Tunisian Crochet Design, a Guest Post from Sharon Silverman

tunisian crochet baby

Sharon Silverman has a new book out, Tunisian Crochet for Baby, and I’m thrilled to be a stop on its blog tour. She’s dropping by today with a guest post to tell us all a little bit more about designing with Tunisian crochet.

Why Tunisian Crochet?

“My first experience with Tunisian crochet was when I saw it in a stitch dictionary and gave it a try. I was immediately drawn to the craft for two reasons: One, it was fun! Two, I am only a so-so knitter, and here was a way to create fabric that looked knit or woven, without pointy needles. Wow!”

Getting Better with the Craft

tunisian crochet for baby

Zippered Hoodie from Tunisian Crochet for Baby

“Understanding the structure and architecture of stitches in in any yarn craft is helpful during the design process and when following a published pattern. Asking a series of questions is a good place to start, and it’s the way by which I deepened my understanding of Tunisian crochet.

(For anyone who is not familiar with Tunisian, the big difference between it and regular crochet is that in Tunisian, loops are added to the hook all the way across a row, and worked off in the other direction. Stitches are linked horizontally as well as row-to-row. The work is never turned.)

What is happening when you wrap the yarn around the hook? How are the stitches connected? What makes them shorter or taller? What is the best number of stitches to skip between shells? Do things look the same on both sides or not? When using several solid colors, how do different stitch patterns look?

As I explore these questions, I go back and forth between the garment or project I have in mind, and thoughts about which stitches and yarns would work. Through this iterative process I’m able to narrow down my ideas.”

tunisian crochet for baby

Entrelac Crochet Blanket from Tunisian Crochet for Baby

Putting Together A Tunisian Crochet Book

“For a book, there are additional considerations. Not only does each project have to stand on its own, but the book has to be coherent–yet also have a lot of variety. Skill levels, yarn weights, types of projects…these don’t exist in a vacuum. Before I crocheted one stitch for Tunisian Crochet for Baby, I turned to the excellent worksheet in Shirley Paden’s Knitwear Design Workshop. Filling out one of those for each idea helped me make sure I was including lots of different colors, several types of projects, things that could be made quickly and things that would take longer, and so on. I hope I meet Shirley sometime, I would like to shake her hand! Her worksheet has become an indispensable planning tool for me.

Once I had all of the projects specified, it was time to swatch. It is essential to listen to the yarn, because things don’t always work out as planned. Many times I have tried a beautiful stitch pattern in a beautiful yarn only to find out that they look not-so-beautiful together. Sometimes the variegations pooled in an unattractive way. Other times the yarn was so busy that it obscured the stitch definition I was going for. Once in a while the yarn was the wrong weight for what I had in mind. These challenges can be an opportunity to switch the yarn with one I had originally considered for a different project, or simply to find a product that works better. I go back to the worksheets first to make sure that any change is consistent with the overall plan. For example, if I already chose blue yarn for a project, I don’t want to do another pattern in the same color.

After I’m satisfied with the yarn choices, I work out the patterns on a spreadsheet I got by taking Kim Guzman’s excellent online Pattern Grading (sizing) course. Even for projects like blankets that come in only one size, using the spreadsheet is extremely helpful. It requires some time and concentration to input all of the specifics in the worksheet, but it saves a tremendous amount of time in the long run. An additional benefit is that if a question comes up about a pattern years from now, the spreadsheet will help me answer it.”

crochet overalls

Strappy pants from Tunisian Crochet for Baby

And More …

“I love learning new things. Tunisian crochet gives me the chance to do that every day. It is an ideal time to learn—fabulous new patterns are being published all the time! There are a lot of great resources available, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of them. The Tunisian crochet groups on Yahoo and Ravelry are good places to start. Check out the video tutorials on YouTube as well. Happy crocheting!”

About Sharon Silverman

Sharon Silverman is a designer, author, and instructor based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. This is her seventh crochet title, with several more in the works. She is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. You can find her through her website ; on Ravelry at CrochetSharon; and on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet. Silverman is also the author of several travel guidebooks and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She currently writes the “Shop!” column for The Hunt Magazine, a Brandywine Valley lifestyle publication. She and her husband are the parents of two college-age sons.

I have previously reviewed her books Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets and Crochet Scarves: Fabulous Fashions – Various Techniques Diary of a Month Spent Crocheting Sharon Silverman Scarves.

Follow this Crochet Book Tour

September 2, Meet the Author at Craft Gossip

September 8, Peppermint Mocha Mama

September 9, CraftFoxes

September 10, Mini Interview at Underground Crafter

September 12, Happily Hooked

September 15, Poetry in Yarn

September 17, Hooked on Crafting

September 19, CraftLit

September 23, Crochet Queen’s Royal Ramblings

September 25, Ambassador Crochet

September 26, Karen Whooley

September 29, I Hook Design

September 30, Not Your Granny’s Crochet

October 1, The Crochet Architect

October 2, Crochet Cafe/Cute Crochet Chat

October 3, Celtic Knot Crochet

October 6, Amy Solovay

October 7, Crochet with Dee

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