What Is Tunisian Crochet?

Angie Bates

Also called an Afghan stitch, Tunisian crochet is sometimes considered a hybrid of knitting and crocheting. Using a specialized Tunisian crochet hook and working with many loops on the hook, Tunisian crochet produces a unique woven appearance. Tunisian crochet can be used to make a variety of crafts, including blankets, shawls, and sweaters.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Crocheting is a craft which uses a hook to make loops and knots with yarn. Crochet hooks come in different sizes and are usually made of metal or plastic. They consist of a simple straight rod with a hook at one end. Since most types of crochet only require a few stitches on the hook at a time, crochet hooks are normally rather short. A Tunisian crochet hook, however, is more the length of a knitting needle and has a stopper similar to a knitting needle on the non-hook end.

Tunisian crochet hooks need to be long because, unlike most other forms of crochet, Tunisian crochet works all the loops of a row onto the needle. In this way, it is similar to knitting, which always has all loops, or stitches, cast on the needle. Unlike knitting however, each row in Tunisian crochet is completed when all the loops have been worked onto and then off of the hook.

Always starting with a single loop on the hook, loops are slipped onto the hook until each loop in a given row is on the hook. Loops are then worked off the hook by yarning over, or moving the free strand of yarn to the front of the piece, around the crochet hook, and pulling the hook through the loop. After the first loop is pulled through, loops are worked off the hook two at a time until only a single loop remains on the hook.

As in other forms of crocheting, a crafter may double crochet in Tunisian crochet as well. Double crocheting is worked the same way as single, except the yarn is chained twice prior to picking up the first loop in the piece. This technique also skips the very first and very last loop in a given row.

Tunisian crochet differs from other forms of crochet because the piece is never turned to start a new row. From start to finish, afghan stitch is always worked from the same side from row to row. This method also contributes to the unique look of the style.

Binding off, or finishing the piece, is similar to other forms of crocheting. Worked much like a slip stitch, binding off requires the crafter to work with one or two stitches, or loops, at a time. Stitches are worked onto the needle as if crocheting normally, but once two stitches are on the hook, the second loop is pulled through the first to leave only one loop on the hook. This process repeats until all stitches are bound.

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