Saturday, 22 October 2016

Tricot with a Double-ended Hook (Tunisian Crochet)

A close up of a striped scarf showing red ridges and green valleys on one side and vice versa on the other side.
A long, long time ago … in a galaxy far, far away … NO!  
That's not it!

Well, maybe it feels like it because I've had the striped tricot scarf completed for more than a year but, despite promises and a few teasing pictures, never got around to blogging about it properly … until now.

Two bamboo tricot hooks resting horizontally. Top: double ended hook 6 mm; bottom: long standard tricot hook 4 mm.
A pair of tricot hooks

The finished scarf in full, folded at the top with the ends spread out to show the top side and the underside of red and green striped reversible fabric.The scarf is fringed with crocheted spiral curlicues.
"Workshop Scarf" in tricot stripes.
Made by Jodiebodie
[May-July 2015]

This "workshop scarf" began in May 2015 at the Adelaide Stitches & Craft Show where Prudence Mapstone (of freeform scrumbling fame and Knot Just Knitting) was conducting a "Pop-up Class" on how to use a double-ended crochet hook to create her "Horizontal Striped Scarf".

I'm always keen to participate in classes–there's always something new to learn–and even if I am familiar with the technique on offer, one can always use extra opportunities to practice skills; plus, it is fun to meet other crocheters and discover more than one way to achieve an effect.

I immediately recognised Prudence's technique as tricot.

I have never known one technique to have so many nicknames.* Perhaps that is because it has elements of both knitting and crochet.

It involves casting on stitches one row at a time and then casting them off, just like knitting; yet the stitches are worked with a hook, just like crochet.  This is unlike regular crochet which can be worked one stitch at a time in any direction, not necessarily in rows.
Two bamboo tricot hooks resting at a 45 degree angle. The longest is standard knitting needle length and 4 mm wide with a hook on one end and stopper on the other. The shorter one has a hook on each end.
Two different bamboo tricot hooks
Top: long single-ended straight 4 mm hook;
Bottom: short double-ended 6 mm hook.

Ordinary tricot hooks resemble long knitting needles except they have a crochet hook at one end instead of a point.

Some tricot hooks have a cable attached to accommodate long rows of stitches–the overflow can slip off the hook and rest on the cable which has a stopper on the end to hold the stitches securely and prevent them from dropping off.

A bamboo tricot hook with a cable attached. The hook is resting horizontally across the top half of the picture with a clear plastic tubing attached to the end instead of a stopper. The plastic tubing bends to fill the bottom half of the picture and has a stopper at the end of the tubing.
9 mm bamboo tricot hook with a cable

Other tricot hooks are double-ended; i.e., there is a crochet hook on each end of the shaft.

A double-ended hook is especially useful for colourwork because it allows one to easily work with two different colours at a time without the need to cut yarn between colour changes or carry floats (loose strands) along the edges.  The other benefit of a double-ended hook is that it can produce a truly reversible fabric as displayed in my scarf.

A close-up, side view of the scarf showing the neat edges where the stripes swap colours. Foreground: red ridges and green valleys. Background: green ridges and red valleys.
The double-ended hook makes a reversible fabric with neat, matching edges.

An aluminium double-ended hook resting vertically in the photograph. The hook is anodised in a bronze/orange colour and has a yellow cardboard label on it as it was displayed in the shop. The label shows the manufacturer's name 'Wrights'  at the top. From top to bottom, it reads: "9 mm N 14"-35 cm Double ended Double fini Duble acabo CRO-HOOK (TM)" followed by the round 'Boye' logo in red and blue with white lettering. The bottom of the label is slightly obscured by the hook itself and repeats the hook width 6 mm N.
9 mm 'cro-hook'

I did some experiments to compare double-ended tricot with single-ended tricot.  I used  Cleckheaton Country 8 ply wool which was thicker than the 5-ply (sportweight) used in the scarf. Therefore I chose to use a thicker 9 mm hook for my experimental samples instead of the 6 mm used for the scarf. 

