Tunisian Crochet – Beginners Guide

What is Tunisian Crochet?

Tunisian Crochet, also known as Afghan Crochet, is a unique form of crochet that uses a longer hook with a stopper on the end.  It creates a more dense fabric than traditional crochet, but is also slightly less elastic. The Tunisian technique is similar to knit in two ways.  The first being the entire project is worked on your hook at once, in a process called casting on. Secondly, the entire project is worked without turning, as you would in traditional crochet.  Tunisian Crochet is worked from right to left (the forward pass), and then back from left to right (the return pass). It can also be worked in the round, in a more advanced technique for more seasoned hookers.

Where Did Tunisian Crochet Originate?

Spoiler! Tunisian Crochet did not originate in Tunisia.  Although no one is quite sure what region the technique originated, it is highly unlikely that it came from the Tunisian area, as crafting with a hook and fibers was forbidden by religion.  The technique seems to have come into popularity in the mid 1800’s, when patterns for the craft began appearing in English magazines, although at that time, it was typically referred to as Afghan Crochet.  Over the years, the popularity of the technique has risen and fallen multiple times. It is more recently coming back into favor, partially thanks to the availability of information on the internet.

What Can You Make With Tunisian Crochet?

Anything that you can make with traditional crochet can also be made with Tunisian Crochet.  There are different stitch options, with a different look and feel from traditional crochet. The only thing that limits you is your imagination.

Being that this technique makes a heavier fabric, it is great for winter items, such as blankets, scarves and hats.  Washcloths and purses would also be good projects for this type of crochet. The fabric does tend to curl, so blocking may be necessary to sew pieces together, if that is something your project requires.

Tunisian Crochet Hooks

Tunisian Crochet Hooks

Tunisian Crochet hooks are longer hooks, with a stopper on the end.  Typically they are around 14” long. There are hooks available for longer projects. These hooks come with a flexible extension (string or plastic rope) and a stopper on the end.

The stopper keeps the project on the hook, preventing it from falling off and becoming tangled as you’re working your forward and reverse passes.  It isn’t necessary to worry about your hook being the exact width of your project, your stitches can bunch up on the hook without causing issues

It is typically recommended to use a hook a size or two bigger than your yarn calls for when using the using this technique.  This is because the tension caused by the way the stitches are formed. Tunisian Crochet tends to have a greater tension than traditional crochet, and has a tendency to curl.  If your project is doing this, rest assured that you aren’t doing anything wrong. It is simply the “nature of the beast.” Using a larger hook can help relieve some of the tension in the fabric and lessen the amount of curl in your project.  You can also block your project to help with the curl.  

Tunisian Crochet Stitches

As in traditional crochet, Tunisian Crochet has a wide variety of stitches, that can add texture and depth to every project.  I highly recommend that beginners become familiar with the Tunisian Simple Stitch, also known as the Afghan Stitch, before progressing to the more complicated stitches.  Below is a basic list of popular stitches.  

Tunisian Simple Stitch (Afghan Stitch)
Knit Stitch
Purl Stitch
Honeycomb Stitch
Tunisian Full Stitch

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