attic storage). Please picture granny squares with each round either pastel pink, blue, or yellow and finished in white. I have some vague recollection that she also tasked me with weaving in many of the ends — at the time I thought it was fun!

5 reasons why I love crochet motifs

stack of multicolorful motifs in progress on a black background. in front are 6 centers, the stack includes the first 3 rounds for the "literary fragments blanket"
literary fragment motifs in progress
  1. They use up yarn from other projects.
  2. They are quick, so you can crochet one and feel accomplished.
  3. They are portable, so you can bring them when travelling.
  4. They are forgiving, if you messed up because you were distract, you
    didn’t mess up the entire project.
  5. They are small, nice for when it’s hot and humid outside.

They’re one of my favorite techniques and part of my toolkit when
when I swatch a new-to-me yarn.

a stack of granny squares on a small round grey metal table. the squares are primarily green. a ball of blue/grey/white yarn and a gold color 3.75mm crochet hook are laying next to the stack. the table is outside next to bench and a tree on a sunny day.

In addition to my chaotic chai granny hexagon blanket, I have
several other crochet motif projects I’m working on. One is my Literary Fragments Blanket; we bought new seating for our library room and I wanted a new blanket.
I’ll need approximately 400 of these tiny motifs! They’re worked in
various scrap sock yarns, most from my stash and a few from friends. You
can read my notes on my personal notebook. Another is a blanket
destined for Project Linus. M has gifted me lots of yarn scraps over the
years, many are superwash sock yarns and I still need to figure out how
to turn this into a cohesive blanket.

Granny Square Resources

There are many books and resources to help you create successful crochet motifs.

Edie Eckman published her Granny Square Guide earlier today. I enjoy all of her books including, Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs which I reviewed in 2009
at my personal site, Penguin Girl. I also recommend her book Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs which helped me expand beyond the simple joining I knew from my childhood.

Margaret Hubert’s books are useful resources that I often turn to for inspiration: The Granny Square Book (2011) shares 75 different motifs and Granny Square Flowers (2013) includes 50 botanical themed granny squares.

New-to-me author, Shelley Husband offers several ebooks through my library system via the hoopa ebook system. Granny Square Flair (US Terms Edition) was my gateway to her work. I found her approach novel, motifs are first presented in a
solid – the same color is used throughout. This makes a striking visual. I also appreciate how she shows how different color options can completely change the look of many squares. The photos are clear and she includes charts, written instructions, how approximate yardage to work the square with 8ply/DK/light worsted and a 4mm/G hook. Further she includes an infinity symbol with a crochet hook if it’s a square that can be increased endlessly into a really big granny square.

You can find some of my very brief thoughts on granny squares in this 2014 post technique tuesday: weaving in ends.


Are you working on a granny square project? Track your thoughts in a notebook or print out a planning grid. A spare crochet hook is always useful. If you like me and can never find them when you need one, order a needle to weave in all those pesky ends!

Book Review: The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches

We know that I have a thing for stitch dictionaries. I’m especially fascinated by crochet pattern libraries because I didn’t know they existed for the first decade or so I crocheted. The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches is the book I wish I had when I first started to figure out how to do more than crochet granny squares.

It is a beautiful and clear guide to crochet stitches and useful for both beginner and experienced crocheters alike.

Everyone will appreciate that each stitch includes both written instructions and a chart. The photographs are clear and highlight not only a complete swatch of the stitch, but many of the steps are shown to help you successfully work it.

The book covers a range of stitches, and they are grouped by type of stitch; this allows you to quickly turn to the section you might want. There are basics which include not only the standard stitches but also fans and shells, clusters, puffs, and popcorns. If that weren’t enough there are examples of spikes, raised stitches, waves, chevrons, and textured stitches. I can keep going, there are 200 stitches in all. There are also mesh and filet as well as other lace and open work stitches, you can also explore Tunisian stitches, colour work, and finish off with eleven different edgings! Finally, there is an illustrated tutorial section that shows tips for changing colors, fastening off and weaving in ends, and more.

The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches is a useful one for any crocheters bookshelf.

Book cover: The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches. The background is a tan woven type perhaps paper background. There is a teal ball of yarn in the upper right. 6 swatches are spread on the left showing different stitches.

The Step-by-Step Guide to 200 Crochet Stitches

By Tracey Todhunter

January 2019 | Interweave | 192 pages | ISBN 9781632506573

Notes: The book is published in the UK by Search Press Ltd as 200 More Crochet Stitches. This review was initially published in a slightly different form at NetGalley on 08 April 2019.

Crochet Collection Review – Pineapple Passion by Karen Whooley

The pineapple crochet stitch is the focus of Karen Whooley‘s newest pattern collection, Pineapple Passion. It includes five designs including a top, two shawls, a skirt, and a cardigan.

What is the pineapple stitch? It is one that looks complex yet is a clever combination of double, single, and chain stitches. Traditionally this type of crochet is worked in thread, however Karen has chosen to use modern lightweight lace yarns that create beautifully airy fabric. She also provide guidance for substituting yarn at other gauges.

