Tunisian crochet has come from Africa. This kind of crochet is well known among many needlewomen in our days. The peculiarity of Tunisian crochet is different from the typical way of stitch crochet. All stitches are crocheted in two stages: first, stitches are cast on the hook, and, second, each stitch is crocheted according to the pattern that is to be created.
You always crochet your work from the front. Tunisian crocheting technique is very tight so the crocheted things almost don't stretch. On the one hand, it is very good for those items that are worn and washed very often, because they will not shrink out of their shape. On the other hand, if you want to make a figure-hugging knitted thing, consider this characteristic of Tunisian fabrics and provide the fastener or hidden zipper in advance.
Tools and materials
All you need for crocheting is a special hook, 10”-20” long, with a snaphead end to hold the stitches down on the hook. In today's market, you can find a very handy tool for Tunisian crochet, for example, a hook on the fishing line: this is a hook of usual length on the one side and a knitting needle connected by a flexible fishing line on the other side. The length of the tool is about 20”-40”, so it is suitable for crocheting large items.
Yarn for crocheting should be selected according to the type of handiwork: cotton, linen or silk threads will be good for making summer things, but it's better to take wool or semi-synthetic/ synthetic yarn for crocheting winter things. Always remember that Tunisian crochet is rather tight so you should not take too thick threads.
Basic techniques of crocheting
Before starting to crochet things you need to learn basic techniques . Having mastered them, you will be able to crochet anything that you like.
To get started, you need to cast on a row of chain stitches which must be of the same width as the work itself. This row is called a zero row in your work.
Casting on stitches
The first row and all the following odd rows of your work will be cast on. This means that from right to left we're pulling the thread on the hook out of the previous row stitch.
As a result, we have got the same number of stitches either on your hook or in the previous row.
Don't turn the work over, crochet from the front!
A common Tunisian stitch
This type of stitches is performed in the even rows of crocheting; they always go from left to right. You have the cast on stitches on the hook. Throw a thread over your hook and crochet the first stitch. Next pull the thrown over the hook thread through every two stitches until there will be one stitch left.
A turned Tunisian stitch
In order to get a turned Tunisian stitch you need to enter a hook into the cast on stitch of the previous row from left to right, as if turning the stitch.
A Tunisian purl stitch
A purl Tunisian stitch is a copy of the common purl stitch, knitted by needles. It runs as follows: place the thread over the work, enter the hook inside the stitch of the previous row from right to left, then catch the thread over the work and pull our stitch out. Finally, you have all the row stitches on your hook that are to be crocheted then by a common Tunisian stitch (see above).
A Tunisian knit stitch
Both knit Tunisian stitch and purl stitch completely correspond to the front stitch knitted by needles. You need to slide the hook under the front curve of the previous row stitch from right to left, and then centre the hook into the same stitch under the braid and pull the thread out. After that, crochet the next row by a common Tunisian stitch the same way as you did it with the purl stitch.
A Tunisian chain stitch
A chain stitch is widely used in openwork knitting. Interchanging chain stitches with other type stitches, you can create different patterns. In order to get such stitch, throw a thread on the hook, make a layout and crochet a common chain stitch in the next row.
A Tunisian cross stitch
To make a cross stitch you must first enter your hook into the second stitch and pull the thread throughout, then enter the hook into the first stitch and pull the thread throughout too. As a result, the stitches will interknit crosswise.
You can also make a cross double crochet stitch. Throw a working thread on the hook and enter it under the second stitch of the previous row, then pull the thread through all the following and repeat the same with the first stitch of the previous row.
In the next article on basic techniques of Tunisian crochet we shall introduce other stitches which are widely used in this type of needlework.