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  • Two-Color Tunisian Crochet Swatches

    One Color or Two?

    Want to see some stitch patterns change when the yarn color changes?

    The two-color Tunisian crochet swatches are for my class handout (yes, still working on them!). I needed to clearly distinguish the forward row from the return row, so I color-coded them. The one-yarn versions are below their two-color swatches.

    Isn’t it surprising how different the same stitch pattern can look when you alternate yarn colors?

    Sometimes a swatch needs to convey more than words when space is a premium (such as in a class handout).

    Progress update on my crochet conference readiness: only ONE class handout left to send to the tech editor! That’s FOUR down, one to go. My goal is the end of this week. Then you’ll start seeing blog posts of other topics. Like, new Lotus yarn colors. Charleston. Etc.


    • June 8th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Steeked Crochet Scarf: First Look

    First Photos of Today’s Steeked Crochet Scarf

    This afternoon I added four small steeks (cut holes) in a wide Tunisian lace scarf. I’ve had this scarf for years. It’s an old oversized swatch, really. It gave rise to the Mesmer Tunisian Veils pattern and to the Maze Vest that is published in the summer 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet Magazine.

    (If these photos look shadowy, it’s because I took them during Tropical Storm Colin today.)

    Steeked crochet scarf: 4-keyhole Tunisian Mesmer

    Four looks for the Four-Keyhole Steeked Tunisian Net.

    One of my goals has been to create a “keyhole” (steeked) crochet scarf for my July Steeking Tunisian class. A keyhole scarf is just one of many things a steek can offer.

    Instead of crocheting a new one from scratch, I thought of this sequined pink rectangle. It has always been dear to my heart, even though it’s just a bit too small. (The only reason it’s too small is that I was trying to conserve the expensive yarn! I didn’t know then that this Tunisian net stitch uses less yarn than usual.)

    Not only does adding a “keyhole” (a steeked slit) make it easy to wear now, it can be styled so many ways.


    This is Day 18 out of the 50 conference prep days I have until the big event. I can cross this project off my list! I’ve been wanting to turn my pink Mesmer into a steeked crochet scarf for months.

    Today is also the day that Tropical Storm Colin arrived, and I’m happy to report that we’ve gotten off easy with this one (so far). The worst is supposed to be behind us and it has been no big deal. My son did have to miss school today–we couldn’t get onto the mainland. The flooding is minor compared to what it could be, and the wind and rain have been milder than predicted. No power outages so far. We haven’t had to move our car to higher land.

    • June 6th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Starwirbel Class Resources (Spiraling Star Stitches)

    Clickable resources for my 2016 Starwirbel class (How to Shape Spiraling Star Stitches). Includes patterns for designs shown, and inspiration for new projects and variations. Also articles & books recommended in class. Click an image to enlarge it.

    Note: sorry, this class SOLD OUT in April, but keep checking back at the registration page. Sometimes a space opens up. 

    Crochet Patterns & Crochet Alongs:

    Recommended Issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter:

    Starwirbel Class, Blogged:

    Inspiration Boards for this Class

    • June 3rd, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    2010 CGOA Runway: Tunisian Weightless Wrap

    Found this photo I’d forgotten about! It was taken at a crochet conference in 2010. I’m modeling the Tunisian Weightless Wrap because it won an award in the CGOA Design Contest.

    Tunisian Eyelet mesh pattern: "Weightless Wrap"

    2010 CGOA runway photo of Vashti by Doris Chan.

    CGOA Design Contest, 2010

    I think 2010 was the very first year of the contest. It has since become an exciting annual event, thanks to Doris Chan’s tireless efforts in the first 3-4 years of it.

    The Weightless Wrap is the inspiration for one of my longest running crochet classes on Tunisian eyelet meshes. I’ve just completed the 2016 class resource page for it–that’s how I stumbled upon this photo.

    • June 1st, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Steeked Tunisian Lace: Class Resources Page

    A clickable list of resources for my 2016 Steeked Tunisian Crochet Lace class: patterns for designs shown, books mentioned, & articles recommended in class. Also, fashion inspiration for taking this topic in expressive new directions. Click an image to enlarge it.

    Designs & Patterns Shown in Class

    Steeked Tunisian Lace Designs by Others

    The “Fun Fast Fashions” Part!