My only 9 mm double-ended hook was not in bamboo but anodised aluminium and 35 cm long! This one was Boye brand and marketed as a 'cro-hook'.  The pointy heads of smooth aluminium slipped through the woollen stitches very easily but the length of the hook made it heavy and cumbersome for the short crochet rows in my samples. I would recommend choosing a shorter hook whose length is more suitable to the task.

Each sample used the same striped stitches where each stripe is made up of one forward pass and one reverse pass:  6 stripes of basic tricot stitch (marked with the orange lines) and 6 stripes of the scarf's pattern stitch.

A collage of two photographs side by side. Each is a striped sample of tricot. Each one has orange lines drawn at the right of the sample to indicate the bottom section of simple stitch'. There are headings across the bottom edges of each photo in orange lettering reading "Example A" (at left) and "Example B" (at right). Each sample is still on the orange coloured hook which appears horizontally above the samples.
Double-ended vs. Single-ended Hooks
Both samples have 6 stripes of simple stitch (marked section) and 6 stripes of scarf pattern stitch.
The effect is different depending on the type of hook technique used.
Left (A): double-ended tricot hook
Right (B): single-ended tricot hook

Example A: double-ended tricot hook.
A sample of striped fabric made with a double-ended hook. The sample is in dark brown and white stripes, hanging on the bronze/orange hook.
Example A

Each colour feeds to a separate end which makes fewer tangles between the source yarns.

The basic tricot stitch (simple stitch) looks unusual because the work was turned at every colour change to swap hook ends.

In Example A, one can see the right side of the dark stitches and the wrong side of the light stitches. In the bottom (marked) section, we can see the back of the white reverse pass' horizontal chains.

This reversible property works perfectly for the scarf's pattern stitch (top, unmarked section) which allows one colour to dominate while the other sits in the background as an accent colour. In this way, the scarf can be mainly green with red accents on one side or mainly red with green accents on the other!

Turning the hook to swap working ends also helps to control the bias of a tricot pattern stitch. Bias is when the crocheted fabric or pattern stitch has a diagonal lean. More discussion of bias in the next example.

Example B: single-ended tricot hook.

All the yarn colours in Example B feed from the same edge. Often there will be floats along a side edge when using regular tricot with a single-ended hook. Floats are unworked strands that get carried behind the stitches or rows until they are ready to be worked again. They can be tidied by twisting them around each other as they are raised to the next row but one needs to be careful not to tangle strands or have loose strands protruding too far. One option is to contain floats by working a border around them but that adds an extra step to the work.

A sample of striped tricot fabric hanging on the tricot hook. The hook is a bronze/orange colour resting horizontally across the top of the picture. The sample is made of dark brown and whtie stripes. The top half of the sample leans towards the right.
Example B
The work is not turned so the right side is always facing.  Example B shows the right side of every row.

The bottom (marked) section looks like the familiar grid-like simple stitch that is commonly called 'afghan stitch'.* Use of different colours for the forward and reverse passes creates a 'tweed' effect. In these examples, I swapped colours at the start of the reverse pass.

Some pattern stitches lean quite heavily towards one edge and that is true of the scarf's pattern stitch.

In the scarf, the bias was controlled by swapping the working ends of the hook after every pair of reverse and forward passes.  When working with a single-ended hook, the control of bias takes a bit more work such as alternating the position of the first stitch of the row–requiring careful observation of row counts–or heavy blocking.

The single-ended hook method also produces mismatching row ends. The left-hand edge of the sample looks different to the right-hand edge of the sample. Compare photos of the scarf which has row ends that look alike.

Top view of the bottom half of the scarf showing both the top and reverse sides of the fabric and including the curlicue fringe. The top strip is red (MC) and green and the bottom is green (MC) and red. The fringe on the top half is green and the fringe on the bottom half is red.
Reversible ends of the same scarf. Top view shows the edges of each row looking neat and tidy.

Prudence Mapstone's "Horizontal Striped Scarf" was designed to practice the double-ended hook technique with two different coloured yarns. More information about the project can be found in an earlier blog post Adelaide Stitches & Craft Show (9 May 2015). The pattern was basic and produced a long rectangular strip of fabric. The short ends were straight and plain, inviting embellishment.

When in doubt, 'put a fringe on it'! That's one of my favourite mottos so I chose to add a fringe full of curlicues. I love them because they are bouncy and fun and make me happy!

Close-up of curlicue fringes. Both ends of the scarf are pointing upwards.
A fringe full of spiral curlicues for fun and frolic.

Two ends of the scarf hanging down with a focus on the fringe.
Curlicue fringe!
I went for a full block of colour with the fringe because it was technically easier than alternating colours for each curlicue plus I wanted to avoid 'stripe overkill'.   The solid blocks of colour are a good foil for the stripes.

I love this fringe, the way the curlicues spring and bob, and how they intertwine to give a 'ruffled' look when worn up high, close to the neck; so warm and soft!

Looking down and across the ends of the scarf as it rests on a flat surface. The far section is mainly green with red accents and a red fringe. The colours are vice versa for the front section. One can see the Main Colours of each section form dominant ridges in the fabric.
The pattern stitch and fringe create interesting textures.
The tactile nature of this scarf makes it a pleasure to wear.

The scarf is hanging on a wooden triangular coathanger as if it were draped around someone's neck. The ends are woven together to make a layered knot.
A favourite way to knot this scarf.


The curlicues were all intended to be the same length and they have all been created with the same number of stitches. Some of them are more 'springy' than others, so the spirals that are more 'tightly wound' appear shorter than the others.

Perhaps there were inconsistencies with my tension as I made them or could there have been a factor in the yarn itself? If you have had experience with curlicues, I'd be keen to receive your opinion.

Two balls of Frog Tree Alpaca Sport yarn (red above, green below) stand to the left of a sample of the scarf.  These were the first few rows of the scarf as created during the workshop. A wooden double-ended tricot hook rests above the scarf sample.
Two balls of Frog Tree 'Alpaca Sport'
(100% alpaca 5 ply yarn)
and the beginnings of my scarf.
Participants of Prudence's workshop received two balls of lovely soft alpaca yarn in the colours of our choices and a double-ended bamboo hook (6 mm).  Sadly, the 5 ply 'Alpaca Sport' yarn has been discontinued after Frog Tree yarns closed in the latter half of 2015.

I did enjoy working with this Peruvian 'fair trade' yarn which was produced by a women's not-for-profit cooperative and made of 100% alpaca fibre.

The scarf is draped loosely over a triangular wooden coathanger as if it were draped over someone's shoulders. Each end of the scarf hangs on either side of the coathanger, the green main colour side facing on the left, the red main colour side facing on the right.
Green is the main colour on one side
and red is main colour on the other side
or this reversible tricot scarf.

A simple scarf knot.

My wardrobe was lacking a scarf in green but I also wanted one in a deep plum or maroon. I loved both colours equally so decided to put them both together!

Now the double-coloured scarf from a double-ended hook does 'double duty' and gets a lot of wear.
A silly photo of Jodie wearing the scarf in a layered knot over a purple-pink cotton jacket and dark green dress. Jodie's eyes are looking to the left and sightly upwards as her mouth is open. Her straight hair hangs over the front of her shoulder on the left hand side and it managed to get tucked into the scarf on the right hand side.
Being silly and having fun
with my striped, tricot, curlicue, scarf!
If there were a cartoon 'thought bubble' above my head
in this photo, what do you think it might contain?

* Tricot is also known as:
  • Tunisian crochet
  • afghan stitch or afghan crochet
  • idiot stitch 
  • shepherd's knitting
  • Scottish knitting
  • tricot ecossaise
  • railway knitting 
  • Tunisian knitting

Keep smiling, learning and having fun 
but most of all, keep crocheting!

