Tunisian Simple Stitch Tutorial

Today I’m bringing to the blog a tutorial for the style of crochet known as Tunisian (also called Afghan) crochet, 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, but one of the most basic is the Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS). The following is a guide to creating this stitch, as well as making increases and decreases in TSS.

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This tutorial is based on my Tunisian Primer, a guide included as part of my Shaman Coat crochet pattern which utilizes Tunisian Simple Stitch! Tunisian might seem kind of daunting if you’ve never tried it, but it is one of my all-time favorite crochet styles and I really encourage you to try it if you never have 🙂

Tunisian Simple Stitch Tutorial:

The hold:

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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.

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.

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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.

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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).

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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 TSS crochet begins this way. Don’t forget it!

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YO and draw through TWO loops. Repeat yarning over and drawing through TWO loops until you reach the end of the row.

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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.

To begin the next row, insert your hook under the second vertical bar on the previous row. You will NOT be inserting it into the very first vertical bar (the one on the edge) because you already have your first loop on the hook leftover from the last row, right? Right.

Your hook should enter under the stitch from the front and emerge from the front, as shown in the picture.

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YO and draw the loop through the bar. In the Shaman Coat pattern this is referred to as “picking up a lp” and a single vertical bar represents one Tunisian simple stitch.

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Repeat across the rest of the row, picking up one loop from each stitch.

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YO and draw through ONE loop. (YO and draw through TWO loops) rpt across the entire row. In the Shaman Coat pattern, the instructions for the entire return pass read “Work all sts off the hook” since the return pass is the worked the same way for every row.

Note: Tunisian crochet has a right side and a wrong side – the right side with the vertical bars will be facing you while you work TSS – tunisian pieces are not turned while working like regular crochet. 

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Two completed rows of TSS

Increasing:

Increasing in TSS 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 vertical bars (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 manner.

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The picture above shows the increase highlighted after the forward pass is completed.

Decreasing:

Like increases, decreases in TSS are worked on the forward pass only.

To decrease, insert your hook under TWO adjacent sts (the vertical bars) at once. 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 and worked back off in the same manner on the return pass.

You might notice that your little Tunisian swatch or piece wants to curl – this is totally normal for this type of stitch and can be overcome with blocking.

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The picture above shows the decreased sts highlighted after the forward pass is completed. You can decrease across more than two stitch at once – for instance, the Shaman Coat hood uses a double decrease that inserts the hook through three stitches at once and draws up one loop.

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. TSS in particular creates a really pretty woven texture on the surface of the fabric. Here are some things I’ve created with Tunisian Simple Stitch:

 

The Shaman Coat

Crochet Washcloth 1

The Best Crochet Washcloth

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The Trickster Hood

Interested in more Tunisian crochet? Check out the FREE scarf pattern I created using Tunisian Knit Stitch, another basic Tunisian style.

Thanks for visiting, more to come!

-MF

 

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Post Stitch Ribbing Tutorial

I LOVE post stitches. Whether in the context of ribbing, overlay crochet,  or the ever-popular crocodile stitch, I think post stitching is one of the most versatile and useful tricks in the crocheter’s arsenal.

Post stitching can create a number of looks that are completely unique to crochet, but I often rely on the simple alternation of front post double crochet (fpdc) and back post double crochet (bpdc) to make ribbing on my pieces. This fpdc/bpdc rib mimics the look of knit, but it also lends some handy characteristics to the fabric – an elasticity and a squishy density you won’t get with regular crochet!

PostStitchPinstructional1 Just like knit, fpdc/bpdc ribbing is great for the ends of sweater sleeves, boot toppers, the brims of hats, or anywhere you want a great combination of texture and stretchiness. I’m a fan of doing whole pieces with post stitch rib in bulky yarn just for the squishy joy of it.

Toboggans

SQUISHY JOY. These are hats made from my Gnome Toboggan design, a post stitch beanie with a pointy poofball profile.

