Tunisian Crochet and Entrelac

May 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment

One of the best things about Ravelry is that I am always learning about new techniques.  I’m willing to try more complicated patterns because I know that there are over a million people on there, so someone is bound to have the answer to whatever questions I might have.  So, when I saw a pattern for a cute bag using tunisian crochet and it was also an entrelac project I did hesitate – that’s two new techniques in one pattern! – but I knew that I could figure it out.  So after discussing with another woman that neither of us were sure what the starting chain should be, I decided to make a mini-bag as a test.  It didn’t turn out as a bag, but more on that later.

First I had to learn Tunisian Crochet, also called Afghan Crochet.  I was hesitant about this method since it involves having a lot of loops on the hook at the same time.  The fact that you don’t have a ton of loops is exactly why I prefer crochet to knitting, but this project didn’t require buying a longer hook and it wasn’t an overwhelming number of loops (up to 7 at a time).  The basic stitch is essentially a sc2tog done in two steps: first, you pick up loops as you move to the left, then you work back to the right pulling through two loops at a time.  It creates a different look though, and you work through the loop in the front rather than the top.  The most difficult part was definitely re-training myself to not make a chain at the end of every row.  For at least 50% of the project I finished the row, chained at least one and then undid the chains once I looked down and saw front loops beckoning me rather than the familiar V.

Next, once I’d made four squares, I got to experience the full extent of entrelac.  I love it!  The squares look great in alternating colors, it’s much easier than working in pieces and sewing them together.  Really all it involves is working your square starting on the last row of the previous square, and slip stitching into the adjacent square at the end of the row.  It seems reasonable to do with regular crochet, although there aren’t any patterns for entrelac that don’t use tunisian*.  I’d rather work in traditional crochet because I’m much faster at it, I’m sure that’s all about practice, but I have a harder time feeling the tunisian stitches and so I’m not sure I’d get to the point where I could work without looking at the project.  I’ll experiment with single crochet entrelac and get back to you on that.

After a few rows of alternating colors I really looked at what I had.  It’s not a bag, I checked to make sure that I could fit my hand into it before continuing past the first row, but a cylinder just doesn’t say bag to me.  I’m hoping to get to the store tomorrow to buy one of those Pom juices since it may just be the right size to fit.  Then I’ll call my creation a vase cover for the upcylced vase, and I’ll get to drink some delicious juice!

*Edit: I did find a pattern booklet that will explain how to do entrelac with single crochet, so unsuprisingly I’m not the first to think of it.  However, instead of spending $8.00 on a booklet I’ll still be making it up as I go along.  It saves paper and is much more fun!

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