A few days ago I released the Tunisian Simple Stitch Tutorial, mostly from material I had already compiled for my Shaman Coat pattern, which utilizes that stitch. Well, that post was a pre-game for what I have to offer today, which is the Tunisian Knit Stitch Tutorial.
Tunisian (also called Afghan) crochet is a method that uses a long hook to keep multiple stitch loops on the hook before working them back off to complete them. There are many different Tunisian stitches – here is how to work the Tunisian Knit Stitch (TKS) which makes a fabric that looks very much like knitting. This tutorial covers the basics of working TKS, as well as working increases and decreases in this stitch.
The sudden outburst of Tunisian tutelage is inspired by an upcoming design of mine featuring Tunisian knit stitch, but also by the fact that I just really love Tunisian crochet, and I hope to encourage others to love it too. I promise it’s worth it!
UPDATE 8/2020: There is now a growing YouTube playlist full of Tunisian crochet tutorials from yours truly over on the Morale Fiber channel!
Tunisian Knit Stitch Tutorial
Working Tunisian crochet may require a different hold than regular crochet – here’s an example of how I hold mine. The hand holding my live yarn remains the same, while my Tunisian hook is grasped almost like a knife, with the index finger controlling the loops on the hook. This is just how I do it – do what is comfortable and works for you!
In addition, Tunisian crochet requires a Tunisian (also sometimes called Afghan) hook, which is an specialty hook that is extra long with a stopper on the end.
Starting, Forward Pass, and Return Pass (RP)
To begin a Tunisian piece, chain the number of sts the pattern requires. This is your foundation for the following rows.
To begin the first row, insert your hook into the single loop on the underside of the 2nd ch from the hook. Yarn over (YO) and draw up a loop. Notice that before you do this, you already have one loop on your hook. This first loop counts as the first stitch and so you do not work into the first chain from the hook, but the second.
Continue to draw up a loop from the back of ea ch stitch until you reach the end of the row. The action of drawing up a loop from each stitch in a Tunisian row is referred to as the Forward Pass, and counts as half of a row. (A single Tunisian row is composed of a Forward Pass and a Return Pass).
Now that you’ve got all your loops on the hook, it’s time to work them back off with the Return Pass.
YO and draw through ONE loop. Every Return Pass in TKS crochet begins this way. Don’t forget it! All the other loops are worked off in two’s.
YO and draw through TWO loops. Repeat yarning over and drawing through TWO loops until you reach the end of the row.
At the end of the Return Pass, you will have one loop left on your hook. This loop counts as the first loop on the hook for the Forward Pass of the NEXT row.
The instructions for the first row in Tunisian knit stitch is the same for the first row in Tunisian simple stitch, because you need one row of TSS to set up for the following rounds of knit stitch.
To begin the row of TKS, insert the hk through the center of the next stitch – between the two sides of the loop from the row below, and under the chain made by the return pass. Emerge the hook on the back side of the work.
Yarn over and draw up a loop. Repeat across the row.
The stitches should look like knit stitches, hence the name.
The return pass is worked the same as with TSS. To begin the return pass, YO and draw through ONE loop.
YO and draw through TWO loops. Repeat across the row.
Increasing in TKS is done ONLY on the forward pass, with the return pass worked in the same manner as usual, but with one more stitch to work off the hook.
To increase, insert your hook in the space between two stitches (with the hook entering through the front and emerging at the back) and draw up a loop. This counts as one increase and the loop is kept on the hook the same as the rest of the stitches and worked back off in the same way.
Here’s the completed forward pass with the increase stitch highlighted.
Like increases, decreases in TKS are worked in the forward pass only.
To decrease, insert your hook through the middle of two adjacent stitches, with the hook emerging at the back as normal. YO and draw up a single loop. This counts as a single decrease and the loop is kept on the hook the same as the other sts.
The two stitches being worked through at once are highlighted here:
Work the rest of the row onto the hook.
Below is the completed forward pass, with the decrease stitch highlighted.
Work the return pass as normal.
You might notice that your little Tunisian swatch or piece wants to curl – this is normal for Tunisian and can be overcome with blocking.
I hope this tutorial has been helpful and that you are inspired to try Tunisian crochet! As I mentioned, it’s one of my favorite techniques. The fabric made by Tunisian crochet is warm, more tightly woven than regular crochet, and has a lovely texture. Also, TKS mimics knit stitches more convincingly than any other crochet stitch I know of.
I currently only have one pattern – the Tunisian ripple scarf – available in this stitch, but it’s a FREE one and there’s some video of me using TKS too. If you’d like more patterns, slam that follow button on my blog my friend! I have more coming.
Thanks for visiting 🙂
I’ve heard that you can do a row of Tunisian Purl stitch on the second row before starting your Knit stitches and it very much helps with the curl. What are your thoughts on this? By the way, the new pattern is DA’ BOMB!!! Gonna make mine for next winter!! Love it and all your work!!
I think I have seen this mentioned before but I had not thought about trying it out – I will have to give it a whirl! Awesome idea, thanks for mentioning that! 😀 😀 😀
You very welcome please let me know how it turns out.
hi would just like to say thanks very much for the free pattern for the elf coat its great really pleased with it im not finished yet just started the back have added two panels one pointy and one simple which im sure makes it a medium and its easy to work out the rest from your hints and help
just a big thanks
is there a way i can leave a pic when its finished ?
Thank you so very much, I’m glad you are enjoying it! I’d love to see a picture, the easiest way to send pics is through messaging my Facebook business page here:
well ive only got the hood to do know really excited xx
ive blocked the points and there still curling is it best to just leave or steam them with the iron dont want to ruin after all this lol
That’s so exciting! If you used an acrylic yarn, I would not recommend ironing unless you research steam iron blocking first, as the high heat can “kill” the acrylic and change the texture. You could also try blocking one more time, although 100% acrylic yarns do not respond as much to this technique and you might be as good as you’re going to get for that! lol. Some of that curl will relax in time though, with wear.
OK many thanks will probably just leave alone although i will try blooking the points once more , ill see what its like when its on first as may not be as bad as i think
again many thanks
Hi Regina, Heidi again. I am trying to figure this out… is there supposed to be a ridge after each row on the back? If not, what am I doing wrong? Thanks.
Hi Heidi! Yes, there will be ridges on the back side of the Tunisian piece – it looks a lot like garter stitch in knitting. I’ll try to remember to add a photo of the back side of this swatch as an example, but you can always google it too 🙂
Fantastically clear explanation. Thank you!
You’re so welcome! 🙂
Feb 20, 2022. You have great instructions and detailed many concerns regarding the Elf Coat pattern. Please, please show how to Decrease at the End And Beginning of rows. The Tutorial shows the dec in the Middle of the piece.
Crocheting my way through!
Hi and thank you Tori! The decrease is going to be worked the same no matter where it occurs in the garment – I am pretty sure I didn’t leave any decreases in the pattern to be occuring at the very end of the garment – they should all occur at least one stitch inward from the edge if I’m not totally mistaken?