If you look at the categories for this blog and find “Projects – Completed” there are, at the time of writing this, exactly 7 (and one of those is an Almost Finished Object, and some others are skeins of yarn). So an actual finished garment or accessory is a rare thing.
Even more rare is that this took me only 10 days to make! Most projects take me years.
And the firsts? It’s something for me to wear (I’m wearing it now in my study while I type this)! I have made things for me to wear in the past – but they predate this blog by years and are also very rare. The other first is that I’m modelling it:
Now you’re recovered from the shock, here’s a close up of the Tunisian crochet:
I really love the way the basic Tunisian stitch makes the colours of the variegated yarn work. It allows the colours to mesh together in the same way that weaving does, and therefore makes them more complex.
The stitch itself is quite strange. If you look closely at the fabric you’ll find that it’s a knitted fabric with a chain stitch wrapped around each knit stitch. The bars you can see in the picture above are one leg of the knit stitch, the other leg is wrapped within the chain stitch. (So the chain goes both through and round the knit stitch).
On the back of the fabric (not shown here) you’ll see the classic bumps of reverse stocking stitch, but between each pair of rows there bumps from the back of the chain.
Working Tunisian crochet requires a hook that is much larger than you would normally use for knitting or crochet. To work this chunky yarn I used a 10mm hook – even though the ball band recommended a 6mm needle.
I enjoyed working on this. I enjoyed the speed and simplicity of the project. I also love the feel of the finished fabric. I think there will be more Tunisian crochet projects in the future.
The Tunisian Crochet Shawl continues to grow. So far it’s proving to be a fast project. I’m finding time everyday to spend working on it, and the yarn and technique make for quick results. So, I’m already on ball six of eight.
It is being worked in Paton’s Eco Wool Chunky in three different shades. I love the way that the Tunisian Simple Stitch makes the colours work in the yarn. However, I had to laugh when I read the inside of the ball-band:
“… has a unique Home Spun character with a soft and lofty handle.”
Here is the shawl with all the stitches picked up ready for the return row:
I’m now desperate for the hook that goes on the knit-pro cable. However, it hadn’t arrived before I went away for a few days. I don’t know how much more I can crochet without it:
I started tricoting (I may have just made that word up) a scarf last night, and really liked it. This morning I wasn’t so sure. It lacked something, but I liked the way the stitch and yarn worked together. I was also concerned about the number of balls of yarn I have (8) and the likely length of the scarf (very long).
I tried a wider scarf, but still wasn’t struck. However, I liked the look of a shawl in the book I’m using (though there isn’t a pattern for that shawl), so thought I’d try that instead.
I started with five stitches (see notes on casting-on below) and I’m increasing in the same places I would if I was knitting this shawl – increase at each edge and two increases round a centre stitch. The increases are worked on every forward (pick-up) row (including the first one).
Now then. I do have an impending problem:
I don’t know how big I can make this shawl before trying to cram all the stitches onto the needle becomes too difficult. Now I’m a huge fan of circular needles and interchangeable circulars and own a few tricot hooks to which a cord can be added. So I didn’t think I had a problem… but the maximum size of hook that knit-pro do is 8mm. Or at least that’s what I thought – but I’ve just found a supplier who does 10mm and 12mm in the acrylic… so I now have those on order (I wonder when they’ll be shipped).
Hazel’s Tunisian cast-on
To cast on Tunisian crochet the books all say work a chain, and then pick-up stitches along the chain. Not having done much crochet I find I sometimes twist the chain when picking up stitches from it (which I find results in a messy cast-on). However, there is a knitting cast-on that uses just one needle (and it’s a cast-on I use regularly).
Here’s the 10mm tricot hook with a 5.5mm knitting needle held next to it. I found this gave a good size for the initial stitches. The cast-on I’ve used is long-tail cast-on. Once the first row is completed (the reverse or cast-off row completed) the tricot can be pulled to open up the cast-on stitches:
Work can then proceed as normal!