Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tunisian in the Round

Hi All, there were some questions Tunisian Backpack and how it came to be "in the round". First, I learned the technique from one of the Master's of Crochet: Nancy Nehring, and her book "Tunisian Crochet" which is available at Amazon and probably other places too.

In this book are many great projects that highlight different techniques to Tunisian, one of them is the "On the Go" bag. Here is my rendition of it:
The bag is made with a traditional bottom, then the black and white pattern is the Tunisian part, Then it is topped off with more traditional methods. This is the project that taught me Tunisian in the round enough to make my backpack, that was published in Crochet Fantasy in Fall 2005.
Ok, My backpack is made of Lily Sugar n' Cream. And I have to admit that I didn't understand the full value of crochet cotton until I made this bag out of it. It is durable, and I really enjoyed using it. More on Lily Sugar n' Cream another time. Both bags, used an afghan circular or cable hook, which looks like this:

The procedure for Tunisian or afghan crochet as you may know, is to cast on stitches on to the hook/cable (forward pass), then to bind them off similar to what you do in knitting (return pass). You can find lessons and tutorials for Tunisian Crochet at the Crochet Classroom. Kim Guzman is also a Master of Tunisian, a link to her blog, WiPs n' Chains is on the right of this blog page.

The "in the round" part comes after you have done a forward pass. Now that I'm re-reading the pattern text in Crochet Fantasy, it's not terribly clear how it's done.

May I quote Nancy in her book? Her explanation (better than mine) is on p. 8, "Slip stitch bind off until 1 loop remains on hook, ch 1, drop loop from hook, insert hook through 1st ch of rnd and last loop of previous round as for Tss. " Tss in this case, is short for Tunisian Simple Stitch.

In my notes when I designed the pattern, I have written "The first six rows or so of in the round are difficult and the base will have to be squished a little to get the cable around all four corners of the bag. Take breaks and stretch your hands frequently. It gets easier after that."

Where the slip stitch join occurs on the backside of the project, there will be a visible diagonal join, like this:

Also, you have to be careful to count your vertical bars (stitches) to make sure that you are keeping an accurate stitch count. There is some decreasing near the top of this bag, which you may notice.

The inside of the bag looks like this:

And here is a closer-up photo of the front flap, which I am particularly proud of. It is a Tunisian Twisted Simple Stitch.
The color striping is made by doing a forward pass in one color and a return pass in the next color.

If I had it to do over again, I would not have woven so many ends through at a time. Oh, it's crochet, I do have it to do over again if I want! Yay crochet!

I'll answer questions if you have them.

And that, my friends, is likely the longest post you'll ever read from me!

1 comment:

doraoh said...

Thank you very much Ellen for this thorough explanation of how to do Tunisian in the round! I would like to experiment with this technique as I love Tunisian crochet. If you or anyone else is interested, I have a free Tunisian jacket pattern at Best, Dora