Guide to the Tunisian Knit Stitch

Is It Knitting or Crochet?

Michael Solovay

Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Don't let the name fool you. The Tunisian knit stitch isn't actually knitted; it's actually a crochet stitch. It's only called a knit stitch because it looks like stockinette stitch (also known as a stocking stitch) in knitting. This tutorial will teach you how to work the Tunisian knit stitch, which is a handy stitch to know if you'd like your crochet work to resemble knitting.

If you aren't already experienced with Tunisian crochet, you may wish to learn more about Tunisian hooks and how to hold a Tunisian crochet hook. They look like a crochet hook on one end and a knitting needle on the other. This is necessary for the process of Tunisian crochet. Each row consists of two halves, or passes. The forward pass adds loops to your hook, and the return pass takes them off again.

Once you've learned the Tunisian knit stitch, be sure to check out a couple of fun projects you can use for practicing it. The Tunisian knit stitch is a fantastic stitch for using all those beautiful, eye-catching variegated yarns that are available.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • US K/10.5 (6.5 mm) Tunisian crochet hook

Materials

  • 20 to 30 yard worsted weight yarn in light or bright color

Instructions

  1. Foundation Row, Forward Pass

    Chain stitches have three loops, two in front and one in the back. You could work into either one of the loops on the front side (View A), or into the back loop (Views D, E). View B and C illustrate working into the top loop on front of the starting chain; Views F and G illustrate working into the back of the starting chain. In this tutorial you will be working into the back loop of the starting chain. Doing so rolls the front loops to the front of the work (View H), providing two loops you can work into later to add an edging or other embellishment.

    Make a starting chain of 10-20 stitches.

    Insert your hook into the second chain from your hook and pull up a loop (views C, G); leave this loop on your crochet hook. Insert your hook into the next chain stitch, yarn over, and pull up a loop; leave loop on hook. Continue down the chain: for each stitch, insert the hook, yarn over, pull up a loop, leave the new loop on the hook. At the end there will be 10-20 loops on your hook; do not turn the work.

    View of A through H of how to work into the front and back of a chain.
    Michael Solovay
  2. Foundation Row, Return Pass

    Some people call this "the reverse" or "reverse pass." Some people call this "working off the loops," or you might read instructions telling you to "work off the loops by twos." Others refer to this as "binding off" or "casting off," which is perhaps how a knitter might express it; there are definite similarities here to the process of binding off in knitting. When following other designers' patterns constructed using this stitch, you'll find that some call this "row 2," while others refer to it as we do here, as the second half of row 1.

    Yarn over, pull through one loop (Views I, J, K); *yarn over, pull through two loops (Views L, M, N). Repeat from * to last loop on hook (Views O, P).

    The remaining loop on the hook will count as the first stitch in the next row.

    Tunisian knit stitch with photos listing I through P of specific steps.
    Michael Solovay
  3. Begin Knit Stitch

    If you were going to work the most basic Tunisian stitch pattern, Afghan Stitch, the next step would be to make stitches out of the vertical bars all the way across the next row. Instead, you're going to make a loop by going between the two parts of the vertical bar.

    Skip the bar below the loop on your hook. *Insert the hook from front to back through the fabric, between the two halves of the vertical loop, yarn over, and pull up a loop (Views Q, R, S). Repeat from * for every stitch across the row.

    Tunisian knit stitch steps Q through S showing specific steps.Knit Stitch Tutiorial -- Pictures of the Tunisian Knit Stitch in Progress
    Michael Solovay
  4. Return Pass and Beyond

    Next, you'll repeat the steps for completing the return pass/reverse; it's exactly the same here as it was the first time you did it.

    Yarn over, pull through one loop, *yarn over, pull through two loops; repeat from * to last loop on hook (Views T-aa).

    To add more rows of the Tunisian Knit Stitch, just keep repeating the two passes of the last row you learned. Now you're ready to do the Tunisian knit stitch like a pro.

    Tunisian knit stitch steps T through aa.
    Michael Solovay