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Tunisian on the Diagonal: Class Resources

Official image for the 2018 Tunisian on the Diagonal class, Chain Link Conference, Portland OR
Final update of this page is in progress, please check backView the high-res image. This is a conveniently clickable group of things I mention and display in Tunisian Crochet on the Diagonal classes. I teach the next one on July 27, 2018 in Portland OR.  I show a huge amount of published and unpublished crochet designs in this class including new, never seen! Each illustrates the stitches and techniques learned.   — Vashti Braha

 

Thinking of signing up for this class? I wrote New Angle on Diagonal Tunisian, and newsletter issue #93, with you in mind.

Diagonal Tunisian Crochet Patterns

Recommended Issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter

Blogged It

Photo Albums & Inspiration Boards

Recommended Sites

All about the “Half-Hitch” stitch

  • Quick how-to video (Backward Loop Cast On is the same as a half hitch stitch.)
  • See the CAL discussion thread listed above.

Getting Geeky About the Geometry of Diagonal Tunisian

Any Books on Diagonal Tunisian?

Not that I’m aware of. Here are my three favorite Tunisian crochet references in print:

  • 2008: Tunisian Crochet Patterns 100, Nihon Amimono Bunka Kyo-kai, Japan ISBN 978-4-529-04484-4
  • 2000 (1991), Rebecca Jones: Tricot Crochet The Complete Book, Lacis Pubs., Berkeley CA. ISBN 978-1-891656-28-6
  • 2004, Angela “ARNie” Grabowski: Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet, LoneStar Abilene Pubg LLC, TX. ISBN 978-0-974972-55-8

The Five Peaks Tunisian Crochet Shawl design in the news & around the ‘net

I created this resource list for my students & others to explore the Five Peaks Tunisian crochet shawl, and similar start-in-a-corner, edge-as-you-go L-shaped wraps.

Inspiring Features, Examples, and Variations of the Five Peaks L-Shape

  • Doris Chan’s Fairlane
  • Nicky Epstein’s __
  • Barry Klein’s _

Yarn Tests for a New Tunisian Crochet Filet Design

How to Increase Tunisian Crochet Stitch Blocks

Preview: Aery Faery Lacy Tunisian Crochet Scarf

2010 CGOA Runway: Tunisian Weightless Wrap

Two-Color Tunisian Crochet Swatches

Tunisian Crochet Books for Research

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Flowerfall Vest Update

Flowerfall Vest is a versatile shape that can be worn several different ways. Nine shown here.

Remember my Crochet Class in a Vest blog post about a week ago? I’m happy to report that Flowerfall is progressing nicely through the pattern writing obstacle course. View full size image.

Snip & Unzip An Armhole Mini-Video

Watch me open the armholes after I finished crocheting the lace: Snip & Unzip An Armhole. These self-healing stitches don’t mind being cut. It’s the low-stress way to create armholes. Really! Much easier than breaking the crochet flow to place them correctly.

Special Shape

Flowerfall is a modified diamond shape: imagine a diamond with its top and bottom corners lopped off. You start crocheting the shape at the left front corner and end at the right front corner.

When you wear it upside down, the hem ends at a different place and the amount of fabric in the collar changes. (It’s also reversible.)

The armholes are generous and not centered, which increases its wearable ways. You can even treat the armholes like head openings. That results in a poncho look, see the bottom images.

An older design, the Leftfield Diamond, is the first time I crocheted this shape. That’s when I found out how versatile it is.

Side-Tied Waist Option

See the top right-hand image above? There’s a hint of a tie belt at the waist. It inspired me to add ties to the front corners for a wrap belt option. These are removable and repositionable, with a petal-like accent that echoes the chained petals in the stitch pattern. I don’t have photos of them yet.

You can keep up with Flowerfall at its project page. It’ll work out great for at least two of my class topics: 21st Century Love Knot Adventures and Self-Healing Stitches & How to Cut Them.

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New Angle on Diagonal Tunisian

A diagonal corner of the Four Peaks scarf.

I put off writing about the Tunisian on the Diagonal class because I kept feeling like I had nothing to say, but also too much! Here’s another paradox: I feel like I’ve been teaching this class since 2010 and yet I never have, exactly. How can all of this be true?

