The New Tunisian Crochet is out! By Dora Ohrenstein

The New Tunisian Crochet is out!

By Dora Ohrenstein

I am pleased and proud to announce the release of my fourth book: The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs from Time-Honored Traditions, published by Interweave Press this month. It's in the stores and at Amazon right now! And yes, we are doing a giveaway!!!

This may just be the book on Tunisian Crochet you've have been waiting for. It details many techniques, from the most basic to very advanced, including lacy and textured stitches, entrelac, intarsia, cabling, and short rows. The stitch dictionary features thirty individual stitch patterns, each with complete instructions and diagrams. Not only will you find many inspirational swatches, but if you want to upgrade your skills, working through the stitches will take you through a complete course in Tunisian crochet.

In addition, there are fabulous patterns by these wonderful designers: Vashti Braha, Doris Chan, Lily Chin, Lisa Daehlin, Andrea Gracierena, Margaret Hubert, and Charles Voth, and some by me.  Let me point out why these designs are really special!

Vashti Braha has been exploring Tunisian crochet for some time now, and has pioneered various techniques for creating true Tunisian lace. Her gorgeous Rivuline Shawl deserves close study for the subtle ingenuity and innovative stitching. It shows that Tunisian fabric can be as delicate and flowing as one could possibly desire in an elegant shawl..  

Doris Chan's Shantay Skirt features her signature "exploded lace." There's always something interesting going on in Doris' designs, and in this case, rows are worked on the bias to create a curvy, figure flattering shape. Elastic thread at the waistline makes for a functional and adorable wardrobe item. 

Terra Hat and Mitts by Lily Chin is another creative technical feat! Here's Lily's take on her design:

I loved the opportunity to introduce my unique and never-before-seen technique of circular, 2-color tapestry or "jacquard" with the double-ended hook. I came up with this after the shorter 7-inch hook came out and began to experiment with stitches other than the standard Runisian simple stitch. Lo and behold, using Runisian reverse and knit stitches, I got different colors of different textures. Though I debuted this technique in the Interweave Crochet winter 2010 issue, this is the first time it's been featured in a book.

The Ariadne Throw by Lisa Daehlin is a great-looking project that's also a primer on Tunisian stitches -- there are 10 different stitches, some closed, some open, in a variety of color combos. I asked Lisa whether she thought interest in Tunisian would be lasting, and she wrote:

Tunisian (no matter what its "nom du jour") has been around for a long time and I'm sure it will continue to be around for a long time to come. Interest in certain trends come and go. Trend does apply to this a bit in that popularity and promotion clearly can increase exposure and make an impact. There is always interest, however, in certain techniques, and the presence of the internet assures that no matter how obscure or temporarily dormant a trend might be, it is around and will experience natural surges and ebbs.

What a comforting thought!

The Marisol Sweater displays designer Andrea Gracierena's skill in applying knitting techniques to Tunisian crochet. You'll find left and right leaning decreases for raglan shaping, and a beautiful contrasting stitch on the collar and cuffs.  It makes for a stunning cardigan.

Do you like color work? If so, Margaret Hubert's patchwork Sierra Bag could be right up your alley. The technique is a variation on Entrelac, and not hard to do - a really fun project! Margaret's color sense is great, and the finishing details on the bag are excellent as well.

Another knit look design is Charles Voth's Mago Vest, that rare design for men that your DH or BF might actually want to wear!  Check out the cool cables on the front and "twill weave" pattern on the back.  A very cool piece of men's fashion.

My designs include the cover piece, Lorelei Pullover, based on a historic stitch from the 1874 Encyclopedia of Needlework; Najmee Rug, using Tunisian simple stitch and based on a star shape pattern I found in the Ukrainian magazine Duplet; and Eleanora Booties, named after Eleanora Riego de la Branchadiere, and based on her design. Riego was one of the foremost publishers of needlework patterns in the Victorian era, and her method for shaping these booties is totally different from how we shape footwear today. She was a great genius and it was a thrill for me to recreate her design and see her mind at work.

Interweave has done a fine job with photos and graphics. I asked them to visually suggest the country of Tunisia, and they did, with geometric patterns and earthy colors. I think they realized that beautifully! My editors, Kim Werker for text and Karen Manthey for patterns and diagrams, made great contributions to the final product as well.  

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the designers and contributors to this book.    

If you'd like to win a copy, please post your answer to any one or more of these questions:

1. What do you like about Tunisian Crochet?

2. What new Tunisian techniques do you want to learn?

3. Do you think interest in Tunisian Crochet will continue in the years ahead?

We will select a winner at random and send you the book. Good luck!

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