|Extreme Shaping with Tunisian Crochet
I've been looking for a portal to other Tunisian crochet dimensions since 2009. The two increasing methods I've been testing are not secrets and I didn't invent them. They're so underused, though, that I wanted to be sure of them.
Tunisian crochet can be tricky. It can bias, loosen unevenly, and be very stretchy except for where it's completely inelastic. Dramatic shaping can amplify these qualities.
It makes sense that a good increasing method for Tunisian crochet brings out the best in the blend of stitches, yarn, and gauge used, doesn't it? When it's this and more, I start to get excited.
I blogged how to do two "no limits" increase methods at my blog today. Also see Marty Miller's new Foundation Stitches class in Craftsy, and keep Tunisian crochet in the back of your mind as you watch it! Marty's class is full of original material, distilled from her years of teaching classes on foundation and extended stitches. (The Craftsy class is a bargain.)
"Stable" Crochet Fabric
Ideally, no matter how much and where stitches are increased, it's a "stable" fabric. This means it won't change oddly over time - it won't "grow," and it won't start to bias. It won't get stringy. It won't reveal a built-in uneven tension that has to be aggressively blocked out every time it's washed, humid outside, or the cat sleeps on it.
A stable fabric also feels good while I'm crocheting it. I don't enjoy feeling an unbalanced quality in the fabric with my fingers, even if I don't see it or it can be blocked out.
This isn't unique to Tunisian crochet. Some antique crochet patterns seem unbalanced. Aggressive blocking and starching force them look the way they're intended to (based on the illustrations).
Filet Crochet: A Good Test
Pictured at near right: 3 Tunisian increase methods. The middle one is too thick for this pattern. The horizontal stitches of the top one are a bit too lean to match the rest of the fabric.
Filet crochet is all about binary groups of stitches. You have your open "spaces" and your solid "blocks." The logic of it is that each space or block represents, say, four stitches. Four tall stitches make a block. Two chains sandwiched by two tall stitches make a space. (You can make the tall stitches taller or shorter, and use groups of 3 or 5 stitches instead of 4 by changing the number of chains between the tall stitches of a space.)
So if you wish to increase a block or space at the end of a row, you're actually increasing a group of stitches. The filet-inspired Warm Aeroette Scarf is my final test of the Tfslst increase method, in wool. It's a beautifully stable fabric!
I'd like to single out these authors for including my favorite no-limits Tunisian increase methods! Tunisian foundation slip stitch:
Kim Werker and Cecily Keim (2011): Teach Yourself Visually Crochet 2nd ed; Donna Kooler (2002): Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet.
Half hitch increase:
Angela Grabowski (Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet, 2004); Rebecca Jones (Tricot Crochet 1991).
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