Tunisian Crochet – the best of both worlds!

We’re often asked…what exactly is Tunisian crochet?

Well, the short answer is that it is a craft that combines the best of knitting and crochet – you use a hook like crochet, but it’s as long as a knitting needle, and you keep a whole row of stitches on the hook, like knitting. You can achieve many different stitches and effects, and even combine it with regular crochet. It produces quite a dense and textured fabric, which is great for making warm and cozy cowls and mitts, or even fabric for bags, purses and cushions.


Why “Tunisian”? Well, the name is a bit misleading! It’s also been called over the years: Afghan Crochet, Shepherd’s Knitting, German Work, Railway Knitting (named after the girls on the trains going to work in English factories in the 1800s), Russian Work, Tricot Work, and many more. Some believe that the technique evolved from the ‘hook knitting’ of Egypt, Afghanistan, and Tunisia, which uses two long needles with hooked ends. We might guess from the terms ‘Afghan’ and ‘Tunisian’ that it originated in the Near East or northern Africa, but there’s not a lot of evidence to substantiate that. In fact, most believe that the term ‘Tunisian crochet’ was coined by the French. By the early 1800s directions for Tunisian stitches began appearing in publications for crocheters. It was used at the time primarily for blankets, as the dense stitches Tunisian lends itself so well to are ideal for creating warm layers. By the mid-19th century it was practiced in Western Europe and the British Isles (where, some claim, it was known as “Royal Princess Knitting” in honor of Victoria’s use of it). (Thanks to Crochetvolution blog for this fascinating info!).

If you fancy learning being part of the great resurgence of interest in this wonderful craft, our lovely crochet teacher Di Stewart is running a workshop on Tuesday 13th March. There are still some place available so get in touch to book! 01626 836203.

The workshop will teach you the basic stitches and techniques, working towards making a pair of unique Tunisian handwarmers (see below)


Once you’ve mastered the skills, the world is your oyster – here is just a small selection of the type of things you can make using Tunisian Crochet (images from Ravelry.com)



Learn a New Skill this Autumn

The leaves are turning colour, the days are getting shorter…what better way to prepare for winter than learning a few new skills with renowned designer and teacher Anniken Allis at one of our workshops?


Firstly on Tuesday 11th October we have Easy Lace Knitting.

A quick glance at the latest designs in the knitting magazines and online shows that Lace Knitting is more than just a skill – it’s an art form! Whilst it may look complicated, most lace patterns are made up of a handful of stitches which you probably already know. It’s not just for fancy shawls either – you can use lace to add a pretty border on some mitts, as a panel on a summery top, or even on socks and hats!

The workshop will teach you how to read the charts (which provide a visual aid to the written instructions), how to work the stitches and decreases required for lace knitting, how to add beads with a crochet hook, and how to shape within a lace pattern. It’s suitable for adventurous novice and intermediate knitters.


Next up we have an exciting workshop teaching you how to knit Two Socks at a Time, on Tuesday 15th November.

Why would I want to do that, you might ask? Well, did you know that Second Sock Syndrome is rife among sock knitters? The joy of finishing the first sock is replaced by the weary feeling of having to repeat the whole process again. As a result, single socks linger sadly in the knitting bags of many a sock knitter! Beat it by learning how to knit two socks at a time, top-down, using circular needles. You can either use magic loop method or the two circulars method, whichever you are most comfortable with. We stock a dazzling array of sock yarns in the shop – from self striping, colour-shifting, to self-patterning!

Learn how to cast on and arrange your stitches onto the needles, how to work the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset, and all the other skills needed to knit a pair of socks in one go. (Please note, this workshop is suitable for adventurous and intermediate knitters who have knitted at least one pair of basic socks from the top down.)


Both workshops cost £49 for the day, which includes Joyce’s delicious home-cooked lunch and teatime treats. For more information and to book please call 01626 836203, or email us at customerservices@spinayarndevon.co.uk

A little information about Anniken Allis…one of our most long standing teachers at Spin A Yarn, top knitwear designer Anniken specialises in lace knitting, which she loves to add beads to. Growing up in Norway, she learned to knit before she left primary school, knitting continental style. When she moved back to the UK, she resumed knitting, found a love for blogging (follow her adventures at Annis Knitting Blog), and started writing up her own patterns (we still have some of her earliest patterns here in the shop!).

Anniken taught herself lace knitting (and cables) by using online videos, books and magazines, and quickly realised that it was much easier to knit from charts. Her patterns are regularly published in national magazines such as Debbie Bliss, Knitscene, Interweave Knits, and she even achieved her goal of having a pattern published in Vogue Knitting!