    The full title of this class is Steek (Cut) Tunisian Crochet Lace for Fun, Fast Fashions. I felt the need to differentiate this topic from steeking knit fair isle sweaters and other existing reasons for steeks. Three strong fashion trends converge in this 3-hour class: Clean net lace, graphic/linear texture, and fringe. I’ve created a Pinterest board for each trend:

    • To Try with Tunisian Crochet Nets (linear, visually directional fabric grain as design element)
    • Steeks: Ideas These are often simple shapes that become magically wearable and trendy with just a steek or two.
    • Trend: the New Fringe (I thought today’s fringe was a passing fad but it continues to have a lot of mojo! That’s great for us. Many steeked Tunisian lace nets beg to be fringed.)
    • Trend: Simple Crochet Mesh Nets It’s a classic fabric with fresh boho looks. It’ll be a long-term trend because it’s also now going urbane-futuristic-techie.

    Recommended issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter:


    Books re: Steeked Tunisian Lace?

    I could find nothing in books about steeking Tunisian crochet, even though it is so fun, easy, and versatile! (If you know of a source, please leave a comment.) Below are a few books that include some extended stitch patterns.

    • 2000 (1991), Rebecca Jones: Tricot Crochet The Complete Book, Lacis Pubs., Berkeley CA. ISBN 978-1-891656-28-6.
      • Offers three interesting variations of the Tunisian extended stitch net I used for Mesmer: “Open Mesh”, “Josephine Stitch”, and “Point de Chantilly”.
      • The author states, “This makes a very open stitch which grows very quickly. It’s a good stitch to use with a long-fibre mohair for scarfs and stoles.”
    • 2004, Angela “ARNie” Grabowski: Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet, LoneStar Abilene Pubg LLC, TX. ISBN 978-0-974972-55-8
      • The author shows several swatches of extended Tunisian stitches! See pages 34-43.
    • 2004, Carolyn Christmas and Dorris Brooks: 101 Easy Tunisian StitchesTM, Annies Attic, IN. ISBN 978-1-931171-74-8
    • 2008: Tunisian Crochet Patterns 100, Nihon Amimono Bunka Kyo-kai, Japan ISBN 978-4-529-04484-4
    • 2009, Kim Guzman: Learn to Do Tunisian Lace Stitches, Annie’s Attic, IN. ISBN 978-1-59635-264-3
    • 2014, Kim Guzman: Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide.
    • June 1st, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Tunisian Extended Stitch Ripple

    Tunisian Extended Stitch

    Rippling Tunisian extended stitch

    Fresh Off the Hook: a Tunisian Extended Stitch Ripple

    I swatched this for the Steeking Tunisian Lace class out of curiosity and as an interesting visual aid. This Tunisian extended stitch can do some very inspiring things, and it’s fun to steek—cut holes into it.

    Imagine steeking this one…I’m seeing a lovely sleeve cap…

    Ok, this only sort counts as class prep on this 6th day of 50 conference prep days. It’s not strictly essential to finishing the class handout, but now I might get design ideas from it in other spare moments. Class prep always generates lots of new design ideas. I revel in this.

    My son had a band concert last night so I swatched it while I waited for the concert to begin. I’ve actually been meaning to try a Tunisian extended stitch ripple ever since I wrote newsletter #49 in 2013.

    • May 25th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Simple Tunisian Lace Nets: Day 2 of 50

    Class Handout Progress: Steeking Tunisian Lace

    The graphic below completes a section of the Steeking Tunisian Lace class handout. The base stitch is Tunisian Extended Stitch, or Tes. This chameleon-like stitch has other names and many variations (see newsletter #49). It’s versatile, slightly odd, and one of my favorites, so I’m delighted to be teaching this class topic for the CGOA conference.

    Here are a few swatches that contrast some of the simplest variations of this Tunisian lace net.

    Simple Tunisian Lace Net Variations

    Four (of many more) ways to vary a simple net lace.

    “Teeks” stands for Tunisian knit stitch extended twice. Easier to say than Tkse².

    I’m also creating a graphic of fancier variations of these nets for comparison (and inspiration!). I plan to pin them to my Pinterest boards like when I swatched and pinned a slew of star stitch variations a few years ago.

    • May 21st, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    How to Increase Tunisian Crochet Stitch Blocks

    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

    How to increase Tunisian crochet: the Half Hitch Method
    A half hitch is simply a loop with a twist in it.

