Kaila and I have been collectively crocheting for about half a decade, and while both of us had tried the Tunisian simple stitch before, neither of us have spent a great deal of time working in this style. Then about 9 months ago, I picked up a booklet by Kim Guzman containing 61 Tunisian stitch patterns. Intrigued though I was, I was still too intimidated to dive into the book and start learning the stitches. Then Kaila sent me a link to a CAL for a Tunisian Sampler blanket hosted by Knitter Knotter and I was, pardon the pun, hooked on the idea! While we are behind the CAL schedule, the video tutorials and well written instructions were encouraging, and we decided to jump in! This is one of the best things about a CAL, they provide you with the resources and community to venture out of your comfort zone and try something new!
We decided will be doing two of the stitch samples per week until we are caught up and will be posting our progress on Instagram and tracking our journey through our blog as well. While we will not be posting the patterns or resharing the videos, I have included a link at the end of the article to the CAL. If you have ever been interested in learning Tunisian Crochet, I hope you are encouraged by our journey and decide to give it a go!
Tunisian Crochet: A VERY brief history
I decided to do some research before writing the blog post and found out that there is not a lot known about the origins of Tunisian crochet, in fact, there isn’t even a consensus that this form of crochet was even practiced in Tunisia! I did, however, learn that it goes by many names including: shepherd’s knitting, German work, Russian work, fool’s or idiot’s stitch, crochet knit, Tunis crochet, and railway stitch (https://thecraftacademic.wordpress.com/). The ‘Idiot’s stitch’ is my favorite. It has also supposedly not been as popular as it was in the 1920’s and I sincerely hope that changes, because the fabric created is gorgeous! Even when made by newbies like us!
Weeks 1 and 2: Learning the Tunisian Simple Stitch and the Tunisian Full Stitch
I do think that having a background in crochet certainly helped with learning the stitches and I think we both picked up the technique quickly. I honestly can’t decide which of the stitches I prefer, they are both beautiful. I did find that the stitches create quite a tight fabric and would be very interested in making a coat, once I am trained up a bit! The simple stitch had a slightly more open structure, but there is something so appealing about the bias the full stitch creates.
What Kaila and I both agree on is that the tension is very different. You can see in both of our samples, that we did not achieve perfect squares. In fact, on week 1, I measured ¾ of an inch difference between the width on top compared to the bottom and, while the height was closer, there was still a quarter of an inch difference between the left and right side; more than I’d prefer. Kaila experienced similar results for week 1 and her square measured ¾” wider than it was tall.
Luckily, we both showed improvement by week 2! My height was the same all the way across from left to right, though my width did dip in at the center from 5.75” to 5.5” at the center. Additionally, I was not successful in creating a square as my height was 6.5 and width was 5.75. part of this is due to the hook size I am using, but mostly I just need to improve my tension. Kaila was even more successful and only saw a third of an inch difference between height and width! Though she would like noted that if you look closely at the sides, they are uneven. She even made me include a picture. Don’t let her fool you though, by week 3, she’s going to have this mastered. No joke, she’s a Rockstar!
A quick note about the difference in size you may notice between our samples (mine is gray and pink; Kaila’s the blue). As I have some beautiful Loops and Threads Wellness baby yarn in a Fine (2) weight in silver and apricot, I decided to use it and double strand the colors to approximate the worsted weight recommended for the cal. I also only had one Tunisian Crochet hook size 5.5 and this has meant that my would-be squares are quite a bit smaller than the ones in the CAL. Kaila, who used the correct size hook and yarn, is closer to achieving the 8 x 8 inch square which is the goal.
Goals for Week 3 and 4: Successfully make a square!!
This goal goes for both of us! We are really enjoying the crochet along so far and hope to continue to improve on our tension as the weeks progress.
I have included pictures below for you to be the judge and, if you know a thing or two about Tunisian crochet, we LOVE constructive criticism!! Seriously though, any and all advice will be welcomed, so leave a comment or send us an email at Springintofalldesigns@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Instagram at SpringIntoFallDesigns.
Here is the link to the official CAL page: https://knitterknotter.com/
Thanks for reading and join us next Monday for weeks 3 & 4!