Friday 5 June 2020

Time for Tricot (Going Potty)

When I need calming, I reach for crochet. It truly is a sanity saver.

Today I'm working on some tricot. You might know it as Tunisian crochet but Australians have been calling it tricot for decades so that's what I call it. It feels very much like a knitting process as I work it so, to my mind, 'tricot' describes the craft very well - knitting with a hook!

This is an example of honeycomb stitch. It's easy to reproduce.*

The way to do it: alternate 'Simple' stitches with 'Purl' stitches making sure to start and finish with a simple stitch on each selvedge. On the next row, work Purl stitches into the Simple stitches and Simple stitches into the Purl stitches to create this beautiful woven pattern called honeycomb stitch.

This fabric is going to become a pot holder. The original intention was to use an 8 ply / Double Knit (DK) weight cotton. The only DK weight cotton of any description in my stash, was actually a blend of cotton and acrylic. That won't do because pot holders are used for hot items and acrylic is a plastic that will melt when exposed to high temperatures. No one wants acrylic melting into their hands while lifting a hot pot out of the oven.

So. What's my next choice? I can't get to the shops right now and I don't really want to because I still have a huge stash of other yarn around the house to work through. Let's see … I have leftover 4-ply cotton from the DY placemats.

This yarn choice was a two-way design decision between stitch and colour:
  • The honeycomb stitch was perfect for a square pot holder because it doesn't have any bias–it gives you straight edges. 
  • Secondly, variegated yarn is perfect for showing up the texture of this stitch and it just so happens that variegated yarn was all I had at hand in pure cotton.

Originally I wanted to use a heavier yarn for a thick pot holder; and to use tricot technique because it can produce a thicker fabric to protect hands from heat. The honeycomb stitch looks interesting and the texture feels great but it is not as dense as solid Simple stitch or Knit stitch. In the 4-ply weight with a 3.5 mm hook, it has a lovely drape but not thick enough for heat protection. (Mental note: might make a nice item of clothing.)

My solution to that disappointing fact is to either:
  • make two identical square layers and stitch them 'wrong' sides together for double thickness. Two 'right' sides facing outwards will be aesthetically pleasing (but will that give the equivalent of a single layer of 8-ply? Will it be enough heat protection?);
  • find some cotton wadding from the sewing cupboard for a tricot sandwich with a cotton filling and bind the sides. That's a plan. We'll see how it turns out. The issue with wadding is that it needs to be secure it so that it doesn't move within its 'sandwich' during use or laundering. I am not keen to stitch over it with the sewing machine in a quilting style because I think that will spoil the textured patterns of the honeycomb tricot stitch. A pot holder is much smaller than a quilt. Do you think I could get away with not doing any quilting?  Advice please!

A thinner yarn means more rows required for the same amount of fabric compared to a DK / 8-ply yarn and that means a longer time to make!  If I use a DK yarn, the fewer rows may give the pattern a chunkier attitude and have a totally different feel and aesthetic to what I have now.  Perhaps I should make a sample in a heavier yarn for the comparison exercise.

The limitation of a 4-ply yarn has led to a more interesting pattern and texture than what I may otherwise have had because there are more row repeats.

How I make it: I started with 48 chain stitches as a foundation and I will keep working rows until I can fold the bottom edge to meet a side edge (to make a triangle) and both edges match in length. It should work out to about 48 rows. I will let you know when I find out!

A wooden bowl full of 50 gram skeins of 4 ply cotton sits on a white crocheted granny stitch table cloth.
Milford Soft 3 ply cotton
(4 ply equivalent)
I am using Aqua/white variegated:
colour 0740  Soft Ombre Pastel
There has been much ripping back ('frogging') of this project because the honeycomb pattern is so regular that any little mistakes show up clearly. I made a mistake early on (mixing up the Purls and Simples) but by the time I noticed, it was too late and I was not going to frog more than half the completed work for the sake of a tiny irregularity when all I'm after is a functional pot holder!

The hope is that, by the time the entire piece is finished, the error will get lost in the overall scheme. I am also frightened that if I did frog all that way, I will be so close to the beginning, I may be tempted to abandon the project altogether.

Loss of concentration and lots of little errors have frustrated me. This project is taking way too long!