    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

    How to increase Tunisian crochet stitches with the Tfslst Method

    Feel free to choose a loop other than the tinted ones shown. These are the fastest ones for me.

    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 found this Tfslst method after I designed the Five Peaks Shawl with half hitch increases. I used Tfslsts in the Four Peaks Scarf pattern, and most recently in the Warm Aeroette Scarf.

    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.

    How to increase Tunisian crochet steadily at the edges a better way
    Effect of the “squeeze-it-in” method shows in the left swatch. Not recommended for something like a shawl.

    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.

    • November 7th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Yarn Tests for a New Tunisian Crochet Filet Design

    This blog post is third in a short series about the development of a new Tunisian crochet pattern pdf.

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

    1. I needed a good yarn for photo tutorial close ups. I’ve learned that I have the best luck with a single ply yarn. More than one ply could add a possibly distracting texture. I love the look and colors of the purple yarn in the first photo, but its plies worried me.

    A thicker yarn is better for close ups than a skinny one so that their individual fibers don’t show up too much! See the two close ups in the second row.

    A yarn’s colors also matter for Tunisian crochet filet close ups. Strong contrasting color shifts are distracting, but subtle color shifts can be a real plus.

    Soft tonal dyeing makes a stitch or row easier for someone to distinguish right away. It’s easier for my camera too. One solid light color is great for in-person classes, but not always for extreme close ups. Sometimes my camera thinks the stitches are just fuzzy blobs no matter what I do. (Maybe it’s user error, shhhh.)

    2. Wool. I fell in love with my first Tunisian crochet filet design in wool. That would be…Warm Aeroette! (Hence the “warm” part.) Until Aeroette I’d only had Tunisian crochet filet thoughts in bamboo (Ennis), silk (Aero), and cotton (dishcloth test in my Lotus yarn). Traditional filet lace has mostly been a cotton thread kind of crochet project. Maybe that’s why I didn’t reach for the wool.

    I needed to know if I loved Aeroette because the yarn I used is not a thick wooly wool. It’s a fingering weight fine-micron merino wool. Fine-micron merino has an almost silky drape. The thinner fingering weight (like a sock yarn) gives the 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.

    • October 30th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    New Tunisian Crochet Pattern PDF: What Takes So Long?

    This blog post is the second part of a short series about the birth of a new crochet pattern pdf. The third is here.

    Behind the scenes of a new Tunisian crochet pattern

    Pictured is draft #4 of Warm Aeroette Tunisian Crochet Scarf.

    I’m a slow, deliberate pattern publisher. I love crocheting and so I think I chronically underestimate how much work it really is! Not only does a step almost always take longer than I expect – I also don’t always know when I need to recharge. (Each of these is a “step”: a stitch diagram, a photo tutorial, pattern testing, sizing, tech editing, etc.)

    Pattern Draft #4: "Warm Aeroette Tunisian Crochet Scarf."

    Draft #4 of Warm Aeroette Tunisian Crochet Scarf.

    I don’t just call it “Aeroette” because this is a downloadable single pattern. The title needs to tell crocheters (and search engines) as much as possible in one line.

    Three things can slow down new Tunisian crochet patterns for me:

    1. Each design seems to bring unique issues! For Aeroette, starting the scarf in one corner is a biggie. It merits a nice step by step photo tutorial. It’s a rare construction method for Tunisian crochet. Also, the best pattern wording evolves slowly sometimes. For Aeroette I’ve revised the wording of how and where the beginning and ending picots go a few times for clarity. Tunisian crochet pattern language has its own conventions.

    2. Meanwhile, I’m always mulling design details. Doris is the same way and we laugh about this. Maybe I could optimize X, or add Y feature. What about this or that variation? I’d better swatch it in a very different yarn to make sure the design is not dependent on the yarn I’m using.

    3. A third publishing speed bump is how educational it is. Aeroette started out originally as a practice project for a class on the Aero Tunisian Filet Lace Wrap. My goal with Aeroette is that it serve as a new Tunisian crochet skill building experience.

    Sometimes I print a 2-to-a-page draft like you see here, to save paper. To save printer ink, the photos and captions are temporarily tiny. Most images are step-by-step tutorial photos that will all go on a back page. That will make printing them optional to save everyone’s printer ink.

    Update: Downloadable PDF for the new Tunisian crochet Warm Aeroette Scarf is officially in the shop.

    • October 27th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

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