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BOOK REVIEW – The Art of Tunisian Crochet…

I was contacted by the lovely team at ‘Crowood‘ earlier in the year who asked if I’d like to do a new release review. Crowood are a family-run publisher based in rural Wiltshire focusing on areas of interest for hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals. They have an entire craft section dedicated to Knitting, Crochet and Lacemaking with inspiration of all kinds, so do have a look…

This one was of particular interest to me because it’s called ‘The Art of Tunisian Crochet’. Tunisian is a technique I’ve been wanting to dig into and I always love a good book so agreed to get my first impressions down, was sent a copy and here’s what I think…

I had a good feeling about this book as soon as I saw who had written it. Pauline Turner is the creator of Crochet Design and the International Diploma in Accountancy and has been my tutor throughout the course while taking it, helping me to learn the intricacies of crochet and design.

Pauline has years of experience and is a master at explaining new techniques so I knew this was going to be a little gem. And I was right! It’s really opened my eyes to the flexibility of Tunisian Crochet which so often gets pushed to the side as a linear technique and crochet’s answer to Knitting.

The first page that really interested me was all about a stitch called ‘Tunisian Box stitch’. If you’ve dabbled with Tunisian before, you’ll know that it’s the base technique used for entrelac which you can use to create gorgeous gingham and squared projects. But let’s face it, if you want that look, you’re going to have a LOT of loose ends to weave in. If that’s not your thing, this is the stitch for you! It’s a beautiful stitch that creates these beautiful squares in contrasting colours and the best bit? You’ll only have 4 ends to weave in at the end! Great!

Coming to this book, I had quite a lot of ideas about the limitations of Tunisian, whilst it’s a beautiful technique it’s so easy to assume that the long hook only has scope to create thick, flat fabrics. But again, I’m proved wrong by the number of textured stitches included in this book – I’ve tried a small sample of the Tunisian Bobble stitch; a common stitch in the world of crochet, but possible in Tunisian? Absolutely! And the typical thick fabric of the Tunisian technique gives the support needed to make each bobble really pop!

I’m always the first to get my hook out and work up a sample, and there are so many to try in this book, but it’s got some truly stunning projects to try as well. You’ll find a ream of cosy, autumnal, thick projects perfect for the colder seasons and I’ve already added one to my to do list for a lovely little Christmas gift – it’s a slim Tasselled Boa which I think will look amazing in hand dyed variegated yarn. And for all you lazy crocheters, just like me, this one has no tension requirements so you’re free to crack on with no tedious gauge testing!

As a Designer, I hear crafters calling out for step by step photos and written instruction at a granular level right down to each ‘yarn over’ and exactly where to insert your hook, all the time, and those instructions are all in here, as you’d expect from Pauline. Great news for those new to crochet, and if you already have some background knowledge then it helps to know you’re doing it right!

Another stereotype I applied to Tunisian was that it was a linear technique, but it’s just not the case – the book gives you some great ideas for creating circles and hexagons etc that I never knew were possible. I’ve tried a semi circle here:

By now, you’ll know I had a pretty limited view on Tunisian, it’s thick...cosy etc. But I spied this little beauty nestled within the pages and it looks a lot like lace, right? That’s because it is! It’s Tunisian lace, and how beautiful does it look? It’s a delicate spider web lace and works up really quickly as you’d expect from an open form stitch.

Finally, if you know me, you’ll know that I love a pretty floral style design so I couldn’t complete my review without trying this little Claw Stitch. How beautiful would it look as a border detail or part of a stitch sampler, I just love it!

So to sum up, if you’re new to crochet, it’s a great book to extend your knowledge and dip your toes in the vast pool of Tunisian crochet with oodles of samples and eye catching stitches, whilst throwing in some delightful projects for those feeling brave enough to take on a lengthier piece. But be warned - don’t assume you can skip sections, there’s a lot of brought forward knowledge from the early pages of the book that are worked later on without repeated instructions so get your basics down first! Or at least prepare to familiarise yourself with the index for lots of flicking back... 

Stay safe and happy crafting to all! X

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