I wanted to make my first large tunisian crochet project. Here’s what went right, and what went wrong.
First, it was HARD on the hand. When working on the body of the jacket, I could only do about 2 rows in a sitting, then I had to quit due to hand strain (I should mention I’m in my late 30s and not arthritic or carpal tunnelistic, so this was not usual). Any future tunisian projects I do will be much smaller!
This photo was photoshopped so you could see what it looks like without a red t-shirt and blue plaid shorts! It is yarn leftover from the Fish in Greens purse, so now I’ve even got matching stuff.
The natural photo below shows some of the problems I had. You can see on the arm seam, the armhole seam, and at the neck that it was hard to close up the edges of the fabric without holes. That last row of tunisian doesn’t get filled with yarn like the rows below. (UPDATE: Since I wrote that I have learned that if you do tunisian slip stitch on that last row, it will look filled in like all of the others.) On the arm seam, I didn’t worry too much about what color I seamed with, but if you used the matching color that would look better. You also wouldn’t see the holes if you wore a shirt under the jacket that matched or was a little darker than it. To fill in some of the holes I really didn’t want, like where the arm meets the body and over the shoulder, I used a crochet hook to run strands of yarn in the matching color through the holes a few times on the inside.
Tunisian always curls too. I tried to do something about it at the bottom in the brown row, but at the sleeves I just wound up doing a couple of rows of giant double crochet with spaces between them. Here is a page that tells you all about tunisian crochet, with instructions on how to do stitches, and a handy page called “Reducing the Curl” (for the bottom of the jacket, I used the trick on that page with the purl rows to make it work against itself): Chezcrochet
How to make it: The great thing about tunisian (as with all crochet) is that once you get back to the beginning of the next row, your hook is all the way out of the project, so sizing correctly is very easy. This jacket was started at the bottom and worked upward, so you just crochet a chain around your hips or waist, wherever you want the jacket to end, then when its large enough, stop chaining and start working upwards in tunisian stitch. Make it a little larger than you think you need. My jacket came out a bit tight because I didn’t factor in that tunisian makes a thick dense fabric. I included a few inches of overlap to make it button more on the side like it does. This also made it easy to hide the ends. Since I changed color so much I had a fringe of ends sticking out that are under the flap. I worked them in, but now you still won’t see them even if they start popping out.
I used a US 11 (8.0 mm.) hook, and almost all of this yarn is regular Red Heart acrylic. I got my stash out to see what I could do, and found I had a ton of green yarn, but only small amounts of most of it. Unfortunately it looks blue in the photo, but its actually all different shades of green and brown. The blue color is really more of an emerald green.
You can work straight upwards until you get the arm holes, but I did add a few decreases at the waist to shape it a little (on the pull back, pull 3 tunisian stitches together as one instead of pulling through 2, and just decrease one or two stitches per row, not too many). To increase, when adding stitches to the hook (not pulling back), I dipped into the row below and pulled up an extra piece of yarn to pull through adding another stitch. This is probably not the official right way to do either, but since I didn’t know what that was, this was what I did! Once you get to the spot where you want arm holes, divide the fabric up so you have the same number of stitches on the front and the back and work the 3 sections separately to leave the holes (1 back section, 2 front sections with half the stitches each). On each section, decrease a few stitches under the arm to make it rounded (decrease a few on the first row, then a few less on the next row etc.). For the neck, I just stopped and left it straight across the back, but I decreased in the front on the 2 sides to make the neck more rounded. I think I overdecreased in trying to make a fancy rounded neck because that one side of the neck always folds under, its pulled too tight. I decreased until I had the number of stitches I wanted for over the shoulder (you can tell this by holding what you’ve already made for the body up over your shoulder). Make sure you’ve got the same number of stitches over each shoulder, and the same number on the front and back pieces so they’ll match when you stitch them together. Sleeves I made separately in flat pieces and attached to the body, then seamed up. They were made from the wrist up, and I just had to try them to see that they were long enough (I mainly only did them wrist up because I wanted to make sure I had enough yarn to do matching stripes on all).
Finishing: Fill in all the seam holes with extra yarn like I said above. I added crochet chains as the buttonholes (tying them on the backside of the front flap) and got some nice buttons at the craft store with big holes so I could attach them with the same yarn. I also did a single crochet brown edge around the front and neck edge.
It makes a thick jacket, so its nice to have, and I used up all that extra green.