Tunisian Crochet: Cross Bar Foundations

I always thought this was possible, but I had never seen anyone else do this.  Well, someone else HAD done this, but it was so long ago, that we had lost track of it.  Yes, you can use just the individual threads or loops in the Cross Bar as a Foundation for Tunisian Crochet Stitches.

I found the concept for these stitches in a reproduction book of some Victorian era crochet magazines.  The modern book lists Peterson*s Magazine of 1862 as the source for this stitch.

Top Thread
This is the most logical choice for using the Cross Bar as a foundation.   When looking at the piece of Tunisian Crochet, the Top Thread is the very top thread of the connecting Chain stitch that is made on the return pass.
This version has very little curl, and mimics the Simple Stitch in texture.  It has a flat appearance on the front and the ribbing on the back is nominal.  Since the Vertical Loops are not worked, this leaves them open; thus making ideal for medium weight outerwear.  Or with an F hook and small cotton thread, this would make an interesting Lace pattern.

The Back Loop
The Purl version of the Cross Bar Foundations, this stitch can be a substitute for Broomstick Lace.  When looking at the piece of Tunisian Crochet, the Back Loop is right behind the Top Thread of the Cross Bar.  I use the term Back Loop, since it appears more like a loop than just a thread.

This version has very little curl, but tends to *pull* to the left and will need more blocking to correct this.  It resembles the Full Stitch with rows and rows of loose threads that have a slightly bumpy texture.  In fact, Peterson*s Magazine of 1862 called it the Wave Stitch, which I believe is a good description of the front.

Bottom Thread- 2 Versions
When using the Cross Bar Foundations in Tunisian Crochet, the Bottom Thread is the most difficult to work with in the Cross Bar.  However, I found two different ways of utilizing it; each with their own appearance in the final product.

When looking at the piece of Tunisian Crochet, the Bottom Thread is the very bottom horizontal thread of the connecting Chain stitch that is made on the return pass.

One way of utilizing the Bottom Thread is to pull it to the top of the work or 'twist it up.' This stitch is almost not worth the effort, since no amount of care to keep the cross bar tension very, very loose does any good.  When you twist the Bottom Loop up, this pulls on the Cross Bar next to it, thus tightening the Cross Bar to the point I couldn’t get my hook through it.  In the end, I got a hook four sizes smaller to insert into the Bottom Thread of the Cross Bar then fed the new loops onto the larger hook.

The final appearances of either Bottom Thread versions are nothing to brag about,and working with the Bottom Thread was not easy.  I, personally, find the Bottom Thread Cross Bar Foundation not worth the extra effort to utilize it.

The individual Foundations create a different stitch, each with its own unique appearance and gauge. The Simple Foundation creates a slightly looser and taller stitch than the Knit Foundation.  The Purl and Reverse Foundations add more texture to the stitch.  The Full Foundation adds, yet, another unique difference to any stitch.  

However, all of the Foundations create a very close, tight stitch pattern that is quite effective for blankets and bed coverings.  The Two Layers that all of the TC stitches create add another layer of insulation to finished pieces, making them very warm in cold winter months.

Just by changing the Foundation, hundreds of stitches can be created from a few basic stitch formations.  It is my experience that some stitches do not work well with all of the Foundations; and the different Foundations can radically alter the appearance of stitches.
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You can find an updated version of this article in the Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet!