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Tunisian Crochet Basics

Tunisian (also known as Afghan) crochet makes a beautifully textured, dense and squishy fabric. It's very easy to learn and very satisfying to hook up!

This type of crochet is distinguished by the tool you use to work it, namely, a long "Afghan" hook. You should choose a size that is at least two sizes bigger then the hook you would normally use with the same yarn. Purl Soho has a selection of Afghan Crochet Hooks right here.

Another characteristic of Tunisian Crochet is that you don't turn your work between rows. Instead, the front side of the fabric is always facing you. Generally, you create Tunisian Crochet fabric by alternating "Forward" and "Return" rows. The Forward row moves from right to left as you pick up stitches, leaving them on the shaft of the hook. And the Return row moves from left to right as you remove the stitches from the hook.

Here you'll learn how to make a Tunisian Crochet fabric using the basic Tunisian Simple Stitch. Let's get started!

Foundation Chain

Make a foundation chain just as you would for regular crochet. (Your pattern will tell you how many chains to make.) Don't know how to make a foundation chain? Check out our tutorial right here.

Preparation Row

A crocheted chain has a front side characterized by interlocking "v"'s and a back side characterized by small bumps. In this photo the front side is shown on the left, and the back side is shown on the right.

You will work the Preparation Row into the bumps of the back side of the chain, starting with the second bump from the hook:

Insert the hook into the back bump, yarn over and pull a loop through, leaving it on the Afghan hook. Continue with each chain bump..

...all the way to the end of the Foundation Chain.

Return Row

Chain 1.

Yarn over and pull a loop through the next two stitches on the hook.

Repeat this last step until one stitch remains on the hook.

Forward Row

Remember that you don't turn the work; just keep the same side facing you!

For the Forward Row you will insert the hook through vertical strands, created by the previous row. The first three vertical strands are shown here in pink:

So, insert the hook from right to left through the first vertical strand. Yarn over and pull a loop through, leaving it on the hook.

Continue to pull a loop through each vertical strand until you reach the end of the row.

Finish by inserting the hook into the chain one from the previous row...

...and pulling a loop through.

(If you'd like a very sturdy edge, make this final stitch through both strands of the chain one.)

Changing Colors

When two stitches remain at the end of the Return Row...

...use the new color to draw through both loops.

Work the Forward Row as usual.

Finishing

Finish off on a Forward Row. Insert the hook into the first vertical strand, yarn over and draw the loop through both the vertical strand and the stitch on the hook.

Repeat this step of drawing a loop through both the vertical stitch and the stitch on the hook until the end of the row.

Then cut the yarn and pull it through the last loop. Done!

Tunisian Crochet fabric does have a tendency to curl a bit, but that is easily fixed with some blocking!

PS: For a perfect beginner Tunisian Crochet project, check out our Tunisian Crochet Washcloths right here!

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24 Responses to Tunisian Crochet Basics


  1. Emma says:

    Thank you for such a fabulous tutorial. I have always wondered about Tunisian crochet and it is much easier and more enticing than I thought. Well done. I look forward to giving it a go.

  2. L. Jones says:

    I've never heard this referred to as Tunisian crochet before. When I learned to do it back in the 1970s, it was just called the “Afghan Stitch”. The attached URL has a partially finished (at the time) Afghan I've made with the stitch.

  3. Kalea says:

    THANK-YOU!

  4. Melanie says:

    Thanks for this. My mother has an old blanket she made in the 70's with this stitch used as a background for cross-stitched flowers. I was looking at it recently and wondering how to do the stitch. Now I know!

  5. Dianne says:

    I've often had trouble doing Tunisian crochet, and after reading this tutorial I can see why! I've never started with the back of the chain before, and never had the chain stitch at the end of the row either. Trying this will be exciting and I hope it solves alot of the troubles I've had in the past. Thank you for such a well-written explanation and the pictures too. Best I've read in any crochet forum anywhere! You've helped me become excited about this stitch again. Thanks for that!!

  6. MaryAnn says:

    This is a very, very well done tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to do it and for sharing it. Great job!

  7. Lefty girl says:

    I had to teach myself to crochet since my righthanded mom had a difficult time teaching me. This was an awesome tutorial and now I can make a blanket that looks like it was knitted!! Thank you!

  8. RecycleCindy says:

    Outstanding Tunisian tutorial. I have bookmarked this post and think it will really help me attempt the Tunisian stitch again. I've tried it before but just didn't get it but thanks to your wonderful picture tutorial, I plan to give it a go again.

  9. silvia moura says:

    Thank you

  10. Adriana says:

    Me gusto mucho ya que esta explicad con mucha claridad.

  11. Con Olla de Barro says:

    No había visto nunca esta puntada, y la verdad me parece maravillosa.
    Queda precioso.
    ¿Solo vale para tejer en recto?

  12. No haba visto nunca esta puntada, y la verdad me parece maravillosa.
    Queda precioso.
    Solo vale para tejer en recto?

  13. Frida says:

    You are brilliant!

    Thank you for sharing!

    /Frida

    http://fridaspeach.wordpress.com/

  14. Megan says:

    I've been crocheting for about a year, and just tried this out. It was so easy and the pictures were very helpful when I had questions about anything. I will definitely be doing this for a lot more projects! Thanks for the fantastic tutorial! :)

  15. Megan says:

    I've been crocheting for about a year, and just tried this out. It was so easy and the pictures were very helpful when I had questions about anything. I will definitely be doing this for a lot more projects! Thanks for the fantastic tutorial! :)

  16. Patio says:

    Have attempted to teach myself this stitch for some time and always ended up frustrated! You made the tutorial so clear! Thank you.

  17. Tonia says:

    Thanks for such a clear tutorial. I am a beginner and have only learned by other people showing me what to do. I was able to learn this stitch or method in 15 minutes. Right now, I am practicing with left over yarn and a regular hook. I am about to buy an afghan hook and am wondering if they are all the same length. Would I use the same length hook for a baby blanket and a twin size one? Also, the link that explains "blocking" is not working. How do you wash the items once they are made?

  18. Tonia says:

    One more question… what do you do with the tails of the old and new color when switching? I saw the picture above where you pull the new color through but can't tell what to do with the "tail". Do you tie it in somewhere? If you were going to switch back and forth between two colors to make a striped project, would you cut the yarn each time? I have never switched colors before.

  19. Ray says:

    I've just done my first ever bit of tunisian crochet, and it's all thanks to you! I can't thank you enough for this tutorial. You explain it so clearly, and the photos are brilliant.

  20. Ana Valbuena says:

    Qué fácil lo haces, gracias

  21. Ana Valbuena says:

    Qu fcil lo haces, gracias

  22. purl bee says:

    Hi Tonia,

    Afghan hooks do come in different lengths. The longest I've seen is 14 inches, which probably isn't long enough for a twin size blanket. So you would have to crochet a number of panels and sew them together.

    I'm sorry about the blocking link. I fixed it!

    For the tails, you can either weave them into the finished fabric when you're done, or you can crochet right over them, incorporating them into the fabric as you work. You don't need (or want!) to tie any knots, which have the tendency to come undone over time.

    And for narrow stripes, you can carry the yarn up the selvedge of the piece without ever having to cut the yarn, but if you're working wider stripes, you do need to cut the yarn each time you change colors.

    Thanks for all your questions. Please let us know if you have more!

    Whitney

  23. Audrey says:

    You can get afghan hooks with cables on the end, like circular knitting needles. So you can do a large blanket all at once.

  24. Edna says:

    Very Easy!

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