Hooked on Needles

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Learn to Crochet - Tunisian Knit Stitch or Afghan Stitch

Tunisian Crochet has been around for a long time and is called by many different names. You may have heard of the Afghan Stitch, or Shepherd's Knitting, or Railroad Knitting. These are all names for the same thing, Tunisian Crochet. I am sure there are many other names for it as well.

It is generally thought to be a cross between knitting and crocheting, as there are many similarities to each. The needle used for Tunisian Crochet looks like a crochet hook on one end and a knitting needle on the other. Only one needle is used at a time as in crochet, but many stitches are held on the needle at one time as in knitting. As in both knitting and crocheting, there is a huge variety of stitches that can be formed using Tunisian Crochet. There is one main difference though, and that is Tunisian Crochet is always worked from the front. The work is never turned. Because of this, Tunisian Crochet always forms a fabric that has a definite front side and back side.

Tunisian Crochet is also prone to curling at the ends so it is highly recommended that pieces be blocked before being stitched together or finished into blankets or garments. This curling is caused by there being generally more bulk of yarn on the back side of the piece than on the front which forces the fabric to curl forward. It is almost always recommended to use a needle two or three times larger than what is suggested for the yarn that is being used. This helps to reduce the curling, but does not eliminate it.

Ok, enough talk about it...let's get down to business!

Crochet hooks for Tunisian Crochet, also known as Afghan HooksThese hooks are what you would use for Tunisian Crochet. The first hook is small, size G, and it has a cable attached to the end, much like circular knitting needles have between the two ends. Notice the red circle which is the stopper at the end so the stitches don't fall off. This hook would accommodate a large number of stitches and would be suitable to use for a one piece blanket.

The extra large light blue hook is a size Q which is gigantic in diameter, but not very long and does not have a stopper at the end. This could be used for Tunisian Crochet when making something narrow such as a scarf, or panels for an afghan that will be stitched together later. This is the needle I used to crochet my very first afghan when I was about 12 years old! Unless the desired effect is very loose and lacy, two strands of yarn would be used with this hook.

The last two hooks are two different sizes of the same type of hook. You can see the stopper at the end just like a knitting needle, and the hook at the other end just like a crochet hook. Also notice that these hooks do not have the little flat part in middle like regular crochet hooks have where you rest your thumb and finger. This is because many stitches are held on the needle at one time and they need to remain consistent in size. The stitches also need to be able to move freely across the needle as in knitting.

Finished Tunisian Crochet or Afghan Stitch BlockThis is a block stitched in Basic Tunisian Crochet, also called the Tunisian Knit Stitch, or the Afghan Stitch. The block is 6 inches square and has already been blocked. You can see that it still wants to curl on the top and bottom of the square.

Tunisian Knit stitch close upThe Tunisian Knit Stitch makes a very pretty design on the front which is a wonderful fabric for working cross stitch into for added color and interest in a piece.

Back of Tunisian Knit blockThe back of the Tunisian Knit Stitch looks very similar to garter stitch in knitting. It is thick and firm and provides a nice hiding place for the wrong side of embroidery stitches that might be worked on the front.

As mentioned in the video, there are quite a number of different stitches in Tunisian Crochet and the next one I am going to show you is called Tunisian Stockinette. My friend Merry from the Knittinghelp.com forum that I love to read has also asked for some help with a project that calls for Tunisian Short Row. I will be sharing a pattern for a lovely dish cloth that Merry wants to make and a video showing how you can make one yourself using your new skills in Tunisian Crochet.

Happy Stitching!

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  • Hey Mary Grace!
    Great video...this is going to be so helpful to me! Thanks for all the time you're devoting to these videos! The tunisian short row cloth is lots of fun! My knitting friends and I got together yesterday, and we taught one of the girls how to do tunisian...she really liked it! Can't wait to see your next video!
    God Bless You,
    Merry :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 31, 2009 at 9:17 AM  

  • Hi Mary -- Thank you for making me feel smart! In other words, your excellent "how to" videos are so well made-- I understand clearly -- without confusion, frustration, or feeling stupid.

    Thank you for helping me learn the wonders of and how wonderful crocheting and knitting is!

    Thanks YOU Mary!!

    Carolyn -- a beginner knitter and crocheter.

    By Blogger SF Tree Council, At March 31, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

  • Just found your site and it is fantastic especially the videos for the crochet which is what I am interested in right now. Thanks for putting this on the web.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 13, 2009 at 7:34 PM  

  • Hi Mary -- I am trying to learn the tunisian seed stitch. Can you help me?

    By Blogger Sherry, At August 5, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

  • Hi Sherry, I'll put Tunisian Seed Stitch on my to-do list, so you might want to bookmark my site so you don't miss it. Thanks for asking. I love getting requests from readers!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At August 5, 2009 at 9:45 PM  

  • I LOVE that Tunisan Knit Stitch...

    All of them... And the effect is so much like when I could knit without hurting my wrist... :-)
    Thank You Again Mary Grace!!! You are SO PATIENT in those videoes!

    ~ Susan



    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM  

  • The samples that you show on this page are the Basic Afghan Stitch or Tunisian Simple Stitch. The Tunisian Knit stitch is a different stitch, it resembles stockinette in knitting. It is worked by inserting your hook between the front and back vertical bars from the front through to the back and picking up the yarn.

    By Blogger Jane's Hooked on Crochet, At September 13, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

  • Hi Jane, thanks for your comment on my website concerning Tunisian Knit stitch.