This soft cotton doesn't help. Unlike a crisp mercerized cotton, this one has a soft and fuzzy quality to it which can catch onto itself and snag. One needs a slow and gentle frogging technique.

I suspect that this deceivingly simple project is going to take much longer than anticipated thanks to the frustrating fatigue fog.

Have you ever had projects that seemed simple but took forever to do?
How did you get through? 

Please share your anecdotes and advice
in a comment (box below)
or email

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,
it could be that you haven't grasped the gravity of the situation!"

* I have not provided instructions for Simple and Purl tricot stitches because everybody learns differently. It is up to you to choose the best resources for you. I am happy to answer questions though!
** A play on the opening line of Rudyard Kipling's poem "If".  The original line was to encourage one to be unflappable when others are panicking.  I remembered this parody in relation to underestimating a craft project, being oblivious to the complexities until its too late.

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

"A Touch of Tricot", 13 February 2017:

"Tricot with a Double-ended Hook (Tunisian Crochet)", 22 October 2016:

"Tricot Tableware Complete: Happy Anniversary!", 30 March 2016:


Kipling, Rudyard, "If", first published in Rewards and Fairies, 1910; published online Poetry Foundation (accessed 29 May 2020):


  1. Leuk dat je bent gaan haken.
    Vroeger heb ik dat heel veel gedaan, ik haakte gordijnen van die valletjes, ook voor anderen deed ik dat.
    Groetjes Irma

    1. Wauw Irma! Gordijnen en valletjes zijn grote projecten maar erg mooi.
      Heb je foto's van hen? Kunnen we uw werk zien? Je moet veel geduld hebben.
      Wow Irma! Curtains and valances are big projects but very pretty. Do you have photos of them? Can we see your work? You must have a lot of patience.
      Cool and amazing, Irma. :-)

  2. I've not tried tricot or tunisian but if it's like knitting, I likely won't get on so well. :) I'm working from my stash making whatever I can. I think some yarn places might be delivering now but I need to get creative and use what I have on hand rather than always wanting to run out and get more. I've never actually ordered yarn for delivery anyways. I remember making kitchen pads and potholders years ago for friends. At the time, I knew nothing about yarn and was only using acrylic. Oops! Now I know better. Thankfully no one told me they had any mishaps with melting. :/

    1. Hi Tammy,

      Don't let the k-word discourage you from trying. It is like knitting in that its worked in rows at a time, casting on and then off; however it is much easier than knitting because you are still using a hook. You can focus on one stitch at a time without worrying about all the other previous stitches falling off the shaft when you are not looking (that's my clumsy knitting experience). The hook at the end catches and holds them all on. Much easier.

      How is the stashbusting going? Maybe the limitations of your stash will lead to more creativity? Sometimes restrictions cause us to come up with better results than first envisaged. The only yarn I have ever ordered online is yarn that I've had the opportunity to see and touch in person beforehand. Sometimes images on screen can be misleading, particularly if the monitor colours are not calibrated.

      I have never heard real stories of anyone's crocheted or knitted potholders melting but I don't know whether they were made with acrylic or not. All I know is that acrylic can melt with application of heat such as an iron so 'better safe than sorry' in my mind. Maybe I need to go and find out the specific temperature of its melting point. Would it be different in a cotton/acrylic blend?

      Sorry there are more questions than answers for you, Tammy!

  3. I have not tried Tunisian Crochet even though I have been tempted. But when I knit and do seed stitch I feel like I can knit for hours and never get anywhere with my project. I have just started a new project, one I ordered yarn for but then have two more i would like to work on from my stash. I am still trying to get that down to a more manageable size. Stay safe my friend.

    1. Hi Meredith,

      I share your feelings that knitting can feel like it takes forever. That was a barrier to motivation when I was a teenager.

      Tunisian crochet / tricot is quicker than knitting. Like crochet speed depends on the yarn weight. The forward passes (cast ons) can be as fiddly as knitting but the reverse passes (cast offs) of chain stitches are so speedy, they make it feel like flying through the rows in no time.

      Do you get many leftovers from your projects when you order for specific projects? Maybe the leftovers can be used to practice Tunisian crochet technique? Much of my stash is leftovers and donated yarn, hence my search for stashbusting projects. How are your stash stats looking these days, Meredith?

