Meet Tunisian Crochet (and Prepare to Fall Hard)

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If knitting and crochet had a baby, it’d be Tunisian crochet. And boy would that baby be cute! That’s because this technique, also known as Afghan crochet, combines the best parts of the two styles.

Here’s the deal: The main difference between knitting and crochet is that in knitting you have several stitches open at once, while in crochet you close each stitch before moving on. In Tunisian crochet, however, a whole row of crochet stitches get left open at a time. This hybrid yields a really gorgeous and highly textured fabric. Plus, it’s super fun to do!

First, pick up a special Tunisian crochet hook, which will look like a knitting needle with a crochet hook at the end. Then get started with our step-by-step tutorial below.

How to Tunisian crochet step by step

Like most fiber crafts, Tunisian crochet is super easy (and satisfying!) once you get into the rhythm. The three basic stitches are simple, knit, and purl. The knit stitch is a good place to start. But first, the all-important foundation row...

The foundation row: forward pass

With a Tunisian crochet hook and yarn, make a slip knot and chain as many stitches as you like. Then, instead of working in the front loops of the chain, rotate the chain so the back bumps or back stitches are visible. Insert the hook under the back bump of the second chain from the hook, then yarn over and pull up a loop. Continue this last step until the number of loops on the hook matches the number of chains made.

Here is how it should look:

1. Turn your chain over so you see the bumps on the back.

2. Insert hook into the back bump of the second chain from the hook, and pull up a loop.

3. Continue the previous step until the number of loops on the hook is the same as the initial number of chains made.

The foundation row: return pass

In Tunisian crochet, a forward pass is always followed by a return pass. This is when the loops on the hook are worked off the hook. Always start a return pass with a chain 1 (yarn over and pull through one loop on the hook). Starting the return pass with a chain 1 helps maintain the height of the crochet work, much like starting a traditional crochet row with a chain 1 stitch.Next, work the loops off the hook by starting with a yarn over, then pull through two loops on your hook. Repeat this step (yarn over, pull through two loops) until there is only one loop on the hook. This completes the foundation row.

Here is how it should look:

1. Chain 1.

2. Yarn over, pull through two loops on the hook.

3. Repeat the previous step until there is only one loop on the hook.
4. When there is only one loop left on your hook, move onto the next forward pass.

The knit stitch: forward pass

Begin the forward pass of the knit stitch by identifying the first stitch to work into. The loop on the hook compensates for the first stitch of the forward pass. Instead of working in the stitch farthest to the right, insert the hook between the two vertical bars of the second stitch.

Here's how it should look:

1. Insert your hook between the vertical bars of the second stitch.

2. Yarn over and pull up a loop to complete the stitch.
3. Repeat the previous step (yarn over, pull up a loop) in each stitch across the row until there is only one stitch to go.

Working the last stitch of a forward pass in Tunisian crochet can be a little tricky. To keep it neat, pinch the edge of the work between your thumb and forefinger, rotate the stitch between your fingers toward you, and insert the hook under both loops of the last stitch. Yarn over and pull up a loop to complete the stitch.

The knit stitch: return pass

Complete the return pass of the Tunisian knit stitch the same as explained for the the foundation row: Begin with a chain 1. Yarn over and pull through two loops. Repeat this step (yarn over and pull through two loops) until there is only one loop on the hook.

Repeat the forward pass and return pass of the Tunisian knit stitch to the desired length.

Binding off

Like knitting, Tunisian crochet requires a bind-off row to secure live stitches and produce a neat edge. To do this, insert the hook between the two vertical bars of the next stitch, as in previous steps. But instead of continuing on, you’ll want to yarn over, pull up a loop, then pull through the loop on the hook. This completes a slip stitch, thus securing the live stitch.

Repeat this step (insert hook between two vertical bars, yarn over, pull up a loop and complete a slip stitch) for each stitch until the end of the row. Insert the hook under both loops of the last stitch as in previous steps, but complete a slip stitch here as well. Pull up the loop on the hook, cut the yarn leaving a long tail, and weave all tails into the work.

Here's how it looks:

1. Insert the hook between the two vertical bars of the next knit stitch. Pull up a loop.

2. Pull through the loop on the hook to complete a slip stitch. 
3. Repeat the previous two steps for each Tunisian knit stitch. Insert the hook under the two loops of the last stitch and complete a slip stitch to finish the row. 

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Meet Tunisian Crochet (and Prepare to Fall Hard)