When my sister and I were young, we tried our hands at all kinds of crafts. Grama taught us plastic canvas and cross-stitch, Great-grandma Mimmie used iron-on transfer designs to teach us needlework stitches on tea towels, and Mom covered all things related to painting and yarn. At the time, I knew this technique as Afghan hooking, and my sister churned out square after square. Being left-handed made learning more difficult for me along with being limited with the one length of hook.
Tunisian crochet, as I have later learned the technique to be called, has an unclear origin. Many believe it is a descendant of knitting with hooked needles that originated in Egypt. It is thought that the name Tunisian originated in France. The craft itself creates fabric that is similar to both knitting and crochet and is currently growing in popularity with the advent of interchangable hooks with longer cords that allow the user make larger pieces. The basic Tunisian stitch, the one I know, is explained below and takes two passes to complete one row.
Forward pass (left), return pass (right). Don’t forget, I’m left-handed and work from left to right. Photos by Katrina King
Tunisian Simple Stitch
Tunisian Simple Stitch (tss):
Work Forward Pass (FwP) followed by Return Pass (RetP).
Forward Pass (FwP): Loop on hook counts as first stitch, skip first bar at edge of work, *insert hook from right to left behind next front vertical bar, yarn over and pull up loop, leave loop on hook; repeat from * to last vertical bar at edge, pick up front and back loops of last bar to create firm edge.
Return Pass (RetP): Yarn over and draw through first loop on hook, *yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook; repeat from * to end, ending with 1 loop on hook.
Revisited, the back page project in the Winter 2023 issue
This stitch results in a smooth front face and bumpy back face that looks like the purl side of stockinette knitting. Now with a longer hook and access to more stitches, this skill will join the other crafts in my tool bag.
Ready to try your hand at Tunisian crochet? Find this pattern in the Winter 2023 issue of PieceWork.
Also, remember that if you are an active subscriber to PieceWork magazine, you have unlimited access to previous issues, including Winter 2023. See our help center for the step-by-step process on how to access them.
Katrina King is the assistant editor of PieceWork and a continuing student of craft and life.