Links, References & Resources

Sellick, Michael, "Railway Knitting Workbook: the Journey Continues", online article, The Crochet Crowd, 18 May 2015:

Fanton, Darla, Reversible Scrap Afghans with the Double-Ended Crochet Hook, book 1331, American School of Needlework Inc., ISBN 1-59012-009-4, ASN Publishing, 1455 Linda Vista Drive, San Marcos CA 92069, USA, 2003.
    A photograph of a pink lacy scarf hanging over a bamboo trellis with a garden backdrop. The scarf is made using a tricot technique and has straight fringing on each end.
    Tricot can also be used to create lace
    as demonstrated by this scarf.

    Pattern: 'Ewetopia Scarf'
    by Prudence Mapstone
  • Formerly, this is now Annie's Publishing:
Frog Tree Yarns closed in the American spring of 2015.
  • Information about their yarns (including 'Ewetopia') can be found at Island Wools:
    Some of the yarns have been taken up by other businesses. Sadly, the  'Alpaca Sport' yarn used in my scarf has been discontinued.

Mapstone, Prudence, Knot Just Knitting, web site:
  • Pattern instructions: "Horizontal striped scarf, created using a double-ended hook" 2014.

Johnson, Kathleen Power, "Using Color in Tunisian Crochet" Interweave Crochet, Special Issue, 2004.

Ravelry project page (Jodiebodie): 

Wilkins, Dela, Railway Knitting, e-book [PDF], Knotty By Nature (KBN Fibres), Canada, 2012.

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

Close-up of curlicue fringe with the green in the front and the red behind.
More of the springy curlicues.
"Tricot Tableware Complete: Happy Anniversary!" 30 March 2016:

"Adelaide Stitches & Craft Show",  9 May 2015:

"What Do Trains Have to Do with Crochet?" 16 April 2015:

"Two Elephants", 25 October 2014:

A rectangular piece of tricot simple stitch fabric. The yellow fabric has the red letter 'E' worked into it using a tricot intarsia method. The fabric is bordered with a green and red braided stitch. The square grid-like texture can be seen.
An example of the 'basic' tricot stitch.
It makes a fabric with a grid-like pattern
–the perfect ground for cross stitch.
This sample used an intarsia technique
to create the 'E' (for 'Elephant')
This stitch is also known as
Tunisian simple stitch (Tss)
or afghan stitch.

A green anodised aluminium double ended hook has a sample of aqua coloured cotton worked in various tricot stitches. A small ball of cotton yarn is still attached and resting to the left of the sample.
A long double-ended hook
holds a sample of different tricot stitches
–my experimental practice in preparation
for the DY Placemats


  1. Certainly an impressive scarf, I haven't yet tried Tunisian crochet, it looks a little complicated.

    1. Hi Lorraine,

      It looks complicated but it is no more complicated than regular crochet or knitting might look if you had never tried it before.

      If you have had experience with knitting, it will help with the understanding of 'casting on' and 'casting off'. Some of the increase, decrease and lace techniques are similar to knitting.

      If you have had experience with crochet, an understanding of stitch construction and turning chains will help. Having said that, no prior knowledge is essential when it comes to learning Tunisian crochet.

      A good way to approach it is as if you were learning any new crochet stitch. I was introduced to it as just another stitch: 'afghan stitch' which is the same as Tunisian simple stitch. This stitch is also used in crochet entrelac techniques.

      You don't need a special hook to learn the basics as long as your hook has a straight shaft which is the same width all the way along (no thicker or thinner sections such as thumbrests etc.).

      I haven't created any tutorials because there are so many already on the internet in various formats depending on one's best learning style. Once you know some search terms, it will be easy to find basic information about it and have a go for yourself.

      Thank you for the compliments on my scarf. I look forward to the day when you will share your own Tunisian scarf. :-)

  2. Great Post. I found one of those needles at the Free Store and picked it up but had no idea what it was. Now I know, and it is on my list of things to do/learn.

    1. Hi Mary-Anne!

      Good on you for picking up the tricot hook when you saw it. I find them hard to come by in the sizes/styles I want although I am satisfied with my collection so far.

      Tricot confuses a lot of knitters and crocheters when they see it - like you they find the tool and are intrigued or they find an item made with tricot and endlessly puzzle over whether it is knitting or crochet.

