Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tunisian Shawls by Sharon H. Silverman

One of my favorite crochet techniques is Tunisian Crochet. It's so much more than just "Afghan Crochet", which is what it was called years ago when I first learned how to do it. At that time, there was just one, maybe two stitches to learn, in order to do a project: Afghan Stitch (or what it's called now – Tunisian Simple Stitch), and Tunisian Knit Stitch (I don't know if it had another name or not - maybe Afghan Knit Stitch). Once you worked the fabric, then if you were making an afghan, (and that was about all there was to crochet then, using Afghan Stitch) you usually did some cross-stitch design on the top. Well, I do (did) know how to cross-stitch, but even then, when I was through crocheting, I wanted to be through with the project. So these cross-stitch afghans were not for me. Then, I found a pattern for a stuffed animal, worked in "Afghan Stitch". And I made one, and had a great time making it. I don't know what happened to it but if I discover it somewhere in my storage areas, I'll take a picture of it and post it here.
This stuffed animal made me realize that you can do and make so much with "Afghan Crochet". And after a while, when it was re-named Tunisian Crochet, I discovered and figured out so many more stitches that you could do! And I think the interesting thing is that there are so many stitches and stitch patterns still to be created, because this technique has come out of hiding in the past few years. All of a sudden, Tunisian Crochet is something to learn, to do, to experiment with. And Sharon Silverman is sure doing all that!

Her new book, Tunisian Shawls, is a great example. There are eight different shawls in the book, all using different stitches and different techniques. She has a FairIsle Winter Capelet that uses stranded colorwork in Tunisian Crochet. 

She shows how to combine different Tunisian stitches in a pattern, like in the Autumn Embrace, where she combines the Tunisian Full Stitch and the Tunisian Double Stitch. 

In perhaps my favorite shawl, the Popover Wedges, she uses the Tunisian Simple Stitch, short rows, and Chain Cast On. 

In the other patterns, she shows how to do a Tunisian Simple Stitch 2 Together (Tss2Tog), Tunisian Knit Stitch, Make One, Tunisian Purl Stitch, Tunisian Reverse Stitch, Back Cable, and if that's not enough, she shows you how to change colors at the end of a row. One added bonus that I think is great: online video technique tutorials for those of you who like to see instructions rather than read instructions.

These are the 5 other shawl patterns Sharon includes:

Cables and Heart

Hot Pink Lace

Red Heart Wrap

Expanding Vees

and Silver Shimmer

One more thing - The Crochet Awards have nominated Sharon's Fair Isle Winter Capelet in the Ponchos and Capelets category, and you can vote for it here:

And if you want a copy of this great book, you can order it from Leisure Arts:

Or Amazon:Amazon - Tunisian Shawls

Once you get the book, you won't know which one to make first. So why not make them all!


Kate Snyder said...

Although I don't wear shawls, these would be lovely for those who wear them!

I learned how to crochet decades ago, but just recently learned Tunisian crochet. I saw your comment on Facebook that read:

"The Susan Bate regular crochet hooks, including the bamboo handled ones, are inline. Straight from the shaft all the way to the hook. And you're right. The throat is deeper. The Susan Bates Tunisian hooks, though, are tapered. So are the Susan Bates thread hooks."

All of my Susan Bates hooks are inline, including the vintage thread hooks I own and nine 10" and 14" Silvalume and Quicksilver afghan hooks from the 1980s and '90s.

Will you please tell me what year your purchased yours? I wasn't aware that the company ever made tapered hooks of any kind.

Thank you!

Marty Miller said...

I wish I could tell you what year I purchased the hooks. But, I've been crocheting and purchasing hooks, and inheriting hooks, for many, many years. I have my grandmother's thread hooks, and some of my mother's hooks. And I have hooks that have the price 25cents stamped on them. So I have quite an accumulation of hooks. Also, I teach crochet at a local yarn shop, and I see the hooks that my students bring in. Some old ones, some new ones. And whenever I go to a yarn shop, or a craft shop, I look at their hooks. So I see all sorts and shapes of hooks. Some companies even change the mm size of their hooks. They call them by the same letter, but just change the mm. Or they'll make hooks in different materials the same size, but different shapes. And then, change them back. So I guess I was just being general about what I said. Boye hooks are usually tapered. (But, if I recall correctly, one of my students brought in an inline Boye hook just recently.) Susan Bates hooks are usually inline. Except those tunisian hooks I've seen and have. However, that's not to say that Susan Bates has never made inline Tunisian hooks.

Kate Snyder said...

Thank you for your reply. I highly respect your knowledge and expertise, which is why I posted the question.

I'm in my sixties and I, too, own older hooks embossed with 15 or 25 cents. I have a gorgeous Susan Bates gold crochet hook set, sizes 00 through 14, in a lovely case, circa 1950s or '60s, and they’re inline.

So, I contacted the company. They said their afghan hooks made in the last 25 years have not had inline heads but, prior to that, all of their hooks were inline.

That explains why my S.B. afghan hooks aren't tapered – they're from the 1980s and possibly earlier.

I've tried to find out more on the production history of the C.J. Bates Company but there isn't a lot of information out there.

Here's an ad from 1947, a real blast from the past:

Thank you for your time!