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Tunisian 'Grid' on the Diagonal: New Edges
Burly Mens Scarf in Tss for BeginnersIf you knew only one Tunisian crochet stitch, wouldn’t it be the Tunisian simple stitch (Tss)? Pictured at left is Burly, a typical Tss scarf pattern for beginning crocheters. The Tss stitch is easy to learn even for non-crocheters, thanks to its attractive grid-like structure. Tss is so fun and fabulous twenty different ways that many people are content to use it for all of their Tunisian projects.

In the first photo above, every row is the same length. In the next two photos, the same stitch is started in one corner, and then more stitches are added at each edge in each new row. 
symmetrical Tss on the diagonal
I’ve been wrestling with The Tss Grid. I merely wanted an all-purpose way to go 45º with the easiest stitch ever...symmetrically [cough]. I thought my goal would be easy to accomplish within a week, but it took an intense three. I’ve published the first happy results as a free pattern! (See right column, below.)
Biased Forces Hidden in the Grid
Due to undercurrents of asymmetry, Tss fabric can seem uncooperative for dramatic and freeform shapes. Rows might slant (bias) to one side while tilting (curling) to the front or back. What little stretch Tss has is also uneven: the first stitch (edge) of each new row is naturally looser and stretchier than the last stitch (edge). The inelasticity of the return pass horizontal bars is another factor.
Rotating the Tunisian "grid" 45º destabilizes it, and also brings buried asymmetries to the surface, especially along the edges. It is so exciting! Maddening! Exhilarating! Normally static horizontal bars now dynamically drape and stripe on the bias. Our beloved Tss stitch is freed up to do even more...with the right tweaks.
Diagonal Tunisian Edges Tested
After searching in over 100 Tunisian crochet sources for edge shaping methods, I found eight. I swatched them in simple Tss diamond shapes. Common shaping methods don't work as well for diagonal Tunisian because most left-edge shaping either doesn't look the same or stretch the same (or both) as the right edge.

I swatched 50 more edges using every method I could think of. I’m finding that the same shaping method can give a wildly different look and flexibility level to each of the four types of edges: left increases + left decreases + right increases + right decreases.  

I now suspect that the number of possible Tunisian edge-shaping methods is infinite (far more than eight). Some edges look lacy, some are elastic, and others have a thick, decorative texture. Exciting, isn’t it? 
From among these edge swatches I found a match of four compatible edges in terms of elasticity and a uniformly plain, solid texture. I used them for the new 'Symmetrical Diamond 101' pattern. It’s free because it's a good introduction to a symmetrically diagonal Tss that is also self-edging. It’s also a great first step toward understanding how the Four and Five Peaks designs work (and several other designs I have in mind!).
I have a promising set of four diamond edges that have a purposely decorative beady-bobble texture. I’m still tweaking it because it buckles a bit. You can see it in the topmost right column photo.
Four Peaks Scarf
My ideal Tunisian shaping options would offer a nuanced array of benefits: selvage-like nicely finished edges that make additional edgings optional. All edges look like they go together so that one edge is not lacy or stringy if another edge is ridgy and thick. Most importantly for polished clothing designs, all edges stretch and drape equal to each other, symmetrically. Hems and seams of cardigans are even without aggressive blocking. A large Tunisian triangle shape, such as a shawl, drapes with straight sleek points.

That's it for #48! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti
Tangential Adventures
Found! New Increasing and decreasing combinations for polished Tunisian edges.
Symmetrical Diamond 101 Free Pattern!
These are left increases and decreases in dishcloth cotton.

Left increases symmetrical and not!
The asymmetrical triangle on the left is hampered by traditional incr

I used to assume that the standard shaping methods in crochet books worked for all shapes (small motifs in thick yarn AND large wearable shapes in thin slinky yarns).

Crocheting from one corner and then adding stitches at the edges of each row should yield a true triangle. Add more stitches per row for a wider (oblique) triangle or fewer for a narrow (acute) one, right? And shouldn't decreasing the same amount of stitches result in a nice diamond shape? 
It doesn't really, especially not with Tunisian crochet. Biasing rows need extra ease and flex to accommodate changing stitch counts at diagonal angles. In regular crochet designs, I usually add turning chains and taller edge stitches. (See this newsletter issue "Crochet That Pours" on that.)

It's symmetrical!
It's symmetrical. Simple. Diagonal. Tunisian. Hooray!

Links I Enjoyed This Week
Crochetville's NatCroMo Blog Tour with special surprises. I wanted to join the bloggers but at planning time I was buried in diagonal Tunisian swatches :-)

DesigningVashti News
YESSymmetrical Diamond 101: Simple Diagonal Tunisian Rows That Work. Some quick and simple projects for this symmetrical square on a 45-degree bias:
Yes it's a pearl-edged cushion: "Princess Pearl Diamond Wrist Rest"(It's a wrist rest for when I'm at the computer, like right now. The pearls are part of the effect.) 
Any yarn, any hook size, 
any finished dimensions, because YOU decide when to start decreasing to complete your diamond. These are Face Diamonds: reusable make up remover pads.
Face Diamonds

I especially enjoyed using the self-striping sock yarns in my stash.

DORIS blogged about this newsletter and she gets a big cyber hug for that!
I wasn't home when she emailed me for a photo for her blog entry. Here's one I just found from 2006! That's Tammy Hildebrand in the middle. Valley Forge, PA.
Vashti, Tammy Hildebrand, Doris Chan 2006
Like Crochet Inspirations: Diagonal Tunisian Crochet Discovery on Facebook
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Subscribe to this newsletter. Vashti Braha is a professional crochet designer & teacher who resides in Florida (USA). She writes 100% of each issue and emails it to subscribers
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