An afghan hook looks like a knitting needle, with a stopper at one end and a hook at the other. It does not have an indentation for the fingers near the hook, but is round throughout its length. The directions on this page assume you already know how to crochet, understand basic chain and drawing up loops.
The work will roll up as you stitch each row. This is normal. Once the piece is blocked and pressed, it will permanently lie flat. Beginners find this rolling gets in their way. After about 20 rows, it does manage to stay away from where you are working and is less a bother. Some yarns roll up more than others. A good wool or cotton can be finger pressed somewhat, also. There are other Tunisian stitches (knit and purl) which do not create this rolling effect, however they are not suitable grounds for cross stitching.
For every row of Tunisian crochet (aka afghan crochet and tricot crochet), two passes are required. The first half (drawing up all the loops on the hook) and the second half, which crochet’s off these loops.
To start, make chain the required length.
Row 1 -First Half:
Skip first chain. Insert hook through top stitch of next chain. Wrap yarn around hook, and draw through chain, forming a loop on hook. Continue in this manner through each chain to the end, retaining all loops on hook as shown at right.
Row 1 – Second Half:
Yarn over hook and draw through first loop. Yarn over and draw through 2 loops. Repeat yarn over and draw through 2 loops until there is one loop remaining on hook.
Row 2 – First Half:
Insert hook in SECOND upright (vertical) bar at the front of the work. Yarn over and draw loop through vertical bar, forming a loop on hook. Repeat across row, keeping all loops on hook as in Row 1.
Illustration shows 4 loops on hook and hook being inserted behind vertical bar for 5th stitch.
Row 2 – Second Half:
Work same as for Row 1, Second Half. Continue in this manner for the required number of rows.
To bind off, slip-stitch across row as follows: Draw loop through vertical bar as usual and the loop on the hook at the same time. Repeat across. Break yarn and draw through last loop.
How to Cross Stitch on a Ground of Tunisian (afghan) Crochet
Elegant effects can be had with crewel or tapestry wool, rayon, silk, or cotton floss. Use enough floss, or wool strands to cover the area sufficiently, but not so much as to create bunching. The threads should lay very flat and not create excess bulk. Practice on a sampler piece using different
yarns and flosses until you get the effect you want. Many patterns incorporate the same yarns for the embroidery from which the afghan (or clothing) was worked.
Do not knot. To begin and end each length of floss, weave a short distance on the back of the work. Hide the threads as much as possible, making sure they do not show on the front of the work.
PLEASE NOTE: For more detail, the illustration is shown with a larger ground in relation to the tapestry weight yarn being used for embroidery. There will be almost no space visible with the proper weight embroidery thread/yarn matched to the ground. However, a small amount of ground may show in all this work, but it does not detract from the finished product.
To embroider cross stitches, follow the illustrations at left for the correct method of picking up the chain between the horizontal bars. DO NOT put the needle through to the back.
The tapestry needle picks up (slips behind) the front chain of the row of ground, going between this chain and the horizontal loop on the back of the work. This keeps the back of your work free of stitches showing so that you need not line the item being embroidered. You will need to cross stitch a little more loosely using this method. If you go through the holes beside the bars, the back will have vertical lines similar to ordinary cross stitch.
(If you prefer, you may start at the right and go toward the left for the first half, and from left to right for the final cross over). Always make sure your stitches start in the same direction in each row, otherwise you will spoil the looks of the finished piece.