Review: The New Tunisian Crochet by Dora Ohrenstein

The New Tunisian Crochet by Dora Ohrenstein. Interweave Press: 2013. 144 pages. Paperback, PDF, and Kindle versions available. Grade: A

This thorough introduction to Tunisian crochet begins with a history which is as informative as much as it is entertaining to read. Did you know that this type of crochet does not come from Tunisia, or, in fact, anywhere? Once considered to be a form of knitting for idiots, also known today as “Afghan crochet,” this craft’s origins are very uncertain.

Following the brief history – and I must say it’s brief because there isn’t much to say  – Chapters 1 through 4 discuss techniques and considerations to be made about tools and materials. Chapter 5 is a very convenient stitch dictionary with complete instructions about how to execute many stitches.

The final and sixth chapter trots out the patterns, which are quite interesting and look like a lot of fun to crochet. I want to make the “Mago Vest,” “Lorelei Pullover,” “Terra Hat and Mitts,” “Ariadne Sampler Throw,” “Natalia Scarf,” and several more. My only very subjective complaint about the patterns is that I would prefer to see a couple more sweaters, maybe one more for women and one designed with men in mind. I know, I’m biased, but I am a strange being who is male, enjoys crocheting his own attire, and I crave wearable sweater patterns. The only design for men – which really could be unisex since the model for it is a man – is the “Mago Vest,” which, although attractive, is a vest, not a sweater. I don’t know about the men in your life, but I’m not much of a vest enthusiast. I suppose a saving grace about this pattern is that you could make up your own sleeves for it and sew them on. Regardless, this pattern looks interesting to crochet, so I’m sure I’ll find a use for it in the future. Then, of course, my mind starts wandering. I keep thinking, actually, about how I could hack the “Lorelei Pullover” to make it something for me to wear at the beach or something, crocheted with some light cotton or linen. I think it would look great on a guy with a t-shirt underneath, or on Johnny Depp with nothing underneath. First, I think I need to find a way to visit the beach some time soon so I have a reason to hack it!

Aside from my whining, I see more positives than negatives about this book. The patterns are modern yet timeless, the visuals are perfectly rendered, and everything from page 1 to the end is explained clearly and concisely. But, if you were sitting in a café or bar with me having a beer or a coffee and interviewed me about my opinion of this book, I would rave and rave about how it suggests a lot of “normal” yarns for the patterns. It seems that we live in an age of only publishing patterns written for exotic and/or expensive yarns. I love expensive yarn. I adore it. However, depending on one’s geographical location and budget, it’s not always possible to buy this material. Here in The New Tunisian Crochet we find recommendations such as Lion Brand. UK readers, think Hayfield or Style Craft, etc. Now that’s pretty refreshing. Furthermore, I think it is absolutely essential to show people how to make fashionable, beautiful things with less expensive yarns. This book does that very well.

Another handy aspect of this book is that it has a thoughtful glossary. A lot of knitting and crochet books have glossaries, but not all of them have good glossaries. This one is intelligent and useful.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning to make things with Tunisian crochet. From accessories to home decor, this one has the range most crocheters are looking for. If you only crochet things for men, it’s probably not a good investment, however, not many men want crocheted things, anyway. I’m probably the only one.


4 thoughts on “Review: The New Tunisian Crochet by Dora Ohrenstein

  1. Tami May 8, 2017 / 11:59 am

    I love Tunisian crochet! I have to admit though, I was off in dreamy-land after the mention of Johnny Depp with nothing underneath – took me a minute or two to re-focus on your post! Now I don’t go out looking for a lot of patterns, I usually feel like making something and end up in a pattern rabbit hole – but I have always noticed a lack of Tunisian patterns. Thanks for pointing me at a source to point my long hook at!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp May 8, 2017 / 6:20 pm

      It is super hard to find good Tunisian patterns I like, especially for men’s sweaters. I mostly have to rely on magazines to get them, like Simply Crochet and Interweave Crochet. Actually, I still have NOT Tunisian crocheted a sweater in my life. That must change soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pam @ Hooks and Hills May 12, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    I have this one out of the library at the moment 🙂 I’ve only read the intro and had a flip through. I’ve photographed the scarf pattern that’s supposed to be good for beginners as I’m not going to be having a go anytime soon and book must be returned.
    I own many crochet books and share your frustration about yarns specified being hard to get hold of, but I’m well used to it now, living as I do in Country New South Wales, Australia. Only shop containing yarn is a 60k round trip, and it a big box store with such limited choice I despair! We have one tiny independent recently opened, which I will be checking out today but not getting my hopes up too much I’ve had a couple of knitpicks orders sent over though and yesterday ordered my first Stylecraft Special DK from yay! Still hard not to see and feel yarns in person but so thankful for online shopping!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp May 12, 2017 / 10:32 pm

      I have two strategies: order online and not using the yarn called for. If you can match the indicated gauge and the stitch patterns looks good, no problem! I think I’ve only ever used the exact same yarn for one pattern and I’m pretty sure it was for knitting, not crochet. I’m so jealous you can order from knitpicks! I love them and they’re a great option. They don’t ship to Spain so I can’t order from them. I am lucky, though, because I can order from Deramores and Loveknitting and there are a few shops in the city with some nice yarns. I must admit, though, that there’s mostly boring yarn here where I live, too. Fortunately, the person who runs our knitting and crochet club also has an online shop and she carries a few of my go-to yarns. Anyway, I just use the yarn I want for patterns, paying attention to gauge and just seeing if I like how the yarn carries the overall stitch pattern. I’ve got used to not seeing the yarn in person. I just check other peoples’ descriptions of it, whether or not they were happy with it, etc. I haven’t been disappointed with an online order yet! Now that I’ve said it, I suppose it’ll be my turn soon. LOL


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