      I'm glad to be able to relieve you of those questions! I look forward to seeing your first forays into tricot/Tunisian.

      I am interested to know whether it has always been 'Tunisian' in your part of the world. My mother's generation refer to it as 'tricot' and in the shops, the hooks are sold as 'tricot hooks' so I assumed that was the Australian terminology but then another older person (who lives in a different part of the country, yet the same part that my mother grew up in) said that they have only ever heard of it being called 'Tunisian'. I only ever came across 'Tunisian' through American magazines and the internet. Before I discovered crochet on the internet, I had heard about it as 'shepherd's knitting' too.

      It doesn't really matter, but I just find these things interesting.
      I hope you will share your tricot discoveries with us Mary-Anne!:-)

  3. Love the curlicues! You will need to teach me those!

    1. My pleasure, Cheryl! They are fiddly but fun. :-)
      The results are worth it.

  4. Very interesting post, I have tried Tunisian crochet before and made a lovely blanket, this stitch looks a bit more complicated but it gives a lovely result, I love the scarf and the curlicues finish it off perfectly, I must try and make some. :) x

    1. Hi Linda! Thank you for coming across for a visit and saying hello.
      The double-ended technique uses the very same stitches as the regular Tunisian stitches you are used to. The only difference is that you can turn the work by swapping the active end of the hook whenever you like.
      It probably looks complicated in my samples because I am using two different colours in the same row and we are seeing textures that we are not used to seeing.
      Yours is the second comment that mentioned curlicues. I will add that to my list of things for future blog posts. Curlicues are mathematically interesting as well as fun to play with so next time I am working them, I will take some more photos to share so everyone can learn how to make them.
      Have you shared your Tunisian crochet blanket online anywhere? I would love to see it. Happy crocheting! :-)

  5. I have never tried this type of crochet, I think it is because I knit and so just do that when the look I am going for looks like knitting, did that make any sense at all? I know Tunisian crochet is fast than knitting so I should try it. Your bubble says, " I can't believe I made this awesome scarf so fast, I am brilliant!"

    1. You make perfect sense Meredith! I can see how it is just easier to reach for the familiar knitting needles. It all depends on what you want to make and which effect you want to achieve.

      The knitted look fabric obtained by Tunisian crochet can be thicker and sturdier than knitting which makes it better suited for coats, jackets, blankets, placemats and other household items.

      As I am a very slow knitter, I cannot confirm whether Tunisian crochet is faster or not. I do know that Tunisian fabric grows very quickly but the speed would depend on which particular stitch you were using; e.g. textured knitting is generally slower than plain knitting.

      If you try the Tunisian technique again, here's a tip: keep your tension loose by drawing your cast-on loops through and up so the hook is higher than the top edge of the fabric. Each row needs some 'room to breathe'!

      Finally, thank you for the fun of your 'Thought-Bubble-Thought' (very palindromic, don't you think? hehe) You made me laugh - you are too kind!

      Have a lovely week!

  6. How interesting. The technique looks like what we call "hakking" here. I must investigate a little there. The end result is very beautiful. Looks very warm and cosy. Blessings, Pam in Norway

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thank you for the information. I did an online search for "hakking" and that is exactly the same technique as "tricot". It is nice to see some pictures from other parts of the world.
      The lovely thing about "hakking" is that it creates a thicker fabric which is lovely and warm. Best wishes xx

  7. The scarves are gorgeous. I love all the detail and info you've included in your

    1. Thanks Sharon,
      I was worried that too much detail and verbosity made it seem more complicated than it really is. Much of the detail is for my own future reference so if it helps you and others, then that's fantastic too.
      Have you managed to finish your crochet cardi yet? I still need to mend one of mine that needs a sleeve ripped back and remade.
      It's this blue cardi:
      Oh well, here's to finishing those WIPs ...
      Happy crafting! :-)

  8. I really like the look of the scarf but I don't think I could do it! It looks very complicated with the needles (but sooooo pretty)! Is that one of the things for the fair (I am soooooooooo excited for you!)

