Learning Tunisian by Amber of Divine Debris

By Amber Millard | Divine Debris

Hi everyone, I’m Amber the designer from Divine Debris. A little bit about me – my mother taught me to crochet when I was a kid but didn’t start again until I was in my 20s. I started designing a couple years ago and when I found I had a lots of ideas and needed to work them out. And that’s kind of it for my backstory, once I discovered designing I haven’t stopped, it combines my childhood dream being a fashion designer with my love of being artistic.

For a few years now I’ve had Tunisian crochet in the back of my mind as a “must learn someday” skill but, to be honest, I have been intimidated by it. From what I could tell, it was like crochet but also, not exactly. I also wasn’t sure if I would be able to pick it up without getting so frustrated by it I just put it away and never try again. That may or may not be exactly what happened when I tried to learn how to knit about 4 years ago. One of these days I’ll try it again, I swear.
Anyway, because my friends Lee (of Coco Crochet Lee), and Rohn Strong are making some gorgeous things with Tunisian I started really wanting to learn.

Full disclosure, Clover did send me this amazing set of Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hooks for free but there were no expectations for my review to be influenced by that. My feelings on this are entirely my own.

So about a month ago, armed with a brand new set of hooks, I set about teaching myself Tunisian crochet. Luckily there’s the internet. Some days I forget how fortunate we are to live in a time where, to learn a new skill, all I need to do it type it into the search bar. Designers like Tamara from Moogly, Kim from CrochetKim, Kristine of Ambassador Crochet, and so many more have taken the time to make tutorials and videos who help people wanting to be creative.

Over the course of two days, I fell in love with this one-time intimidating technique.
I won’t say that it wasn’t without its hiccups. Having to go up a hook size or two to keep a consistent tension isn’t something I’ve struggled with but to get your hook to glide easily as you do your forward and return passes, you can’t have super tight loops on your hook. I also had to learn what dropped stitches looked like, because I missed stitches a few times and didn’t notice until a couple rows later. It was like learning to crochet again but now I’m starting on level 3 out of 5, which I like. I got to skip over some of the hard stuff, because I know how to hold yarn and understand keeping an even tension, but still had to learn to go forward and backward with the same piece facing you and how to keep count of loops on the hook, not on the finished product, and navigating cords.

When I first opened the package I saw the cords and rubber stoppers I didn’t know what do think of them. I’ve seen Tunisian hooks at the store, the long metal ones that looked like knitting needles with crochet hook ends but I couldn’t remember having seen interchangeable ones. So when I sat down to learn I pulled out the longest cord and a stopper and started working, on swatches. This was after I tried to attach a stopper directly to one of the hooks and no, that doesn’t work. Needless to say, I’m glad they’re easy to change out as I most definitely didn’t need so much cord for a 4” x 4” swatch of fabric. Once I got the correct cord and hook all sorted, learning came very quick to me and I just had a blast with my new hooks.
I think what appeals to me the most about Tunisian is the texture. I very much love the texture you can get in traditional crochet, ranging from cables to working a variety of stitches, but Tunisian opens a whole new world of texture to me. Especially because now I’m able to create stitches that look so much like knitting, which I’ve long been jealous of. Before I started designing my first pattern with my hooks, I made a few different swatches, trying out the different stitches I found on blogs/ tutorials to see what spoke to me the loudest. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, by creating something too detailed and then losing interest because it was too hard or tedious to finish, so I stuck with the Tunisian Simple and and the Tunisian Purl Stitches. Sometimes you don’t need to get complicated to make something lovely. I couldn’t be happier with my how my Tasha Tunisian Shrug ended up – it has great drape and movement and so much lovely texture.
One thing I don’t think I was expecting about Tunisian was how relaxing it is. Not that crocheting isn’t always relaxing but there’s something so satisfying and mesmerizing about rhythm of Tunisian that I really got into. I think that’s why I finished the shrug so fast, I was entranced by the technique. Especially the return pass, it zips by with an A B A B type of beat and so fast that I found myself looking forward to it. I’m already planning more designs and trying to think of more ideas.

You may not know but April is Stress Awareness Month and, if I do say so myself, it’s a great time to learn some Tunisian. I don’t want to over-sell it, but I really did love how I was able to lean into the relaxation of Tunisian and stitch away the stress as they say. 🙂 Personally, I really did need those moments of repose, as my life currently is full of cleaning, packing, and planning a move and it’s making me tear my hair out with frustration. Tunisian has been a delightful new discovery that I look forward to. Honestly, I might make a blanket with my new hooks and I’m not a blanket making person at all. That’s how much I liked it.

So, in short, I’m so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried out a new technique. I hope that my post here has encouraged you to do the same. It’s really not as intimidating as it looks and it’s actually really fun. Like I said, that return pass feels so satisfying and it really helped me to de-stress with Tunisian. And I have a new shrug to cozy up with and wait for this long winter season to pass.

If you’d like the pattern for my Tasha Tunisian Shrug you can view it on my blog here or buy it in my Ravelry shop here. Check out my weekly patterns on my blog, and follow me on Instagram or Facebook to stay connected.

3 thoughts on “Learning Tunisian by Amber of Divine Debris

  1. I love Tunisian. I made a lion blanket for my daughter. It took me a long time to find a hook with a flexible cord. I’m glad Clover makes them now.

  2. I own a Group on FB called Hooked on Tunisian Crochet, honestly I had no idea when I started it, that it would grow to over 6,000 members now! Very fortunate to have Kim on board as she is always willing to help folk out. We have a couple of their Designers too! We are blessed and exciting for the craft! Well done! Thanks for getting it out there too!

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