KatKnap Photo Tutorial: Mid-Row Color Change in The Tunisian Simple Stitch with Two Colors

Tunisian Tapestry Work

The first time I ever tried Tunisain Crochet, I honestly didn't much see the point. It wasn't until a trip to my mother's to start my Ten-Stitch Blanket (which you can find in this post) that I began to really dig into the craft. After I started to look for more information, I found two things: 

1.) There wasn't much information out there on Tunisian Crochet. Certainly not as much information, patterns, stitch combinations, etc. as there are on Traditional Crochet.

2.) My favorite part of crochet, tapestry or graphghan work, is amazingly beautiful in Tunisian Crochet. The biggest irritant revolving around tapestry crochet is that the different balls or spools of colors get terribly tangled, but when working the forward and return passes of Tunisian Crochet, the spools or balls actually disentangle themselves from one another during the return pass!

Check out the inspiration behind piece that I demonstrate with in these pictures on this post about the Fall 2017 Art With Fabric Blog Hop hosted by Alida at TweloQ!

Mid-Row Color Change In The Tunisian Simple Stitch

Forward Pass

Following your chart or pattern, begin pulling up loops until the chart or pattern call for a change in color. In Traditional Crochet, the stitch would be stopped in the middle, and then the new color would be pulled through before moving on to the next color. In Tunisian Crochet, the color change occurs during the forward pass and the new color is pulled up through the next vertical bar.

Following your chart or pattern, begin pulling up loops until the chart or pattern call for a change in color. In Traditional Crochet, the stitch would be stopped in the middle, and then the new color would be pulled through before moving on to the next color. In Tunisian Crochet, the color change occurs during the forward pass and the new color is pulled up through the next vertical bar.

Before the loop is pulled up with the second color, in this case changing from white to black...

Before the loop is pulled up with the second color, in this case changing from white to black...

...the working color must move over and behind the second color...

...the working color must move over and behind the second color...

...this "locks" the colors together and avoids there being big holes in the final work after the return pass.

...this "locks" the colors together and avoids there being big holes in the final work after the return pass.

After the strands are locked together, the second color can be pulled through the very next vertical bar and the loop reserved on the hook for the return pass. 

After the strands are locked together, the second color can be pulled through the very next vertical bar and the loop reserved on the hook for the return pass. 

When the next color change comes about, lock the strands again, and pull up the next loop. 

When the next color change comes about, lock the strands again, and pull up the next loop. 

In this piece, I am only working with two colors, but I am also only working with two balls or spools, and this calls for the question, "How do we carry our yarn through the work in order to continue with that color on the other side of the work?"

In this piece, I am only working with two colors, but I am also only working with two balls or spools, and this calls for the question, "How do we carry our yarn through the work in order to continue with that color on the other side of the work?"

Carrying Color And A Neat Wrong Side

After the strands are locked, the non-working yarn will stay to the right of your forward pass unless you carry it along the work, and that leaves long strings on the wrong side of the work. To avoid these long strands on the back of the work and also to carry the colors across the work inconspicuously, the wrong-side string should be tacked down along side of the carried color when loops are being pulled up during the forward pass. 

Insert the hook through the vertical loop, and then also insert the loop under the wrong-side string. If the previous color needs to be carried along with this, bring the strand of the previous color and lay it alongside the wrong-side string. This will "tack down" those wrong side strands.  

Insert the hook through the vertical loop, and then also insert the loop under the wrong-side string. If the previous color needs to be carried along with this, bring the strand of the previous color and lay it alongside the wrong-side string. This will "tack down" those wrong side strands.  

Pull up the loop onto the hook, continue the forward pass for another three or four stitches, and then "tack down" the wrong-side string and previous color again. 

Pull up the loop onto the hook, continue the forward pass for another three or four stitches, and then "tack down" the wrong-side string and previous color again. 

By working with this technique, the wrong-side of the work stays neat and tidy instead of stringy, and the previous color and be pulled through the work allowing for less weaving work at the end of the piece. 

