Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Symbols for Tunisian Crochet- Not Practical

A member of the Yahoo group I co-own, recently asked about Symbols for Tunisian Crochet. So, I started compiling my answer to her... only to realize that it would make a great Blog Post.

I have seen some publications use symbols for Tunisian Crochet, but they tend to be based on the concept that there are only 3 or 4 stitches in TC. Those who have been in our group for a while, or have my book- know better.

When I was writing my first book, I realized that with Tunisian Crochet, there needed to be a 'distinction' for the concept of Stitches, since so many stitches could be created from a few basic mechanics. My decision was to label the 'basic stitches' as Foundations, since many stitches could be created from one 'beginning step,' the Foundation of the stitch.

I've found at least 6 Basic Foundations (Knit, Purl, Reverse, Simple, Full, and Reverse/Purl).

When you start twisting threads or pulling them to the opposite side of the fabric, you add even more individual Stitches, not just stitch combos. I labeled these stitches based on the Mechanics of creating them: the Front Purl, Back Simple, Twisted Simple and Twisted Purl stitches.

There are 2 Cross Bar Foundations- in which the hook is inserted into the Cross Bar/Horizontal Bar.

Also, there are 2 Post Foundations which are worked just like classic crochet Post Stitches.

Now add to that, you can Extend each Foundation with a chain stitch, know as Extended Stitches.

Also, each Foundation can be worked with Double and Treble Crochet mechanics.... ALL OF WHICH, CREATE A UNIQUE, INDIVIDUAL STITCH.

I did a quick count: there are 56 unique, individual Tunisian Crochet stitches...and probably several more, since I didn't include those mechanics I believe are so difficult that most folks would never try them. These are individual stitches, not stitch combinations.

The challenge becomes: How to create a Unique Symbol for 56 Different Stitches.

Theoretically, one could create a symbol for the Basic Foundations; plus, the Post and the Cross Bar Foundations, since these are the beginning step for all Tunisian Crochet stitches. That is a total of 10 symbols for the Foundations, alone.

From there one could add an extra symbol for all of the extra mechanics. This means that there would need to be an extra symbol for each of the following: Twisting a stitch, Backwards stitches, chain extensions, AND symbols for Dc and Trc mechanics.

Now, with all these extra symbols tacked on to the Basic Foundation Symbol, it will be difficult to ascertain, from stitch to stitch, what mechanics should be used for each stitch. In the printing, these symbols could run together so easily, that it would be a nightmare to interpret.

I'm not convinced that the needleworkers in their own homes would invest the time and effort to learn all these symbols. If I thought it could be done easily, I would have done it already.

I'm sure some enterprising soul could accomplish this, but I'm not convinced the average needleworker would use them. The parameters and additional mechanics are simply too large to invest the time learning symbols, instead of actually stitching.