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This is going to be hard to explain without pictures, but I'm going to give it my best shot! You should be able to tell pretty quickly whether you've created a stitch that looks like knitting or something new.
Row 1: chain the desired number of chains, insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop, (insert hook into next ch, yo, pull up loop) across. You should have a hook full of loops, just as though it were a knitting needle. DO NOT TURN. Instead, to work off the loops, yo, pull through 1st loop on hook, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook. Keep doing (yo, pull through 2 loops on hook) until there's only 1 loop left.
Row 2: Skip the 1st vertical "bar" at the beginning of the row and insert hook, from front to back, in between the strands of yarn before the next vertical bar, yo, pull up a loop, repeat across the row. DO NOT TURN. To complete the row, yo, pull through 1st loop on the hook, yo, pull through 2 loops on the hook, all the way across until 1 loop remains.
Repeat Row 2 to create a swatch that should look like knitting!
This stitch is great for helping to minimize curling in your Tunisian crochet project by incorporating it into the beginning and ending of your piece.
This stitch is worked with your hook in the BACK of your work; your hook will never come out to the front. When starting a new row, place your hook in the back of your work and insert it under the next back vertical bar, in a side-to-side motion. Yarn over and pull through a loop. Repeat into the next back vertical bar, continuing to move your hook side-to-side.
Tunisian (also known as Afghan) Crochet seems to be enjoying a resurgence. The best way to describe it is to say that it is a cross between crocheting and knitting. You still use just one hook, but it is as long as a knitting needle, and you pull up and keep loops on the hook for one row, then, without turning, you pull yarn through two loops at a time, similar to casting off.
This technique tends to produce a "fabric" that resembles weaving and that is thick and sturdy, though there are tunisian stitches that are more lacy. In some ways, it's an easier craft for beginners to learn because it's easier to see where the loops and stitches are and the movements required are very repetitive.
Although I will try to post some tips on Tunisian Crochet here, there are good and comprehensive articles and patterns in the Winter 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet magazine.
Oh, and there does not seem to be any connection to Tunisia!
For those Tunisian crocheters out there, you know how hard it is to keep your work from curling up. That's because the backside of items crocheted using the Tunisian technique has more yarn in it, that's just the way it is. But, there are ways to lessen or prevent the curl. First, you can try using a larger hook than that recommended in the pattern; in fact, you might even want to go up 2 or 3 sizes. This adjustment will not totally eliminate the curl, but it will help minimize it. You also might want to start your project by crocheting your first row into the underside bar of each chain of the chain row instead of into each chain itself.
Otherwise, you might want to vary the types of stitches you use in your project in order to get more yarn to gather on the front side of the item. For example, you might want to use the purl stitch for your first row, or you might want to start and end your project with a few rows of the Tunisian Reverse stitch (see separate tip on this stitch).
Finally, using good blocking techniques will help a lot too (see separate tips for blocking instructions). For some great Tunisian crochet projects, check out Kim Guzman's blog at kimguzman.wordpress.com
Tunisian crochet is an excellent technique to use when you want to use multiple colors of yarn in a project. Yarn colors can be changed mid-row, much like weaving, so intricate color patterns can be created. And, since you don't have to cut the yarn when changing colors (one color can be carried along the edge until used again on another row), you don't have to worry about weaving in endless tails of yarn!
Part of the reason for the decline in interest in Tunisian crochet probably has to do with the lack of standardization in the technique as well as in the name! This method of crochet saw its heyday in the late nineteenth century when, under the name "tricot stitch", many patterns for children's booties and hats were available. In the mid-twentieth century, the squareness and simplicity of the Tunisian stitch made a resurgence as making blankets and "afghans" gained in popularity. Today, this technique is making yet another comeback because it is so versatile and effective in bringing out the qualities of otherwise problematic yarns, like boucle and mohair.
There are two preferable methods for seaming Tunisian crochet pieces: the mattress stitch and the chain or slip stitch. The mattress stitch (also known as the woven stitch) creates a thick but even seam that closes all gaps. To start, place the two pieces right side up and side by side, then insert a tapestry needle into the two horizontal bars of a stitch at the bottom of either side piece. Then insert the needle on the other side piece under two horizontal bars of a stitch. Go back and forth between the pieces, gently tugging on the yarn to pull the two pieces together.
The chain stitch seam should be utilized when your pieces are in the Tunisian knit stitch since it mimics this stitch. Place the two pieces together, wrong sides facing each other, and use the same hook size as used in the piece. Join the yarn with a slip stitch at the base and chain stitch through both layers of the fabric.
The survival of Tunisian crochet as a technique is due in large part to Angela R. N. (ARNie) Grabowski. She's the author of the Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet and the creator of www.chezcrochet.com, a website on which you can find a comprehensive collection of Tunisian stitches and tutorials, patterns, specialty hooks, and so much more. Interestingly enough, Ms. Grabowski views herself as a technician rather than a designer because she likes to focus on the mechanics of creating stitches rather than project patterns. She's come up with some amazing and innovative ways of creating the look of knitted cables through the Tunisian technique and has designed her own collection of hooks to make it even easier and more fun.