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

    1. Hi Anne!

      Congratulations on your marriage and welcome back to the blogosphere. :-)

      The scarf is not really complicated at all. With the double-ended hook you can achieve it easily.

      If you ever have a double-ended hook handy, experiment with changing ends between the forward pass and reverse pass.

      It's easy: start by working your cast-on row (forward pass) at the left end of the hook. When you have cast on all the stitches and before you start the cast-off row (reverse pass), slide the cast-on stitches to the right-hand end of the hook. Then turn the work so the right-end hòok becomes the new left-hand hook ready to continue with the reverse pass which casts off the stitches on the hook.

      You can achieve different tricot pattern effects depending on where you insert the hook just like regular crochet. A double-ended hook adds another dimension to the possibilities.

      I will be taking the scarf to the Maker Faire for people to see and I look forward to answering people's crochet questions including demonstrations of tricot and broomstick techniques and any other crochet topics that people bring.

      I'm looking forward to the challenge. Once the Maker Faire is over, I hope to find time to make a little photo tutorial. I'm conscious that it is Prudence Mapstone's tutorial pattern so haven't revealed the details but with some experimentation you will be able to achieve similar effects.

      Have fun playing with it. :-)

  9. Jodie - I LOVE the photo of you in your scarf and all the details you've given us on this technique in your post are really amazing. Thank you!! I have certainly heard of Prudence Mapstone - she's a real crochet superstar. What an amazing experience to have taken a class with her! I have a tiny bit of experience with double-ended crochet having had to complete a swatch for my second Craft Yarn Council crochet certificate. I remember really loving the two colored textured effect. I'm glad you got down to beach recently. We went to the beach last weekend and I always feel so peaceful there especially when I get my hook and yarn out!!

    1. Hi Tamara,

      Thanks for your feedback. It is nice to know my efforts are appreciated. When I was first learning how to crochet, I was hungry for information - not just stitch patterns but technical information too. I hope posts like this one help but I don't want to scare anyone off!

      As for experts, Prudence Mapstone is so lovely. It is always a pleasure to meet her. I am yet to learn how to do her beautiful bullion spiralled scrumbles. I always seem to be busy on other things which is why workshops are great - they get you doing things you wouldn't normally do.

      Tell me more about your Craft Yarn Council certificate. There is no such accreditation in Australia. What did you need to achieve with your double-ended hook and did the course cover the issues discussed here? Have I omitted anything important that should be mentioned? Was there anything new here for you? I hope details will spark your curiosity and imagination.

      What are Texan beaches like? Do you live relatively close to a beach or is it a special day trip to visit?

      I suppose that's enough questioning for now, you poor thing - bombarded with qusetions! :-O

      Like you, the beach always brings peace to me too (and no questions!) Have a happy crochet day! :-)

  10. Apologies for the extremely late reply Jolie!

    The requirement for the double ended hook sample was pretty simple compared to your description. I just had to produce in a 5x5 inch two color square. It's a cool technique and I'm sure I'll come back to it at some time. I was not familiar with all the names for double ended crochet. That's interesting for me.

    Believe it or not before we moved to Texas almost five years ago I thought it was a landlocked state. Galveston is around an hour fifteen drive so it's a day trip, overnight stay kind of place but so worth it. We also go to a quieter place Surfside which is a little further but you can drive your car onto the beach and tailgate so that's kind of fun too.

    1. Sorry Jodie autocorrect changed your name to Jolie. Whoops!

    2. Haha! No need to apologise for late replies because I am 'in the same boat' - it's a crazy time of year. I've barely had time to read blogs over December and am busy catching up now. I also happen to know someone called Jolie and she is really nice so I don't mind getting confused with her! ;-)

      I have been learning all sorts of things about Texas over the years and keep meeting people in Adelaide who have Texan connections although that is not surprising since Austin TX is one of Adelaide's sister cities.

      When I see the name Galveston, I hear Glen Campbell singing...

      It must be extra special to spend time at the beach when it is a day-trip away but what a nice reason to extend your stay.

      May you have more opportunities to go in 2017. Happy New Year!