You've been getting to know Tunisian crochet and you're starting to fall hard, but you're not quite ready to commit. You need a little more time before you can be sure, though things definitely look promising.
You may be relieved to know that before you invest in a Tunisian crochet hook, you can practice the basics of the technique with your regular crochet hooks. The only downside is that you can only work very small projects without the special hook.
That said, you can't use just any regular crochet hook: You need one with a narrow shaft and no wide thumb grip. You need to hold loops of yarn on the hook, so you want it to be the same size from hook to tip.
Ready to try Tunisian crochet on a regular hook? A good place to start is with Tunisian entrelac crochet .
Once you get a better sense of the technique and decide it's the one for you, you'll need a Tunisian crochet hook — that's about it. We'll walk you through what to look for, so you're ready when the time is right.
Buying a Tunisian Crochet Hook
Ultimately, it's best to try different types of Tunisian crochet hooks to see what works best for you. Keep these tips in mind.
Classic single-head Tunisian crochet hooks come in many different sizes. On average, they're between 10 and 14 inches.
Beginners sometimes find shorter hooks easier to work with. But your projects can only be as wide as the number of loops your hook can hold. If you want to make larger crochet projects, aim for the 14-inch length or larger.
As with regular crochet, you'll use a hook size that corresponds to the weight of your yarn.
Particularly in Tunisian crochet, many crocheters find it easier to use a hook that's one or two sizes above the standard given for a yarn. For example, you'd typically use a G hook for worsted weight yarn, but in Tunisian crochet, you might try a size H or I with that same yarn.
Your best bet as a beginner is to a buy a set of Tunisian hooks that vary in size, and play around with them to see what works for you.
There are a number of different types of Tunisian crochet hook to choose from.
1. Hooks with one head These make helpful starter hooks for anyone who is just learning Tunisian crochet. They look almost exactly like classic crochet hooks, except they're a lot longer so they can hold many hoops and give you more room to work.
They also have a kind of knob on the end of the tool, opposite the hook, to prevent your loops from falling off.
2. Flexible hooks If you plan to work large crochet projects in rows, you might want to try "flex hooks." These are just like Tunisian crochet hooks, but they have a flexible cable at the end opposite the hook, typically ending in some kind of knob.
The flexible cable lets you hold tons more loops, to create super-wide Tunisian crochet projects like blankets.
Cables come in handy because loops can rest on them, making the hook easier to maneuver. The longer the Tunisian crochet hook, the tougher it can be on the hands as you're working. With flex hooks, you still get the length without a long, difficult-to-use hook.
3. Hooks with two heads
Some Tunisian crochet hooks have a hook head on either end. This type of hook is most often used when working Tunisian crochet in the round, but can also be helpful for color work.
You may notice that on some hooks, the two heads point in the same direction, while on others they point in different directions. There's no "right" way, so try both to see what you like best.
4. Circular hooks A circular Tunisian crochet hook (also called a hook set with cables) is an alternative to the double-headed hook. The tool is made up of two single-head crochet hooks connected at the base with a flexible cable.
This essentially serves as a double-headed crochet hook. The cable in the center can hold long lengths of loops when you're working on large crochet projects.
Tip: You can get interchangeable crochet hook systems, which allow you to swap out different cable lengths with the various sizes of crochet hook heads.
Getting the Hang of Your Hooks
Tunisian crochet hooks can take some getting used to. It's best to practice a lot with basic Tunisian crochet stitches (like the Tunisian simple stitch) before going on to stitches that are harder to manipulate (such as the Tunisian purl stitch).
Choosing Your Yarn
Tunisian crochet tends to have less drape and a denser structure than regular crochet (particularly with the Tunisian knit stitch). If you want to create a project with more drape, work with a lightweight yarn. It's always to choose your yarn with a specific project in mind.
Putting Your Regular Crochet Supplies to Work
Other than the new hooks, you won't have to buy anything extra for Tunisian crochet. You can use the supplies you already have, including stitch markers, a tapestry needle, a row counter and a tape measure.
If you already crochet and are just starting on the Tunisian method, think of it as getting two techniques for the price of one, supplies-wise. And if you end up dropping Tunisian crochet (you won't!), you won't have all those abandoned supplies staring at you. It's a win-win!
Images via Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence