Today’s post is about how to increase tunisian crochet at those tricky row ends!
These are winning methods because they don’t limit how many stitches you can increase at a time. (Please see issue #64 of my newsletter for more). This means I can smoothly add big lacy spaces and whole blocks of solid stitch repeats where I wish in Tunisian crochet. This is something I’ve always loved about regular crochet.
Method #1. How to increase Tunisian crochet stitches with the Half Hitch method
The simple little loop shown in this first photo is used to crochet limpets. It’s best known as the simple/single/backwards loop cast on in knitting. It’s also used in tatting and in macramé. This video* shows half hitches being added to a knitting. This is how I do it and I’ve really picked up speed.
*Scroll past the first one (“Long-Tail Cast-On”) to the one called “Single Cast-On Also Known As Backward-Loop Cast-On.”
In my original 2009 blog post about this method I use a pair of them as a double half hitch (dhh). Any number of half hitches can also be used singly for shaping Tunisian crochet.
Method #2. How to increase Tunisian crochet stitches with the Tunisian Foundation Slip Stitch method
At the end of your Forward Pass, insert hook in one side loop of the end stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop. Then chain the number of stitches you wish to add. I chained four in this second photo. Then take the last loop off of your hook; your stitches should resemble those in the photo.
Then, insert your hook under one loop of the first chain (tinted pink) and leave on your hook. Repeat with each remaining chain; then put the live loop back on your hook, as described in the caption.
I love having both of these methods to choose from, depending on the project.
They are probably interchangeable enough that you could use the one you prefer. (More on that in the newsletter.)
The most important thing is to choose a method that doesn’t impose a limit!
Often when someone asks in a forum how to increase Tunisian crochet stitches, the advice is to squeeze them in. Typically this means adding a stitch in another loop just behind or next to another stitch. This method is fine if you’re replacing a stitch that you accidentally decreased in an earlier row. If you think of basic Tunisian crochet fabric as a grid, space was already reserved for the missing stitch, and you’re just filling it back in.
The Squeeze-it-in: my least favorite shaping method.
The Squeeze-it-in method has limits. It’s okay for just a rare stitch here and there, and away from the edges. In other words, as an “internal” shaping method. I don’t mean to impose rigid rules. Depending on the project, yarn type, and hook size, squeezing in new stitches whenever you wish may come out fine.
For me, this shaping method often interferes with my goal of a languid, swaying drape for Tunisian crochet accessories. When I consider how to increase Tunisian crochet edges for a new design, Squeeze-me-in is last on my list.