Tunisian Foundation Row
Also known as Afghan crochet, Tunisian crochet is often referred to as a fusion between knitting and crochet.
Tunisian crochet is a very rich technique, that produces a unique, woven like fabric, that will allow you to create beautiful modern pieces.
Even if Tunisian stitches may look quite complicated, I can assure you it is an easy technique, you'll be able to master in no time!
Crocheters and knitters will see similarities in the construction of stitches.
A few things to know about Tunisian Crochet:
The work is never turned, you and you will always face the right side. Right handed people will always work from right to left, and left handed people will always work from left to right.
Rows are always composed of two steps. The first step, the Forward Pass, consists of picking up your stitches and leaving them on your hook. In the second step, the Return Pass, you link your loops together with chain stitches, as you drop them off your hook.
You need special hooks for Tunisian crochet. There are three different types of Tunisian hooks: long hooks with a stopper, double ended hooks to work in the round, and cabled hooks. If you decide to go for cabled hooks, I would advise you to get interchangeable hooks directly. You can use them with a stopper, or with another hook. Although, to work a little gauge with few stitches, a normal crochet hook will be enough!
When working with Tunisian crochet, you usually work one (or more) larger hook size than normally advised for a specific type of yarn, because Tunisian crochet creates a dense, thick fabric. Choosing your hook will depend on your own tension, and how you feel confortable working. But don't hesitate to go up one, two or even three hook sizes! In this tutorial, I used an 8 mm hook with an aran weight yarn.
Every Tunisian stitch starts with the same foundation row, that consists of a starting chain and a base row of stitches.
In Tunisian crochet, the first stitch is always the loop that is already on your hook.
The first and the last stitch of the row are always worked the same, no matter the stitch pattern.
Tunisian stitches have a tendency to curl. There are several techniques to tame this curling effect: blocking, using a bigger hook, loosening your tension, crochet a border around your piece, and others. I will introduce some of these techniques in the upcoming weeks.
THE FOUNDATION ROW
Forward Pass (FwP):
Chain 17 (or desired number of stitches). Try to chain fairly loosely in order to make the next step easier. Be careful not to make your chain too loose though, which would cause it to distort.
We will now start picking up stitches on our hook.
Twist your chain towards you a little bit, in order to be able to reach the little bump at the back of your chain, and insert your hook in the second chain from hook.
This picture shows the second stitch worked, into the third chain.
Yarn over, and pull up a loop, making sure to leave it on the hook.
As your first loop is already on your hook, after working your first stitch, you’ll have 2 loops on your hook, and after working your second stitch, 3 loops, etc..
You will always end your forward pass with the same number of loops on your hook as you initially chained.
Continue to pick up loops as shown above until you reach the end of your row. You should have 17 loops on your hook (or the number of chains you decided to start with).
The Forward Pass is now done!
Return Pass (RetP):
In Tunisian crochet, you don’t turn your work at the end of the row, but work the return pass from left to right (right to left for left handed).
Yarn over, and pull through the first loop on your hook. This ‘ch 1’ is your end stitch, and will always be worked the same.
We will now start dropping loops off the hook two by two. Yarn over and pull through the next 2 loops on your hook.
Keep dropping loops off your hook two by two until there's only one loop left on your hook.
And voilà, your Tunisian Foundation row is done! This row will always be worked the same, no matter the stitch you are using.
You can continue with the Tunisian Simple Stitch, or TSS, here.
Or if you want to try out the Tunisian Knit Stitch , or TKS, here.