You've hopped on board the Tunisian crochet bandwagon, and feel like you've got the basics down. But, somehow, pesky problems keep popping up and pushing your projects into the #fail category. Don't get discouraged: It's not just you! Things like bumpy bottoms, loopy left edges and incessant curling are common issues in this craft. Luckily, they're also easy to fix with some expert know-how.
Hack #1: Preventing a bumpy bottom
When it comes to Tunisian crochet, there is nothing worse than a bumpy bottom, which results from a foundation row that is not worked properly.
Mistakes in the foundation row cause there to be extra loops floating on the edge of the work that can easily snag. A messy foundation row can also make it difficult to attach motifs together and makes blocking nearly impossible.
The simple solution lies in where the foundation row loops are pulled. Instead of working into the V of the chain as you do in regular crochet, start the Tunisian crochet foundation row by working into the back bump of the chain.
This is found by rotating the chain 180 degrees and finding the loops that run along the back side. Starting with the second bump from the hook, insert the hook and pull up a loop in each bump along the chain. Working the foundation row this way creates the neat bottom edge Tunisian crochet is known for (and, honestly, you can use this trick in your regular crochet, too).
Hack #2: Avoiding loopy left edges
Similar to the bumpy bottom, the loopy left edge is a result of a series of stitches being worked incorrectly. Leaving the left edge worked improperly produces unsightly large floating loops that might be mistaken for tension errors.
Try this simple fix to get clean edges each time: For the last stitch of the forward pass of any Tunisian crochet stitch, pinch the work between your thumb and forefinger as shown above. Rotate the work toward you so the left edge is showing clearly. Insert the hook under BOTH loops of the last stitch, pull up a loop, then proceed to the return pass as instructed. Working under both loops of the last stitch ensures all stitches are uniform and makes tension a non-issue.
Hack #3: Cure curling once and for all
The biggest frustration almost everyone has when learning Tunisian crochet is the incessant curling.
The top and bottom edges of Tunisian crochet fabric tend to curl inward, and there is little to be done about this while the project is still in progress. The curling is a result of constantly pulling stitches forward as more and more rows are completed.
The first line of defense against curling is choosing the right hook size. A rule of thumb to learn early on is to choose a hook one to two millimeters larger than the yarn’s ball band suggests. For example, if a DK weight, category 3 yarn calls for a 4.0mm crochet hook, try a 5.5mm Tunisian hook to start and see how the tension and gauge feel. Increasing the hook size loosens the tension on individual stitches and helps the yarn relax a little.
When all else fails, blocking a finished piece of Tunisian crochet is the best way to flatten it out. Blocking introduces moisture to the party and helps fibers (especially animal fibers) behave.
The easiest blocking method is spray blocking. To start, spread the project flat onto a blocking board (you can also use a clean foam play mat). Pin the piece into shape using rust proof pins. Spray the piece evenly with warm water. Once the piece is damp, leave it to fully dry. Rest the blocking board under a ceiling fan to speed up the process.