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Tunisian crochet: curling and hook size

Most tutorials about Tunisian crochet tells you to go with a larger hook then you would for normal crochet, at least one or two sizes larger is often suggested.

One of the reasons for this is that it is supposedly going to help combat the curling many Tunisian crochet stitches is prone to.

When I first started out with Tunisian crochet a few months ago, I did listen to the advice and went with a larger hook then it said on the yarn label, figuring it was what it had to be since everyone said so.

The produced fabric still curled and my edges, especially the right side was not really neat. I thought it was just me being inexperienced, I’ve not really done a lot of regular crochet either for the past few years.

When I started getting a fair bit of suggested videos on a social media platform, with very cool and sometimes rather intricate stitch combinations, I noticed something peculiar, they were all using a hook that looked about right for the yarn, a 3,5 mm hook in most cases.

This got me thinking, maybe the notion of using a larger hook was not necessary after all and perhaps all wrong? Maybe it was all about doing it right and learning to tension properly. I started doing some testing, making samples for myself and check if it really does make the difference most says to use a larger hook size.

Hook size have little to no impact on curling.

My conclusion is the same as on a blog I found the other day, it does not make enough of a difference in curling to warrant always suggesting to go with a larger hook.

The below image shows three samples of Tunisian simple stitch. The top one is done with a 4mm hook (which is the suggested on the yarn label), then the middle with a 5mm hook and the last with a 6mm hook.

Curled up dark gray samples of Tunisian simple stitch.

On the sample scale, they curl just the same and while there isn’t a big difference between the hook sizes on these samples, they do represent the most common advice, to go up one or two sizes on the hook.

Are there drawbacks to using a larger hook?

One I see is that if you use a too large hook for the yarn, the right edge stitches seem to get sloppier. See image below.

Three samples of Tunisian simple stitch pinned on top of each other so the right side edge is visible and can be compared.

The bottom sample is the one done with a 6mm hook, the middle one with a 5mm hook and the top one is the 4mm hook. To me both the 4mm and 5mm looks decent, but the 6mm looks sloppy.

The left side edge is not as impacted by change of hook size as the right edge is.

The feel is also a bit different, the one using a 5mm hook feels thinner and less dense then the 4mm one. The difference in feel is not as noticeable between the 5mm and 6mm sample however.

Can you reduce curling?

There is one way to reduce curling, even without blocking, and that is to draw the loops on the forward pass tall.

In the sample below I used a 4mm hook, but drew the loops on the forward pass extra large, about twice the size of the hook which most definitely was a bit exaggerated but shows the point really well.

Sample of Tunisian simple stitch with reduced curling.

Doing it this way does produce a sloppy right edge a well, even worse then using the 6 mm hook, so I guess the trick is finding the perfect height of loops for your yarn that gives the least amount of curling.

The loops should sit comfortably on the hook, with a bit of ease so they move freely.

So what does this mean, which would be the best option?

Well that depends on how you want the finished piece to behave and feel, you should always sample and see what works best for you and the stitch(es) you have chosen for your project.

For me I’m torn between the 4mm and 5mm sample, for this yarn and stitch both works equally well.

None of the samples have been properly blocked so to determine which one to actually use for a specific I would need to do that as well as that would also impact how the finished piece behaves.

In this case, all samples are done with a cheap polyester yarn, using metal hooks.





3 responses to “Tunisian crochet: curling and hook size”

    1. Anna Avatar

      how’s this working?

    2. Anna Avatar

      @annascrafts does this come to you on fediverse?