Here’s a tutorial for fpdc/bpdc rib – earlier versions of this tutorial have appeared in a number of my paid patterns, but I swiped the pictures for this particular tutorial from the Boho Fringe Poncho pattern, since the bulky yarn makes things a little easier to see.

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Front Post Double Crochet / Back Post Double Crochet Tutorial

As the name suggest, this stitch is worked into the “post” of the stitch below, rather than into the top loops.

To start, you’ll need an even number of stitches (divisible by 2) on whatever it is you are adding the ribbed edge to. You can do this with any size yarn or hook.

Create 1 row/rnd of traditional double crochet, made the through the top loops of the stitches below as normal. Do not count the beginning chain as your first stitch. If you are adding ribbing onto a row/rnd that is already regular double crochet, you can skip this step.

Ch 2 or 3 to start the next row/rnd. This beginning chain does not count as your first stitch.

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Normally, ch-3 is the  beginning chain equivalent of a double crochet. I like to chain 2 instead of the traditional 3 because post stitches are a little shorter than regular crochet stitches, so the ch-2 just looks neater to me (but the pictures show the traditional ch-3). 

To begin the first front post double crochet, yarn over once as for traditional dc. Instead of inserting your hook into the top loops of the stitch to be worked, you will insert your hook from the front of the work (on the right side) to the back (the wrong side) beside the next stitch to be worked.

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In the top photo, the “post” of the stitch to be worked is highlighted.

Next, re-emerge the hook from back to front on the other side of the stitch to be worked. Your hook should be positioned across the front of the work, with the post caught over the top of your hook.

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Please forgive the state of my nails 😛 I’ve never been one for manicures.

Yarn over and draw a loop up from under the post of the stitch that you had on the hook. You will now have 2 loops on the hook – your second loop will be wrapped around the post.

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Yarn over and draw through 2 loops on the hook. Yarn over once more and draw through the last 2 loops on the hook, completing one front post double crochet.

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Easy, right? Good news! The back post double is almost exactly the same thing, except, you know, on the back. To continue your ribbing, yarn over.

Insert your hook from the back of the work (the wrong side) to the front of the work (the right side) beside the next stitch to be worked.

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Re-emerge the hook on the back side of the work (the wrong side) on the other side of the stitch being worked. Your hook should be positioned across the back of your work, with the post of the next stitch caught over the top.

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Yarn over and draw up a loop from under the post of the stitch you had on the hook.

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Yarn over and draw through 2 loops on the hook, then YO and draw through 2 loops again, completing the bpdc.

Continue to alternate fpdc and bpdc. I like to do 1 fpdc / 1 bpdc, but you could easily make thicker ribs by alternating 2 fpdc / 2 bpdc or more (but don’t forget this will change the required number of base stitches!)

The front post stitches appear as a raised stitch on the front of the work, while the back post stitches appear raised on the back and only show up as receding lines on the front.

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This fabric is reversible – if you are working in rows and not rounds, when you turn for the next row, the back post double crochets will become the front post double crochets – simply fpdc into each fpdc (the stitches that are now sticking out) and bpdc into each bpdc (the receding stitches).

It takes a few rows/rnds of post stitch rib for the texture to really solidify and get the crisp look and useful stretch – so if yours isn’t looking quite right yet, keep going for a few more!

Of course, post stitches can be worked with any length of crochet stitch – sc, hdc, dc, tr, etc – the smaller your stitches the stiffer your fabric will be, and taller stitches will be looser of course. Here’s some patterns I’ve made using this technique; hope you enjoy!

-MF

(Right to left) Gnome Toboggan – paid, Boho Fringe Poncho – paid, Mini Mandala Tam – paid, Post Stitch Pixie Bonnet – FREE, Leafy Tam – FREE, Woodsman’s Wife Ruana – paid, Steampunk Ruffled Wristers – FREE