Every pattern includes both charted stitches and written instructions and where beneficial, a schematic is included. The photographs showcase the designs and also highlight the details. There are subtle book design details that make this a beautiful collection, attention has been made to layout and making the best use of each page.

My work with this collection began a while ago. I crocheted the sample for the skirt, Pineapple Elegance. It is worked top down so you could alter the length and the pineapple edge provides a subtle lace touch. The skirt looks complex, but is straightforward to make! Here’s a tip, this design is worked in the round, however, you turn at the end of each one in order to create the beautiful simple cluster that makes up the body of the skirt. This is clever — no unsightly seam to work later.

Pineapple Passion is a collection that is surprisingly wearable — each item is classic with a modern twist. The pineapple stitch is used in a manner that adds to every design without being ostentatious.

I am smitten with the Cardigan. I’m not sure if I’ll use the suggested yarn (Fibra Natura Whisper Lace, also used in the skirt and a delight to crochet) or swatch with another yarn in my stash.

book cover pineapple passion by karen whooleyPineapple Passion is available digitally and in print (with digital download code).

Learn more at karenwhooley.com

self-care, cashmere edition

Meet the Cashmere Triangle Scarf.

This crochet scarf is worked from the center back out to the tip and uses half-double crochet. It uses 5 skeins of Artyarns Cashmere 1 ply (100% Italian Cashmere).

The resulting fabric is soft and very beautiful, the cashmere is delightful and the lace-weight yarn begs for the crochet hook. I recommend swatching with the yarn you choose to designate as color a and a D/3 (3.25mm) crochet hook. While gauge isn’t critical for this pattern, it will affect fabric characteristics and the amount of yarn used. With a light blocking I created a shawl that is 47″ Wide x 17″ Deep. The crochet pattern includes written instructions and a stitch diagram. While I designed the scarf with stripes to ease the colour transitions, you could disregard that directive and work each colour until you ran out of yarn.

Artyarns Crochet Cashmere Triangle Scarf, shown in Blues

Artyarns Crochet Cashmere Triangle Scarf, shown in Blues

I recognize it is not an inexpensive kit. I’ve watched the hand painting of the yarn. Your purchase helps support a small business.

When you purchase the kit, you also receive the knit pattern, designed by Iris Schreier. For the knitted version, the yarn is held double throughout and knitted in 4.5mm (US 7) needles. It begins at the center bottom point so you only need to cast on 3 stitches. Please choose carefully, each kit includes enough yarn for either the knit or crochet version!

I believe this simple design is a wonderful project to work on during self-care moments. The beautiful cashmere winds up small making it a good project to tuck into your bag.

Yes it is a large investment, but every now and then we need some cashmere comfort. While years ago I would have rather purchased lots of different yarns so I could make many things, I choose differently now. I prefer to thoughtfully create one item in a high quality yarn that I will take care of and cherish. I think it would be a wonderful gift to yourself, winter holidays are coming.

the story of the swatches

Pile of Anzula SwatchesI mentioned a large project a few weeks ago. Now I can share more about it–I’m crocheting swatches to investigate all of Anzula’s yarns. My first post explores For Better or Worsted. I’ll provide a crochet contrast to Jill’s knitting focused posts. It’s a good thing I love fun swatches!

There are many parts I need to keep organized — from the making to the writing. I have my planning grid in addition to spreadsheets, a comprehensive to-do list, and key dates in my calendar. As I was figuring out how to approach this massive project, I decided to work each yarn in the same set of stitches. That allows me to both standardize my task forms and also creates swatches that I can eventually compare and contrast.

The swatches

Anzula Milky Way swatches drying I use the same hook throughout the process for each yarn and create four different swatches (granny square, basic crochet stitches, textured, and net/lace). To provide contrast, I also knit a swatch with both stockinette and garter stitch. Anzula has 21 active yarn lines so that’s a lot of swatches!

As these humble bits of fabric multiply, my writing opportunities expand. I’m not sure all that I will write about, but I plan to explore differences. What happens when all that’s changed is the yarn weight? How do different fibers create fabric that’s very different, even when worked up at the same gauge and stitch? I’ll see if the swatches that include superwash wools stay fair when they fare the unknown innards of my washing machine.

Why?

This project started because I thought it was brilliant, Anzula has a lot of yarn. It can be overwhelming trying to choose one. In addition, I haven’t found a good resource exploring differing yarns and how they crochet. My crochet books speak only of doing a quick “rub test” (not to be confused with the extensive Martindale test though the concept is similar) to test a yarn being appropriate or not for a particular project. I’ve always been in awe of Knitter’s Review and wanted to examine a variety of yarns in a systematic way.

I hope you’ll join me as I meet and become familiar with Anzula’s yarns. If you see a yarn you’d like to work with, ask at your local yarn store! If they don’t carry that particular yarn or colour, it can be special ordered.

Please excuse me, I need to get back to my swatches!
Pile of yarn swatches & text - Meet the Yarn For Better or Worsted, Part 2