Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tunisian Crochet

If you haven’t yet tried Tunisian Crochet which used to be called Afghan stitch you are missing out on a fun experience. Completely different from either knit or crochet you form the fabric by picking up and then working off all the stitches and the fabric formed has a very interesting pattern and thickness. When I first learned this stitch many years ago I made a wonderful afghan but the only needles available looked like traditional straight knitting needles with a crochet hook end. You only work with one needle. I am one of the people who find working with a long straight needle very tiring for my hand and also a bit difficult if I am sitting next to someone when I travel or (don’t tell!) knit in the movies or a show. The art of Tunisian crochet technique seemed to be lost for many years and now it is having resurgence. Check out the "Sunset Ruana" project on the cover of Interweave Crochet, Winter 2009
The Denise needle company had designed a set of Tunisian needles that attach to their flexible cords and are as comfortable as their needles to work with. I love that they snap together and if you have problems with your hand a simple paper clip slipped into a hole on the needle helps you to snap them together. Once joined they do not become undone. You can also use the needles to pick up your stitches around a neckline or border band or collar of a sweater more easily and then twist off the crochet end and change to a knitting end if your plan is to knit you border.
The other exciting news is that the Denise company has produced a number of u-tube videos, 12 that I see so far including how to do Tunisian crochet, the simple stitch, the twisted simple stitch and the honeycomb stitch as well as condo knitting and several other examples of why using Denise needles makes for a wonderful knit or crochet experience dues to the flexibility and easy of changing needle sizes. Jut to whet your appetite they are offering a free simple pattern to make a free pattern for a little bag worked in Tunisian crochet that might tempt you to give the technique a try. It takes just one skein of chunky yarn, 99-120 yards in 100 grams, plus a Denise hook in Size L/11 or 8 mm