Learn how to Tunisian crochet and open up a whole new world of crochet techniques, stitches and patterns, that look completely unlike regular crochet!
Read on to learn how to Tunisian crochet step-by-step.
Brand new to Tunisian crochet?
You may have heard mention of Tunisian crochet, but you have no idea where to start. Someone said something about needing a special hook, and you thought, “no thanks, I don’t need any more tools!” Or, it may be that you are completely new to the technique. No problem!
While learning a new crochet technique might seem daunting at first, I promise that learning how to Tunisian crochet really is not difficult. There are a few basics that you need to get your head around and after that it is exactly the same process as learning any new crochet stitch.
What is Tunisian crochet?
Tunisian crochet is somewhat of a hybrid between crochet and knitting. If you are a knitter, you’ll definitely recognise some knitting terminology – casting on and binding off for example. And as the name implies, Tunisian crochet requires a hook, but not quite what you are used to with regular crochet!
Tunisian crochet produces a dense and textured fabric. As with any yarn craft, you have a lot of control over the thickness and drape of your fabric, depending on the hook and yarn that you choose.
How to Tunisian crochet: the basics
Before you get started on your first Tunisian crochet project, there are few things to cover that may be new to you:
- Tunisian crochet hooks
- Casting on
- Forward Pass (FwP) and Return Pass (RetP)
And once we’ve covered the basics, we’ll get crocheting with a step-by-step Tunisian Simple Stitch (Tss) tutorial.
Photo & Video Tutorial
Read on to find cover all the basics of Tunisian crochet, as well as a step-by-step photo tutorial for the Tunisian Simple Stitch (Tss).
Or, you can view this video on how to Tunisian crochet for beginners right here:
1. Tunisian crochet hooks
Do I need a special Tunisian crochet hook?
No, you absolutely don’t need a special hook to get started with Tunisian crochet. If you are starting with a small project, chances are your regular crochet hook will do just fine.
With regular crochet, you always end up with one loop on your hook after completing a stitch. However, with Tunisian crochet, you actually keep the loops on your hook as you work across a row (more on this later).
So, the number of loops on your hook determines the width of your project. And this is why you may need a special Tunisian crochet hook (with or without a cable) as you work on larger projects.
Tunisian crochet hooks with cables vs fixed-length hooks
The most economical option for beginners is probably to buy an interchangeable Tunisian hook with a cord and stopper. While you can get fixed length hooks without a cable, these can only hold a certain number of stitches, and may not be useful depending on how wide your Tunisian project will be.
And another pro of using an interchangeable hook is that you can use it for regular crochet projects too!
Other good options in terms of Tunisian crochet hooks with cables are the Clover Interchangeable Tunisian Hook Set, or this Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable Hook Set, both of which are slightly more affordable than the Addi one.
Tunisian crochet hook sizes
One last thing to note about Tunisian crochet hooks, is that you will usually want to go up a size or two from the recommended hook size for your yarn.
As mentioned above, Tunisian crochet fabric is quite dense. The main reason for this is that, unlike regular crochet where you work into the top of the previous row, with Tunisian crochet you work into the body of the previous row. So, to keep your work flat, and to give it some drape, you will need to use a larger hook than you usually would.
For example, my swatch in the tutorial below, I used Lion Brand Heartland, which is a #4/Medium/Worsted weight yarn. For this yarn, the recommended hook size is 6mm/J-10, but for Tunisian crochet I used an 8mm/L-11 hook.
Crochet Kim has a very in-depth article on how the best Tunisian crochet hooks, and how to choose your hook.
2. Casting On
Similar to knitting, a Tunisian crochet project starts with “casting on” a number of stitches – these stitches will determine the width of your project.
Unlike regular crochet, where you turn at the end of a row, with Tunisian crochet you will always work with the “right side” facing. You will “cast on” from right-to-left, and to complete a row, you will “cast off” from left-to-right.
All Tunisian crochet projects start with this same “cast on” method, and the same foundation row, regardless of the stitch you use next.
This brings us nicely to…
3. Forward Pass and Return Pass
There are two steps to a Tunisian crochet row:
- The first is the Forward Pass (usually abbreviated as FwP). In this step, you pick up loops along the row (from right-to-left).
- When you reach the end of the row, you will work a Return Pass (abbreviated as RetP), from left-to-right.
In regular crochet, we talk in terms of working into the “top” of a stitch. In Tunisian crochet, we talk about working into “vertical bars.” So, to crochet the Tunisian Simple Stitch for example, insert your hook from right-to-left, through the vertical bar of the previous row. And instead of finishing off the stitch by pulling all the way through, you keep the loop on your hook.
In most Tunisian crochet patterns, the instructions given are for the Forward Pass e.g. Tss 10 means “work 10 Tunisian simple stitches.” The instruction for the Return Pass may be given, or it may be omitted completely (but it is taken as a given that you will work a RetP to completed a row).
And now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get crocheting!
- Yarn: any! I used Lion Brand Heartland, which is a #4/Medium/Worsted weight yarn.
- Hook: any hook that is appropriate for your chosen yarn. (With Tunisian crochet, you generally want to go up a couple of sizes from the recommended hook size.)
- For my swatch, I used an 8mm/L-11 hook (the recommended hook for my yarn is 6mm/J-10).
Step 1: Work Forward Pass (FwP) of Foundation Row
- Ch 11.
- Flip chain over so that you are looking at the back bumps.
- Insert hook into back bump of second ch from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop. [2 loops on hook]
- Continue to work across, pulling up a loop in the back bump of each ch. [11 loops on hook]
Step 2: Work Return Pass (RetP) of Foundation Row
- Yarn over and pull through first loop on hook. [11 loops on hook]
- Yarn over and pull through 2 loops. [10 loops on hook]
- Continue to yarn over and pull through 2 loops until only 1 loop remains on hook. RetP done.
Step 3: Work FwP of Row 2
- Look closely at your foundation row and find the second vertical bar. Insert hook from right to left through this second bar.
- Yarn over and pull up a loop.
- First Tss made. [2 loops on hook]
- Insert hook through next vertical bar, yarn over and pull up a loop. [3 loops on hook]
- Continue to work from right-to-left, inserting hook through each vertical bar and pulling up a loop. Stop when you have 10 loops on hook.
Step 4: Work End Stitch of Row 2
- Insert hook through the middle of the final vertical bar AND the loop directly behind it.
- Yarn over and pull through.
- End stitch made. [11 loops on hook]
Step 5: Work RetP of Row 2
Work RetP as per Step 2.
Step 6: Repeat Row 2
Repeat Row 2 until you have 8 rows in total (or until you are comfortable with the Tunisian Simple Stitch).
Step 7: Work Bind-off Row
- Insert hook into second vertical bar.
- Yarn over and pull through two loops. [1 loop on hook]
- Insert hook into next vertical bar, yarn over and pull through two loops. [1 loop on hook]
- Repeat sl st bind off across. Cut yarn and fasten off.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial!
I love seeing all of your projects; be sure to tag me on Instagram (you can find me here: @nedandmimi), and use #nedandmimi to show off your Tunisian crochet 🙂