Book Review: The New Tunisian Crochet by Dora Ohrenstein

The New Tunisian Crochet

Dora Ohrenstein has written another fabulous book, this time on the subject of Tunisian crochet: The New Tunisian Crochet (Amazon Associate link), published by Interweave Press/F+W Media (list price $24.95, current Amazon price $18.62). I love Dora’s books because not only does she provide in-depth discussion on the techniques she uses, she also delves into the fascinating history behind the technique. This book delivers on both counts and also features a stitch dictionary featuring 33 Tunisian stitches and 11 Tunisian patterns (scroll down to see photos of each project). Let’s get started taking a look through this book.

The book opens with “Chapter 1: What Is Tunisian Crochet?” We might be forgiven for thinking that the term “Tunisian” means that this crochet technique originated in Tunisia. Dora’s research shows this not to be the case, however. She provides much interesting information on how the technique first seemed to be used and the different names given to the technique through the years. Dora has uncovered a clue on the origination of the use of the term Tunisian to describe this technique, but you’re going to have to read the book yourself to get that information!

Chapter Two takes the reader through in-depth discussion of various Tunisian crochet techniques. In addition to covering the basic Tunisian stitches, Dora provides instruction on increasing, decreasing, using extended, tall, and textured stitches, how to limit curling and biasing, and a fabulous on tip on avoiding that troublesome loose first stitch. Dora also walks you through creating a few sample swatches to introduce you to the unique aspects of Tunisian crochet.

Dora next discusses the many tools currently available for Tunisian crochet. If you’ve been crocheting for awhile, you probably remember seeing the 14″ to 18″ crochet hooks that resembled a knitting needle with a hook on one end and a stopper on the other. For many years, that was the only Tunisian tool available. Due to recent popularity of this technique, there are now many other options available. Dora provides a great resource listing for these new tools, with links to each company’s website. (My personal vote is for the Knitter’s Pride Dreamz interchangeable Tunisian hooks. I love these wooden hooks so much, I use them for regular crochet projects as well.)

Chapter Four covers a number of special effects you can achieve with Tunisian crochet. Dora shows how you can make a circle with the short row technique, a technique that is useful for many other types of crochet as well. Dora also provides instruction for stranded colorwork and checkboard patterning. The Entrelac technique is incredibly popular in the knitting world, and Dora provides detailed instruction on how to achieve the same look with Tunisian.

If you’ve tried Tunisian in the past, perhaps you’re ready to take your skills to the next level. Or perhaps you’re a very adventurous Tunisian newbie who wants to experiment with many different stitches from solid to textured to open lacework. Chapter 5 provides you with 33 different stitches for your experimenting pleasure. A close-up color photo is provided for each stitch as well as written instructions and a chart.

Dora has saved the best for last in Chapter 6: 11 Tunisian projects designed by Dora and 7 other crochet designers known for their Tunisian work. I haven’t made any of these projects yet, so I can’t discuss the quality of the actual instructions. But if Dora’s other books are anything to go by, the instructions will be clear and easy to understand, once you’ve become familiar with all the special terms used in Tunisian crochet. Let’s get a look at these fabulous designs!

Copyright disclaimer: All photos are © Joe Hancock for Interweave Press. All rights reserved. Photos used with permission.

Marisol Cardigan
Marisol Cardigan by Andrea Graciarena
Mago Vest
Mago Vest by Charles Voth
Rivuline Shawl
Rivuline Shawl by Vashti Braha
Shantay Skirt
Shantay Skirt by Doris Chan
Lorelei Pullover
Lorelei Pullover by Dora Ohrenstein
Terra Hat & Mitts
Terra Hat and Mitts by Lily Chin
Ariadne Sampler Throw
Ariadne Sampler Throw by Lisa Daehlin
Natalia Scarf
Natalia Scarf by Dora Ohrenstein
Sierra Bag
Sierra Bag by Margaret Hubert
Eleanora Booties
Eleanora Booties by Dora Ohrenstein
Najmee Rug
Najmee Rug by Dora Ohrenstein

I am really looking forward to experimenting with the different stitch patterns Dora has provided in this book. I also think I’ll be adding the Lorelei Pullover and Shantay Skirt to my project queue.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the review and that it will convince you to add this book to your own crochet reference library.

This review has also been posted on the Crochetville community forum. Please come check out and participate in the conversation over there.

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