Have you ever seen those crazy hybrids of knitting needles and crochet hooks? They're as long as knitting needles, but the ends look like crochet hooks and some even have a little knob on one end. Those weird little things are actually Tunisian crochet hooks. So, what is Tunisian crochet?
If knit and crochet had a baby, it would be named Tunisian crochet.
You might also hear some crafters refer to it as afghan crochet. Before I knew what Tunisian crochet looked like, I would see it occasionally and wonder, "Is that knitting or crochet? And how did they get it to look like that?" Years later, someone in my stitch group showed up wielding one of those crazy hooks and the mystery was solved.
Photo via Craftsy instructor Jennifer Hansen
How is it different from knitting and crochet?
Tunisian crochet starts with chain stitches like the crochet you're familiar with, but then it takes on its own persona that's somewhere between knitting and crochet.
You'll work back and forth with Tunisian crochet, never actually turning the work as you would with knitting or crochet. Each row in Tunisian crochet has two steps: the forward and the return. The forward is similar to what we call casting on in knitting, while the return is similar to casting off. The difference? Casting off in Tunisian crochet doesn't mean you're at the end of the project.
Some of the Tunisian crochet stitches, like Tunisian knit stitch and Tunisian purl stitch, even sound similar to types of knitting stitches. The Tunisian knit and purl stitches look similar to the knitting knit and purl stitches, but they're created in completely different ways.
Tunisian crochet looks different from any knitted or crocheted fabric. Sometimes it can actually appear woven. Take a look at this spa cloth made by Craftsy member morijay. You can't get a stitch like that with knitting or crochet.
Incorporating color into Tunisian crochet
One benefit of Tunisian crochet for you color lovers is that you can use a whole palette of color and they weave together in a way they can't with knitting or crochet. If you prefer a crochet intarsia look, that can also be accomplished with Tunisian crochet. I love the colors that Craftsy member tdkshine used on this in-progress Tunisian crochet project seen below.
Creating a color palette is one of my favorite parts about Tunisian crochet. You don't have to limit yourself to just one or two colors. Go nuts! Experiment and see how all the colors look when you combine them.
Once it's worked up into a complete project, Tunisian crochet will look like nothing you've ever seen before in knitting or crochet, but rather a perfect hybrid of both. Just look at Craftsy member Komejan's Tunisian crochet wrap for proof.
If Tunisian crochet sounds like something you'd like to try, check out the Craftsy class Tunisian Crochet: Revolutions in Color and Style with Jennifer Hansen. She'll help you through foundation stitches, choosing colors, and stitches like the ripple stitch.
You might also enjoy our post which gives a bit of info on the history of Tunisian crochet.
Tomorrow on the Craftsy blog, we'll share 8 tips for weaving in those pesky ends!