A Guide to Tunisian Crochet

Crochet blanket and needle
Sunnyside Up / Getty Images

Related Topics: Crochet Stitches | Afghan Stitch | Free Tunisian Crochet Patterns | Crochet Techniques

Tunisian Crochet Definition:

Tunisian crochet is a needlework technique that borrows elements from both knitting and crochet, creating sort of a fusion of the two techniques.

Tools Used for Tunisian Crochet:

The tool used to create Tunisian crochet resembles a straight knitting needle, except that it has a hook at one or both ends. This hook is much longer than a typical crochet hook; like a knitting needle, it has to hold a large number of stitches.

How to Hold Tunisian Crochet Work:

Traditional crochet can be worked using either the "knife grip" or the "pencil grip." Tunisian crochet is typically worked using an overhand grip that's much like the knife grip. Click here to see how to hold the hook for Tunisian crochet; the grip is similar to the grip that knitters use to hold their straight needles.

Working Rows in Tunisian Crochet:

Tunisian crochet, like most traditional crochet, begins with a foundation chain.

In traditional crochet, you work a row of stitches, and the row is then complete. At that point, you turn the work and move on to the next row.

Tunisian crochet is different. With Tunisian crochet, each row is a two-step process, and you never have a need to turn the work.

The first part of the process, called the "forward," is similar in some ways to casting on in knitting. When working this part of the row, you draw up a series of loops, which are all held on the hook until you complete the second part.

The second part, called the "return," has similarities to the technique of binding off in knitting. When working the return part of the row, you basically consolidate the loops, one stitch at a time, until only one loop is left on the hook.

The fabric is constructed by completing rows in this manner, alternating between forward and return, until the project is the desired length.

Alternately, Tunisian crochet can be worked in the round.

Tunisian Crochet Stitches:

There is no limit on the variety of different Tunisian crochet stitches that can be created. Possibilities include cables, textured stitches, ribs, laces, and many others. Tunisian crochet can mimic either knitting or weaving. It's an amazingly versatile technique.

For more info, see our free instructions for Tunisian crochet stitches.

Other Names for Tunisian Crochet:

One of the most basic Tunisian crochet stitches is called "afghan stitch," or "Tunisian simple stitch." The 1882 Dictionary of Needlework lists several additional names for this stitch:

  • Tricot stitch
  • Railway stitch
  • Fool's stitch
  • Idiot stitch

These are not the only possible names for the technique, or for that stitch specifically. When speaking, reading, or writing about Tunisian crochet, you might encounter crocheters who use any of the following terms to refer to this technique:

  • Afghan crochet
  • Tricot crochet
  • Crochet knit
  • Tunis crochet
  • Shepherd's knitting *

* Some people refer to Tunisian crochet as "Shepherd's knitting." The same phrase is also sometimes used to refer to Bosnian crochet or pjoning, which are not the same as Tunisian crochet.

Similar Crochet Techniques:

  • Crochet on the double
  • Cro-hooking
  • Crochetnit

Tunisian Crochet Tutorials and Projects

Thanks for Dropping By!

We really appreciate your interest in our articles, patterns and tutorials. You're invited to check out more crochet resources on our website.