The method produces a beautifully dense, durable fabric that is ideal for blankets and other cold-weather projects.
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Tunisian crochet
Credit: ChiWei at One Dog Woof

From kitting and crocheting to embroidery and sewing, needlework covers a broad spectrum of skills. Once you master the basics, though there are a variety of specialty techniques for you to try. One of our favorites? Tunisian crochet, also known as Afghan crochet. It's ideal for people who crave variety, as there are 400-plus stitches and pattern combinations to be made, depending on your planned project.

"Tunisian crochet is this really satisfying mix of crochet and knitting," says ChiWei Ranck, creator of the blog One Dog Woof. "You are using a single hook, but you're also keeping all the stitches on that hook, similar to knitting. It's a great way to branch out or take a break from your usual projects, and maybe use some different muscles than you're used to."

What Is Tunisian Crochet?

A cross between crocheting and knitting, this style of needlework produces a waffle-like fabric and a trim border. The edge of the fabric makes a series of "V" formations (similar to traditional crochet stitches), which is helpful when joining fabric strips together and adding borders. The trim border gives the final product a fuss-free, polished finish.

When to Use Tunisian Crochet

Due to its denseness, Tunisian crochet is ideal for afghans and other cold-weather crafts. It's also sturdy enough for durable projects—think blankets, dish towels, and washcloths. "I think Tunisian crochet works best for projects where you want a close stitch to create a consistent, subtly textured fabric," Ranck says. "The Tunisian simple stitch reminds me of woven fabric, so it's great for blankets, shawls, and other instances where you might want a clean, woven look."

Necessary Tools for Tunisian Crochet

This specialty technique only requires one tool: a Tunisian crochet hook, which is a mix between a classic crochet hook and a straight knitting needle. It's longer in length than a classic hook, measuring between 10 to 14 inches long. The tool is smooth from the shaft down to its knob on the end, which prevents stitches from falling off.

How to Find the Right Hook for Your Project

In traditional needlework, it's recommended to use a hook size that corresponds to the weight of your yarn. With that said, many Tunisian crocheters find it easier to use a hook that's one or two sizes above the standard given for a yarn. Try different sizes and styles of hooks to see what works best for you when you're first learning. It's also helpful to keep a few general guidelines in mind:

  • Use singe-ended crochet hooks for beginner projects.
  • Use double-ended hooks when working in the round.
  • Use a hook with a cable for larger projects.

How to Start a Tunisian Crochet Project

In traditional crochet, a stitch is worked one at a time. At the end of a row, you turn your work, make a series of chains, and continue the pattern down the next row.

Forward and Return Passes

This workflow is different, however, in Tunisian crochet: Instead, stitches are worked onto the hook in a forward pass, then worked off the hook in a return pass. If you're right-handed, this is done in a counterclockwise motion, followed by a clockwise motion. Tunisian crochet feels like knitting, as the stitches accumulate onto your hook.

Right Side Faces You

In Tunisian crochet, you will always work with the right side facing you. This means that, unlike in knitting or crochet, you will never turn your work.

Start Slow 

"As you would when learning any new skill, take your time and be easy on yourself," says Ranck. "Start by learning the Tunisian simple stitch with a single color and a larger hook so you can see your progress faster." She also says to start with one stitch at a time.

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