I’ve been playing with an idea. This isn’t it exactly, but it’s a sneak peek of something related.
This week’s regularly scheduled post isn’t going to happen (due to a confluence of personal events), so it’s a good thing I have a bunch of links saved up!
- Standard foot measurement information for sock makers. It’s written for knitters, but I see no reason why crocheters or nalbinders couldn’t make good use of it.
- Three crochet foundation stitches – I need to try all three! There’s at least one there I haven’t tried yet; I wonder how it would do as a knitting cast-on. From Vashti Braha, who is amazing.
- Tunisian Crochet Lace: New Habits Another Vashti post, about how Tunisian crochet doesn’t need to be worked densely. Loosen up!
Some Tunisian Lace stitches. Not from Vashti, for a change.
- A basic guide to Bosnian crochet, which is a subset of slip-stitch crochet.
- The two color spiral.
Until next week!
(This will work for Tunisian crochet as well as knitting; you’ll want to use a knitting needle alongside the crochet hook.)
I was fiddling around with using the basic long-tail cast on with two needles when I had an inspiration for another way to use two needles to make long-tail cast-ons even more relaxed. There are at least four long-tail cast-ons; the principle should work with all of them. (I haven’t ever seen anyone else use this method, though of course that doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t thought of it.)
One of the constraints on the tightness of long-tail cast-ons is the size of the loops that are knit into when creating the stitches. The tightness of these loops is usually controlled by how tightly the knitter pulls on the tail when forming the stitches. However, if you insert the second needle into these loops as you go, you can force them to be larger.
I’ve used two needles the same size in this demo, but it’s probably better to use a smaller needle for the second one—in my opinion, the bottom loops look sloppy otherwise.
Holding two needles together, start by working the first pair of stitches of the long-tail cast on as usual, except that it should be worked only on the main needle. (The first stitch on my needles is just wrapped around, as shown in these excellent instructions by TECHknitter; scroll down for the no-slip-knot version.)
Before starting to make the next stitch, catch the thumb loop on the second needle. Snug everything up as usual, and go on.
Once you have cast on all the stitches required for your work, pull the second needle out of the loops, and continue onward.
Please let me know how this goes for you!
I hope to have a video of this process sometime this week; I’m getting my recording setup worked out.
Last week, I was playing around with variations on the foundation base chain, and came up with this two yarn version:
When I looked at that for a while, I started thinking again. The white chain looked like the chain on a bag of pet food. So I unraveled it and stuck the resulting loose stitches on my Tunisian crochet hook. It looked like a cast on.
It’s actually nicely stretchy, and you can work it directly onto a knitting needle or afghan hook without the chain across the top!
The crocheters among you will probably recognize that that’s a foundation base chain. (If you’re a crocheter and don’t know about them, they’re a wonderful replacement for a base chain.)
It turns out that it makes an excellent knitting cast on, like a fancy braid at the bottom. Speaking of which, it would also make gorgeous braid for decorating sewing. Work it up in thin shiny silk and I expect it would look really fancy.
(There are some new things in this post for crocheters as well as knitters.)
(Good for Tunisian crochet as well as knitting.)
Some people will tell you to do a long-tail cast on with a larger needle or with two regular needles doubled up.
Then pull out the extra needle. But why? Doesn’t that mean you’ll just end up with loose stitches but the bottom part still tight?
Well, have a look at this:
If you stretch the stitches out as far as they’ll go, you might hear a quiet pop-pop-pop! (Don’t worry; nothing broke.)
When you let the stitches relax, look what happens. The bottom part has moved up into the stitches, kind of shortening them, and the whole thing is more relaxed. It will only work up to a point, but it’s a lot better than you might think.
Let’s have a look at the same thing in Tunisian crochet.
I used a knitting needle with my Tunisian hook because it would be harder to pull another hook out.
Here you can see how much less squinchy that first row of looks than in this photo where I didn’t use this technique:
In my playing around with Tunisian crochet, mostly in the form of swatches, I’ve fallen in love with using knitting cast-ons instead of the usual crocheted base chain. (I really dislike the usual crocheted chain. I have trouble getting a good gauge.)
There are lots and lots of knitting cast-ons in the world. I’m going to show you what Tunisian crochet looks like with three of them, and then I’m going to show you a different experiment. I’m not going to explain how to do them, because there’s a lot of good introductory material out there. I will link to videos elsewhere; just imagine that there’s an afghan hook there instead of a knitting needle.
There are some things I’m not entirely happy with in these swatchlets. However, I learned from my mistakes, and so I’m going to share both the mistakes and my thoughts about them. Learning is never wasted!
First up, the long-tail cast-on (here’s the video at knittinghelp.com):
This swatch shows two rows of Tunisian crochet, including the cast-on row. That first row looks a little squinchy, doesn’t it? It’s tight and stiff. If I were to do this again, I would use a larger hook for that first row.
I like the way the edge looks like a twisted rope, just as it does in knitting.
Next up, a different kind of long-tail cast-on, often called Twisted German (video at knittinghelp.com):
Again, that’s two rows of TSS; a bigger hook would probably help that first row a lot. It works well for me to use a larger needle in casting on that row for knitting when this sort of things happens.
Thirdly, a cable-cast on (video at knittinghelp.com).
I do like the way this looks like a braided edge. This edge would actually be the back of the cast-on row for knitting, and this is an artifact of this not being a long-tail cast-on. The solution to this is to purl the stitches instead of knitting them as you’re casting on. You’ll see this in the next example.
I was reading the Tunisian Crochet group on Ravelry, where I saw someone suggest using a foundation base chain for Tunisian instead of the usual crochet chain. I thought that was an excellent idea. And then, wait a minute, why don’t I try using a knitted cast on for a row of Tunisian and then use that as a base for regular crochet?
Hence this next swatch:
I used the cable cast-on, only purling instead of knitting my way across. I kept the larger hook for working the stitches, and am I glad I did! It’s not very stretchy compared to the crochet stitches.
I like this a lot, regardless, and might prefer it to a foundation base chain for regular crochet in certain circumstances. I might try making the afghan hook larger as well; I think the return chain is what’s making the cast-on tight.
There you have it! I will probably return to this theme in future posts. I have some ideas for other knitting cast-ons that might be interesting with Tunisian crochet, and therefore interesting as a foundation for regular crochet as well.
I’d also love to see what you come up with!
I was a knitter before I was a crocheter, and so it made sense to me to use knitting cast ons for my Tunisian crochet. Not that I’ve done all that much in the way of finished objects with Tunisian crochet yet (I keep playing with swatches), but the one I’m proudest of used Judy Becker’s Magic Cast on as the join between a Tunisian crochet sweater yoke and a knitted body. But I digress.
A pretty cast on in knitting is the picot cast on, and I was wondering if it would transfer successfully to Tunisian crochet. The answer is yes, though it doesn’t look quite the same. (One could, of course, do a knitted picot cast on in the traditional way and then use it for Tunisian crochet, and then it would be identical.)
You’ll need an extra crochet hook or knitting needle the same diameter or a smidge larger than your Tunisian hook.
First, put either a backwards loop or a slip knot on your Tunisian hook.
Put your other hook through this stitch
and pull a loop through. Slip this loop onto your Tunisian hook, leaving both hooks in the loop.
Pull a loop through with the extra hook. Place this new stitch on the hook and continue until there are at least five loops on the Tunisian hook.
Now, turn your hook around. If you had come to the end of a normal row of Tunisian stitches, you would work back all the way, right? In this case, you’ll work back so that two stitches are consumed.
Turn the hook around and cast on four more stitches.
Turn your hook and finish off two more stitches.
Repeat as desired. You can space the picots further apart by casting on more stitches between each picot so they’ll line up with a particular stitch pattern, if you like. You can also make the picots shorter or longer by making them take up fewer or more stitches.
Have you used knitting cast-ons for Tunisian crochet? What do you think about them?
A stitch from S.F.A. Caulfeild’s Dictionary of Needlework, p. 122, figure 221, rewritten.
This one reminds me more strongly of sewn smocking than the other Tunisian smocking stitches I’ve seen. (Though I am still new to this! So who knows what I’ve missed?) I also keep seeing the Greek letter pi in the stitches, which amuses me very much.
* * repeat the instructions between these until the end of the row.
YU yarn under; that is, bring the yarn forward under the hook, then wrap it around the hook.
TPS Tunisian purl. This video by Kim Guzman shows the maneuver:
TPS2tog instead of working the purl through one vertical bar, work it through the next two bars as if they were one bar.
TSS Tunisian simple stitch, also known as afghan stitch.
Make the foundation row as usual.
1. Work the first stitch as usual. *YU, TPS2tog* Work the last stitch as usual, and then chain back.
2. Work the first stitch as usual. TSS. *TPS2tog, YU* TPS. Work the last stitch as usual and then chain back.
Repeat these rows as desired.