GAUGE AND CURLING (again!) IN TUNISIAN CROCHET

Gauge in Tunisian crochet is obtained in the same way as in regular crochet, i.e. usually by measuring a 4” (10 cm) square swatch block and counting how many rows and stitches are contained in that area. In Tunisian crochet, however, you always need to take into consideration the curling tendency mentioned in my blog post “Tunisian crochet: choosing hook size and yarn”. Gauge and “curling” are related to each other for a number of reasons, and I will explain you how.

curling and gauge in Tunisian crochet

 

HOW TO KEEP THE CURLING UNDER CONTROL

It has probably already happened to you as well, and no, you are not doing anything wrong: Tunisian crochet tends to roll up at the edges, mostly at the bottom and top border, but also right and left (in case you are crocheting a scarf, for example). This happens because in Tunisian crochet we are always working on the front side only, without ever turning our work, which means the tension is concentrated there and produces the typical curling. Now, as I briefly mentioned in my previous blog post, there are a couple of solutions to keep this phenomenon under control:

-          Choosing a bigger hook size than the one indicated on the yarn’s label (half a size, or even a full size up) helps maintaining a looser hand when working, consequently producing looser stitches;

curling and gauge in Tunisian crochet


-          Starting your work with a Foundation Row inserting the hook in the “back bump” of the stitches – see a tutorial for this technique in my channel HERE;



-          Some stitches curl less than others. This is because, in some stitches, we change the “balance” of our work, for example when we bring the yarn to the front in order to complete the stitches (as for Tunisian Purl Stitch). Try adding a row or two in Tunisian Purl Stitch before starting with the pattern itself, or better still: try alternating a row in Tunisian Simple Stitch and one in Tunisian Purl Stitch before starting with your pattern, and see if your work is more stable. Another solution is to start and finish your work with an “extended” Tunisian stitch (Tunisian Simple Stitch + chain 1).

curling and gauge in Tunisian crochetcurling and gauge in Tunisian crochet

 
-          Blocking an item once it is finished is often the ultimate solution to flatten out a crocheted piece: spread out the item flat onto a blocking board and block it with pins, spray it with water and let it dry: the piece will stay in place and the stitches will loosen up a little. Ironing an item – if the yarn allows it – also greatly contributes in giving it the right form.

-          Choosing the “right” kind o
f yarn: we have to be aware of the fact that not all yarns produce the same tension. Natural fibres, such as wool, linen, bamboo, cotton, etc, or generally yarns that have no stretchy component to them, curl less and react positively to blocking. Acrylic yarns, or yarns that have an acrylic/synthetic/elastic component to them, are more resistant to blocking and have a tendency to get back in their original shape: these yarns will curl more.
 
All of the above has to be taken into consideration when making a swatch to calculate the correct gauge for a project, obviously.

If what I’m saying seems a little too much to deal with when learning Tunisian crochet, do not panic! These are all hacks that can be learned simply through experience. You can complete any project in Tunisian crochet skipping all of the “rules” given above. But remember: the moment you notice how annoying it is that your beautiful scarf rolls up when completed and you wonder what you can do to avoid this in the future…well, I’ve written it all here for you already.

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