      Good luck with the perpetual struggle to wrangle that yarn stash! I hear you.

      wishing you sanity and safety! x

  4. I've been wanting to learn Tunisian crochet / tricot for a long time. Yours looks lovely, like the sky on a clear day.

    1. Thank you Amalia,
      If you wanted to give Tunisian crochet a try without committing to purchasing long tricot hooks yet, you can do it on any regular crochet hook with a shaft that is the same diameter all the way along. Bamboo or wooden hooks are usually made like that without the irregularities of wide thumb rests or fat handles. Regular hooks will only be able to hold short rows of stitches but it will be enough to give you a feel for the technique.
      You may like to investigate 'entrelac' crochet which is perfectly suited to the Tunisian technique.
      The thing I love about crochet is that there is always something new to learn or try. I would be interested in your efforts, Amalia.
      Have fun with it. xx

  5. I got into tunisian crochet last year and did a sampler with different stitches. I eventually frogged it because it was just a learning piece but it is a lovely combination of knitting and crochet. I am sure I will pick it up again at some point. My croatian teacher made a beautiful Tunisian blanket for her daughter. It is interesting about how different places call things differently. I love the name tricot. I did buy a cool tunisian hook with a long cable in between two different size hooks.

    1. By the way Tricot is the french word for knitting.

    2. Hi Marianne,
      I love that tricot is found on so many continents around the world. i would be interested to see what kinds of patterns and motifs are used in Croatia.
      Yes, tricot is the French word for knitting - I am smiling because you are such a wordsmith and I appreciate your words of wisdom here! xx

  6. I wish I had this talent. I love that shade of blue in the yarn.

    1. Thank you! I finally finished the project and will try to post pictures this month. I love blue. It feels cool and calming. This particular blue reminds me of the sea.

  7. Hello, I am calling in from Crafty-in-the Med in reply to the comment you left on my latest post. Thanks for reaching out I am always keen to have new blogfriends. i have done some Tunisian crochet in the past. The honeycomb stitch does look to be a nice firm stitch ideal for a pot holder; very pretty variegated yarn. Curiously the Tunisian crochet is called Tricotar Tunecino here so you can see the word tricotar comes from,as you mentioned, the french root Tricot meaning knitting so they are using the same word as what is used in Australia. Re: your previous post I remember when staying with my sister at her motel in Gilgandra NSW that it was quite frequent for kangaroos to hop into the motel grounds and stay a while until they found their way out again. I didn't need to go looking for kangaroos to get my typical tourist photo of a Roo! :-) Keep well Amanda :-)

    1. Hi Amanda!
      It's wonderful that you have travelled to Australia before. Interesting that you find some of Queensland similar to your Spanish terrain. I think the French countryside that we see on the Tour de France telecast in the height of summer looks very much like South Australian countryside as well.
      Thank you for your comments about tricot / Tunisian / Tricotar Tunecino. I will add that last description to the list (I love learning about language). Your crochet expertise and opinion is appreciated - I love discussion of techniques and others' experiences as a way to learn while making friends. I have since completed the potholder - it was a true 'iso-project' (covid-19 isolation project). I haven't forgotten that there is still a blog post to be written about the finished product. It will be one of the first topics to be posted when I can focus on Lupey Loops again - in the new year 2021 with luck!
      May we survive through these crazy times.

  8. Coming back to wish you and yours a happy and healthy new year, dear Jodie. Hope it will be better and brighter.

    1. Hi Amalia! Thank you so much for your greeting. May 2021 be better and brighter for you too. I feel like I have been through a dark tunnel and am now coming out towards the light. So much has happened but, as you might have guessed by this reply, I'm almost ready to ease back into blogging and reconnecting in this space. Thank you for your constant friendship and patience. xx

  9. Spotted you on a mutual friends blog and thought I'ld pop in to say hi. It's always fun meeting new bloggers/crafters. We call it tunisean crochet, crohooking, and it seems there's another name for it; but I can't remember at the moment. Love the color you've chosen.

    1. Hi Sandy! Thank you for popping in and introducing yourself. I have been away from blogging during the pandemic years but hoping to return more regularly in 2024.