    According to my sources, the basic Tunisian stitch, or afghan stitch, is also called the Tunisian Knit stitch. The Tunisian stitch that resembles stockinette stitch in knitting is called the Tunisian Stockinette Stitch and I provided a tutorial on that one a little further on in my website. Here's the link to it... http://www.hookedonneedles.com/2009/02/learn-to-crochet-tunisian-stockinette.html

    I think Tunisian crochet is one of those forms of needlework where you will find as many different names and techniques as you will find people who do it! It's all fun and creative though, and it's great to share our knowledge of it with others.

    I would have replied directly, but your comments are set to no-reply and I couldn't find your email address anywhere on your website.

    I hope you visit Hooked On Needles again soon!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At September 13, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

  • Dear Mary,
    I have a question for you.
    I have nearly finished making a scarf, I used double stitch crochet to do it, however instead of building each row by inserting the hook into the chain of the previous row, I went around the bars of the previous row. One row I went around the bar from the front and the next row I went around the bar from the back, so it gave me a nice design.
    Anyway, my work started to curl around itself and I do not know what to do about it, I think about ironing but I doubt that it will help. I spent quite a long time making this scarf so I do not want my efforts to be in vain, so can you please suggest a solution to overcome this problem.
    Thank you

    By Anonymous Yasemin, At November 22, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

  • Hi!
    I just learned how to to Tunisian- saw it on Knit and Crochet show. My question is - how does one go about "fringing" a Tunisian panel? Perhaps not fringing as in strings, but some kind of border. I understand this helps with the curling problem, but I am unsure how to do this or to incorporate a Tunisian panel into an afgan- I can see it embroidered and center stage with other color panels to either side. Can you help?

    By Blogger Unknown, At February 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM  

  • Hi Christina, I would suggest looking under my crochet link at the top of my sidebar and checking for the post on crocheting around a knitted piece. The technique would be the same as crocheting around tunisian crochet. Then to join the panels into an afghan, you could just whip stitch the panels together or crochet them together. Or you could make the tunisian panel with embroidery on it or however you like it, then crochet along both sides in regular crochet to the desired width, then crochet along the top and bottom in regular crochet until the desired length is reached.

    Lots of possibilities for Tunisian crochet! Have fun with it!

    Please remember to include your email address next time you comment so I can respond to you directly.


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At February 8, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

  • helpful video but this is the tunisian simple stitch not the knit stitch

    By Blogger marlib7, At January 13, 2011 at 1:30 PM  

  • Hi marlib7, thanks for your comment. Happy that you found the video helpful. As for your comment on the name of the stitch, this same information was provided by a reader named Jane in a comment above and I replied to her. If you're interested, you can read her comment and my reply just by scrolling up a bit.

    I hope you come back and visit again soon.


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At January 13, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

  • hi.. i have a question if you please.
    how does one connect two Tunisian squares together so there isnt a line in it. like it was made in all one piece.., i mean i could SC them together... but im looking for a seamless effect.

    thanks for you time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 11, 2011 at 6:34 PM  

  • Elizabeth, you could try slip stitching them together or whip stitching them together. One of those should give you a seamless look.

    please leave your email address if you would like a direct response. Thank you.


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At February 11, 2011 at 9:14 PM  

  • i am a beginner crocheter and i have the taught myself to crochet and i understood all the instructions for crocheting except this one, but watching ur video i get it now!! thank you... im planning on making a blanket for my mom as my next project, doing smaller squares of this and joining them. any suggestions?

    By Blogger Phillymom, At March 13, 2012 at 7:24 AM  

  • Hi Phillymom! Glad my video helped you! See the comment just above yours where I suggest either slip stitching or whip stitching the squares together. Here's a video for whip stitch: http://www.hookedonneedles.com/2008/12/whip-stitch-video-tutorial.html

    I don't have one for slip stitch, but if that is something you might find helpful, let me know and I'll put it on my list!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At March 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM  

  • Thanks for sharing this!! I now know how to do a basic Tunisian Crochet!! I am very excited!! Great tutorial!

    By Blogger Laura Solkey, At January 1, 2013 at 10:59 AM  

  • Your Tunisia. "KNIT" Stitch does not resemble a knit st by what you showed. It looks like the typical Tunisian crochet stitch, sliding hook behind the front loop, doing a yarn over hook & pulling loop back through the bar in front. The Tunisian KNIT st is done by inserting hook INTO the center of the St & drawing up a loop, then repeating across row. Regular return pass to get back to right edge.

    The Tunisian Knit st [TKS] "truly" resembles the knitted knit st. Your sample picture did not, to me. I've been doing the "Afghan" st [now called "Tunisian" crochet] since 1962, so a very long time. (I was only 12 at the time, but I started at age 7 & crocheting & selling intricate, advanced items women at my mom's work.

    Did you post the right picture for the Tunisian Knit st sample? Just wondering. Not trying to be picky, just an observation. I would post a picture of a sample if I could.

    By Blogger Tammy in Seattle, At August 20, 2014 at 1:43 AM  

  • Hi Tammy! Thanks so much for your note! This same observation has been made on this particular stitch before and if you read the earlier comments on this post, you will see my response.

    I love it when readers share their knowledge with me and my readers! Thanks again for writing and keep creating!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At August 20, 2014 at 7:14 PM  

  • I have learn several good stuff here. Definitely price
    bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you place to make such a magnificent informative site.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 10, 2017 at 8:04 AM  

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