By working with this technique, the wrong-side of the work stays neat and tidy instead of stringy, and the previous color and be pulled through the work allowing for less weaving work at the end of the piece. 

Return Pass

The return pass is worked much like the return pass of most other Tunisian Crochet projects. Work a ch 1 by pulling the working yarn through the first reserved loop on the hook. Then, continue pulling through two loops at a time until the end of the row. The difference is in the color change which is illustrated in the photos below. 

Work the return pass until there is one loop of the color being dropped remaining on the left side of the hook. The color being dropped should be pulled over the color being worked back into the reverse pass. Then, the color being worked back into the piece should be pulled through the next two loops.

Work the return pass until there is one loop of the color being dropped remaining on the left side of the hook. The color being dropped should be pulled over the color being worked back into the reverse pass. Then, the color being worked back into the piece should be pulled through the next two loops.

After the second color is pulled back into the piece, there will be a loose loop where the two colors connect.

After the second color is pulled back into the piece, there will be a loose loop where the two colors connect.

Give the dropped color's working yarn a tug to tighten that loop and avoid any holes between colors in the final piece. 

Give the dropped color's working yarn a tug to tighten that loop and avoid any holes between colors in the final piece. 

As you are changing from color to color, the lengths over which colors have to be pulled will likely vary. Be sure to keep these fairly loose to avoid pinching the work. 

As you are changing from color to color, the lengths over which colors have to be pulled will likely vary. Be sure to keep these fairly loose to avoid pinching the work. 

The wrong side should end up looking something like this, and these strands are neatened up using the tack down method above.

The wrong side should end up looking something like this, and these strands are neatened up using the tack down method above.

Grafting in More Yarn

When working in tapestry crochet, either Traditional or Tunisian, inevitably, you will reach the end of a spool or ball of color and need to graft in more yarn to continue the tapestry. 

Once the tail of the working yarn gets down to between 10 and 15 centimeters, it's time to graft in the new ball by crossing the two seperate strands...

Once the tail of the working yarn gets down to between 10 and 15 centimeters, it's time to graft in the new ball by crossing the two seperate strands...

...then folding them in on one another making each individual strand into a double strand.

...then folding them in on one another making each individual strand into a double strand.

Pinch the first new double strand between thumb and middle finger, and work with the double strand as if it were a single strand.

Pinch the first new double strand between thumb and middle finger, and work with the double strand as if it were a single strand.

Eventually, the first double strand will work through to the second double strand. Work the second double strand as a single strand, and that one will then lead into the next ball of yarn.

Eventually, the first double strand will work through to the second double strand. Work the second double strand as a single strand, and that one will then lead into the next ball of yarn.

Bind-Off

The bind-off of a tapestry piece, like the reverse pass of a tapestry piece, is extremely similar to a normal bind-off. It can likely be done in several ways, but here is the way I found to be the most practical for this piece. 

Working the tapestry as discussed above has left the most recently dropped color hanging loose from the last stitch worked in that color.

Working the tapestry as discussed above has left the most recently dropped color hanging loose from the last stitch worked in that color.

Insert the hook in the vertical bar of the most recent stitch in the dropped color and tie off as if it were the end of a project (1 to 2 slip stitches worked to knot the strand).

Insert the hook in the vertical bar of the most recent stitch in the dropped color and tie off as if it were the end of a project (1 to 2 slip stitches worked to knot the strand).

From here, the working color can be used to bind off the entire piece, and any remaining tails can be worked over using the tack-down method described above. 

Tapestry crochet could fairly be referred to as a labor of love. Often times, it is intense, but for that reason, it is also exciting! If you have been intimidated by tapestry crochet in the past, I hope that this tutorial has lessened that for you, and I also hope that it has illustrated to pros of using Tunisian Crochet for your next tapestry piece. 

 

Did you find this tutorial helpful?
Have you tried tapestry crochet before or a Tunisian tapestry piece? I would love to hear from you and to see pictures of your work! Also, please reach out with comments or questions - I am more than happy to help you to learn this craft!

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