Big fun: Tunisian crochet

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I’m on a flight to Portland, typing on my iPhone, so this won’t be my most tightly edited post, but I want to tell you about Tunisian crochet. Ragga Eiriksdottir‘s Sunday morning class was easily the most fun I had at Stitches West, in part because she’s delightful and in part because this is such a breeze to do and I was really ready for something breezy by then. And having a new skill, of course, means a new creative outlet. So: big fun.

If you haven’t seen Tunisian before, the basic stitch, called Tunisian simple stitch, creates a really interesting fabric somewhere between knitting and weaving. And it’s fast. The washcloth-sized swatch above was done, with no previous experience, in a little over an hour. (The spots that might look like mistakes are where we were learning increases and decreases. And the edging is Tunisian purl stitch.) I was working with the Shibui yarn seen in yesterday’s post and it turned out to be a great combination of yarn and stitch pattern.

Anyway, I am really in love with this technique. I’ve already done a prototype of (you guessed it) a fingerless mitt, working out a pattern. And if I have time later between my meeting and my return flight, I’m going to Knit Purl to look for some really luscious yarn for a cowl. There are basically two methods for working Tunisian in the round, one of which Ragga taught us and the other of which will allow me to use that giant double-ended hook in the previous photos. So you’ll be hearing more about all of this.

Stitches West: What I bought

malabrigo yarn arroyo rios aguas
I know all you guys really want to hear about with regard to Stitches is what I bought. That’s the easy part. If you refer to that haul shot, this is clockwise from top right:

  • 4 fat quarters of African cloth. This was my favorite booth on the floor — a striking departure from everything around it. Two women selling mud cloth and beautiful straw bags all made by women in a village in Africa. Unfortunately, I’ve lost track of the slip of paper with the specifics, but I love to support co-ops like this one. And look at those prints! Don’t know what I’m doing with them yet.
  • 1 skein Malabrigo Worsted in Natural.
  • 1 skein Sincere Sheep Resolute in Aegean — hand-dyed in Napa.
  • 1 skein Malabrigo Arroyo in Prussian Blue.
  • 1 skein Shibui Merino Alpaca in Abyss.
  • 1 skein Shibui Merino Alpaca in Ivory.
  • A pink Knitter’s Pride Tunisian crochet hook, size J with 35-inch cable. Needed it for my class and pink is what was on offer! I admit I kind of like it. (The plain bamboo one I had ordered online showed up yesterday.)
  • 1 skein Malabrigo Arroyo in Aguas.
  • 4 skeins Malabrigo Rios in Aguas (the fourth being mailed from the store). I can’t get enough of that mottled, murky, blue-green. Literally. If you know anyone who has another one (or two) please let me know — I intend to make a sweater of it.
  • And last but far from least, a 22-inch, double-ended Tunisian crochet hook, size O, handmade by some fella in Ohio.

fat quarters of african mud cloth
shibui merino alpaca ivory and abyss
malabrigo worsted arroyo natural prussian blue sincere sheep