Tunisian Crochet Is a Magical Mashup of Knitting and Crochet

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Tunisian crochet is Instagram famous, and it's about time. Who can resist the stunning, timeless chic of all those textured scarves, sweaters and handbags?

If you've been gawking at Tunisian crocheted everything in stores or online, chances are you're also wondering what's up with the technique. Is it really crochet? Is it knitting? A bit of both?

Tunisian crochet (also called Afghan crochet) uses a special kind of crochet hook to pull up loops that form the stitches. But the fabric created by this technique looks a lot like knitting. In a way, it's a mashup of the two techniques. Here's how:

Tunisian Crochet vs. Knitting vs. Crochet

  • Tunisian crochet starts with chain stitches, like most crochet projects.
  • It's worked with a hook, and the fabric is made by pulling up loops.
  • Tunisian crochet hooks are extra long so that they can hold many stitches.
  • The Tunisian hooks also have a nub or cap on the end to prevent stitches from falling off.
  • In crochet, you only have one live stitch at a time; in Tunisian crochet, you can have many live stitches at once.
  • Some Tunisian stitches — like the Tunisian knit and purl stitches — sound and even look like knitting stitches, but they're completed differently.
  • Tunisian crochet is always worked back and forth, but you never turn the work.
  • Each row in Tunisian crochet has two steps: the forward pass and the return pass.
  • When you look at Tunisian crochet fabric, it doesn't look exactly like crochet or knitting overall; it's its own thing.

So, which side wins, crochet or knitting? Neither and both! Let's move on to why it's definitely worth trying, if you haven't already.

It's All About the Colors

You've got infinite color possibilities to work with in Tunisian crochet. If what you're looking for is more of a crochet intarsia look , you can accomplish that too.

Creating a color palette is one of the best 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.

You Don't Need Special Supplies

You don't need to go out and buy a whole bunch of specialty supplies if you want to try your hand at Tunisian crochet. You can even use a regular crochet hook to create small swatches. When you want to move on to bigger or more complex projects, then you can decide to invest in a specialty Tunisian crochet hook.

Until then, enjoy the adventure — and forget about that is-it-knitting-or-crocheting question. The real answer is: Who cares when it's this much fun?

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Tunisian Crochet Is a Magical Mashup of Knitting and Crochet