I figured it out after writing the section about its 2009 roots below. Crocheting Tunisian diagonally is a huge topic based upon simple and powerful principles. Vary one thing a little, factor in some momentum, and everything ends up dramatically different.

I’ve taught big sections of this. The 2018 class will be the master class. (It’s great for all skill levels, thanks to the “simple principles” part I just mentioned.)

For contrast, travel back to 2009 with me for a bit.

2009 Tunisian Increase Methods

Nine years ago my first diagonal crochet design happened: the Five Peaks Shawl prototype. (The pattern was published in 2010 in Interweave Crochet Magazine).

Left triangular swatch is starting to curl along one edge. Other triangle is symmetrical with nice drape.
Effect of the “squeeze-it-in” method shows in the left swatch. Not recommended for a shawl.

 There was almost nothing on diagonal Tunisian crochet from corner to corner, or “C2C”. With C2C you increase steadily along both row ends to widen, then decrease steadily until you end at the opposite corner.

The default increase method back then didn’t have a symmetrical, polished drape. I blogged about it (and the photo at right) in June 2009 because that’s when I was working out the increase method for the Five Peaks Shawl.

2009 Tunisian Hook Choices

Tunisian crochet hooks larger than size 6.0 mm (J) were scarce in any style and length, whether straight, flexible, double-ended, short, or long. When you found one, you put up with whatever its material, surface finish, and hook shape was. Remember that?

My options were either a long straight 6.5 mm (K) or a discontinued 9 mm (“M/N”) flexible hook from eBay. I needed a size between these two. Too bad!

Back then, publishers needed designers to use crochet hooks that were commonly available in stores. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sell the Five Peaks pattern to a magazine. Fortunately, Tunisian hook choices were improving. Only three months later I blogged “Heaven is a Crochet Hook for Every Need”. Nowadays I keep a range of Tunisian hook sizes and lengths.

The Evolving Tunisian Crocheter

We Tunisian crocheters have been enjoying a renaissance for our craft! It had barely started in 2009. Back then, most crocheters still assumed the nature of Tunisian crochet was to be thick, kind of stiff, and with a stubborn curl. Not something that could cascade and swing from the shoulders like a waterfall, or look like a lacy weightless veil.

Each time I’ve taught a Tunisian crochet class since 2010, the students bring more skills and experience to the room. Newer Tunisian crocheters understand things faster. This became really noticeable around 2013. 

Five Peaks classes were the first I taught on diagonal Tunisian crochet. It was ahead of its time in 2009. Since then I’ve learned to start every Tunisian topic with a quick review of the relevant basics. People of all skill levels seem to welcome this. It seems to pull together and standardize the new things everyone is learning from different designers. 

For 2018 I’m excited to be starting out with a review of a different set of basics because when we crochet Tunisian on the diagonal, there are clues we can be looking for but may not recognize for awhile. Things may look wrong for awhile and yet be so, so right. 

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A Crochet Class in a Vest

The first corner of a hanky-hem love knot mesh vest in spring sunshine.
View full size image.

Want to see what I’m working on? This will be Flowerfall, a hanky-hem waterfall vest that I can wear when I teach 21st Century Love Knot Adventures this July in Portland, Oregon. I’m now two-thirds done.

Several Class Skills in a Vest

I’m designing Flowerfall to be a visual aid for several skill levels. I’ll also be adding the pattern to my shop for those who can’t attend the class.

Love Knot Beginner Skills

Another view of this diamond mesh would be the love knot sections of Lovelace. (It’s so iconic that the stitch is synonymous with the mesh in some how-to sources from the 1800’s to now.) Then, compare it with the Electra Wrap’s triangular love knot mesh.

For Students With a Bit of Experience

  • How to increase and decrease this mesh, and add picots as one way to finish the edges as you go.
  • The when, why, and the how-to: making love knots with slip stitches instead of single crochets (UK: dc).
  • My new favorite way to keep love knots from loosening later if the yarn is slippery.
  • A new way to crochet into love knots that I recommend for a project like this one.

For Those With More Experience

  • How to do corner to corner (C-2-C) love knot mesh in which you start in one corner and end in the opposite one.
  • How to sprinkle in other stitches with the classic love knot mesh to create lacy new stitch patterns!

Multi-Purpose Visual Aids = Ideal

This is my seventh year shipping teaching aids across the USA for crochet classes. I teach four to six different topics per event. Visual aids are everything! I always end up with a lot of crochet items to ship.

In the past few years I’ve started designing class items that combine several points of information in one. Not only do I cut down on the shipping this way, it’s a fun design challenge. I also love coming up with how a design for one class topic can double or triple as a visual aid for other topics I’m also teaching.

Self-Healing Stitch Alert

An example of this is I’ll be adding armholes to Flowerfall by cutting them open. Know what this means? It’ll also be a great visual aid for the Self Healing Stitches and How to Cut Them class! I might even bring it to the Tunisian on the Diagonal class if I don’t make a Tunisian one in time. Even though Flowerfall isn’t Tunisian, it’s an example of an easy shape to crochet from corner to corner in any stitch. (Flowerfall is even relevant to my slip stitch classes. It’s the first design I’ve done with slip stitch love knots.)

I’ll post again about this design so that you can see its modified diamond shape, how its armholes happen, and different ways to wear it. I’m smitten ? . Flowerfall’s Flickr album has three photos so far.

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Yarn Tests for a New Tunisian Crochet Filet Design

Yarn tests for stitch close up photos: color, plying, thickness, etc.
This blog post is third in a short series about the development of a new Tunisian crochet pattern pdf.

Two kinds of yarn tests.

I did two kinds of yarn tests for my new Tunisian crochet filet scarf (first blogged here).

#1. For Tutorial Close Ups

I’ve learned to take three things into account: the yarn’s plying, color, and thickness.

Yarn plies: I have the best luck with a single ply yarn. More than one ply can add a distracting texture, especially in close ups. I love the look and colors of the purple yarn in the first photo, but its plies worried me. (Each individual ply of this unusual 100% cashmere yarn is twisted, but there’s no twist holding them all together.)

The color(s): Yarn colors also matter for Tunisian crochet filet close ups. A single light color shows texture depth the best. I tend to avoid variegated yarns, with exceptions here and there.

Extreme close up of a good quality crochet thread makes it look old and hairy.
Opera crochet thread is known for its polished, silky beauty. This extreme close up is not its best look.

Subtle color shifts can be a real plus with Tunisian crochet, though! I think this might be because it helps the eye distinguish forward pass loops from return pass loops. (Four Peaks images are good examples of this. Strong contrasting color shifts would normally be distracting. This isn’t the case for Four Peaks because of the small, fine-grained Tunisian simple stitches.)

Yarn weight: If I’m taking close up photos, and the camera has a good zoom lens, why does it matter how thin or thick the yarn is? How about using a crisp crochet thread? I discovered the hard way that I have better luck with a thick yarn. With thread and skinny yarns, the individual fibers show up too much in each loop. Even slight fuzziness is magnified. It makes the yarn or thread look old, shaggy, and worn out.

#2. A Winter Yarn

I fell in love with my first Tunisian crochet filet design in wool. That would be…Warm Aeroette! (Hence the “warm” part.) Traditional filet lace has mostly been a cotton thread kind of crochet project. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think of wool at first.

Until Aeroette I’d only had Tunisian crochet filet thoughts in bamboo (Ennis), silk (Aero), and cotton (dishcloth test in my Lotus yarn). It’s thanks to Warm Aeroette that I discovered how nice Four Peaks is is in a toasty aran-weight wool.

I needed to test with classic wool yarn to know Aeroette better. Could it work in something other than Aero’s fancy silk? Unlike Four Peaks, the wool yarn I used isn’t thick; it’s a fingering/sock weight fine-micron merino wool. (Fine-micron merino has a lot in common with cashmere.)

Thin fingering weight gives the tall Tunisian filet stitches a fine-grained texture. In a thick wool like the Mochi Plus (blue photo above), the filet-style lacy eyelets could look clunky or lumpy as a scarf. Would be a lovely afghan border though!