Tunisian crochet techniques was the theme of the February meeting of the local Knit and Crochet guild meeting. We had a short talk on the history of Tunisian crochet before learning how to do different stitches with the help of Fiona Mannifield. For those who have not seen it before, Tunisian crochet uses a crochet hook that has a very long handle and no hand grip. The stitches were all formed by picking up a row of stitches onto the hook and then casting them off. The different stitches are made by changing the way the stitches are picked up. It creates a very dense fabric that would be warm but use much more yarn than normal crochet.
I have 3 hooks in my collection, all of which I inherited. All the samples I made with the smallest hook (it appears to be a size 4mm - there is no marking on any of them to let me know) and Shilasdair organic cotton (100% cotton). For each sample I cast on 10 stitches so I could see the change in gauge with the different stitches. I also had an idea that I could use these little squares as eco-friendly cleaner pads. I've made cotton pads before but I go through them so quickly that having a larger supply will be useful.
This first sample is the simple tunisian stitch. This creates a square stitch with a vertical loop. The stitches are apparently square so we saw examples from the guild collection of cushion covers in simple stitch with a cross stitch pattern embroidered onto it. It was the easiest of stitches and probably my favourite.
Then we tried the knit stitch. This gives the appearance of knitting but feels much denser.
The next pattern was the crossed stitch. This was a little more tricky as the hook has to twist round to do the second stitch in each pair but gives a pretty pattern with little crosses between rows.
We then tried a variation on the crossed stitch - the biased crossed stitch. This alternates rows of crossed stitch with a row of 1 simple stitch, crossed stitch to 1 stitch before end and then 1 simple stitch. This gives a diagonal line across the fabric.
Finally I was shown the purl stitch which was a little tricky to get the hang of to begin with as the hook goes into the vertical bar back to front but it does create a purl 'bump' on the fabric and repeating this gives the look of reverse stocking stitch.
Feeling 'hooked' on Tunisian crochet (pun intended) and now rather confident with my new Tunisian crochet skills I then tackled a couple of stitch patterns in a stitch dictionary I own. The first was a Tunisian stitch double which involved making a simple stitch and then doing a double crochet (single if in US) after each stitch was made. This made a slightly less thick fabric that has almost a woven appearance.
Finally I tried the plain Tunisian stitch. This was a very easy stitch and felt more like crochet but it gives lots of vertical bars.
I'm now looking at easy patterns on Ravelry that I might give a try. I've found this Generic Tunisian Crocheted Computer Sleeve that looks quite cool, but does mean I now need to learn to use multiple colours and manage it in the round. Perhaps a bit more practice is needed.