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Tunisian Crochet: Joining Panels

April 26, 2011

Tunisian Crochet, or the Afghan Stitch, combines all the things we love about knitting with the ease of crochet. This technique offers smooth and even stitches, interesting stitch patterns, and beautiful colour work options. The process is simple and speedy resulting in a sturdy and firm Afghan of heirloom quality.

Tunisian Crochet is my preferred method for Afghans or blankets. The basic Tunisian stitch (video tutorial) lends itself nicely to producing a tightly woven fabric whose right side resembles a grid. The grid provides the perfect canvas that allows for limitless embellishment options – like cross stitching. The wrong side resembles the wrong (or purl) side of its knitted cousin.

Creating and embellishing the Panels of your Afghan are only the first couple steps. These Panels must now be joined to form an heirloom quality Afghan – complete with love stitched into every stitch. (Please note that it is easier to first stitch your panels, embellish them, and then join them together. This avoids mismatched designs.)

“Just how do we join these panels?” you might be thinking. Grab your project, refill your coffee, get comfy, and I’ll explain my favourite joining method to you.

Joining Tunisian Crochet (Afghan Stitch) Panels – Front Post Treble Crochet Method:

There are a number of ways to join Tunisian Crochet Panels. They range from the simple (using a crochet hook, with right sides together, to join the Panels with a running slip stitch) to the more complicated process involving the creation of borders and side borders using a combination of the treble (or triple) stitch and the front post treble crochet method (video tutorial), which provides an added depth and texture to the completed project. Choosing complimentary colours for the borders and side borders creates a colour blending detail that provides a striking compliment to the Panels and the overall design.

The front post treble crochet method adds borders and side borders in between the embellished Panels while connecting them. It helps to think of this process as building in layers. Each round or row represents one layer of the final design. (Please note that you will begin by working down the length of the panel with the right side facing you.)

Tip: Using a crochet hook ½ size smaller than the Afghan hook allows for any ease that may be produced. For instance, when using a 6.5mm Afghan hook, I’ll create the Panel borders and side borders with a size 6.00 mm. Your panels will lay flat and the borders will not pucker.

Creating Panel Border:

  1. Round (layer) 1:
    1. Using colour A, work down the length of the panel, join yarn (in corner) and chain 1, single crochet in first row-end stitch.
    2. **Treble in next corresponding horizontal stitch four rows below pulling treble up to current level of work.
    3. * Single crochet in each of next 3 row-end stitches, treble in next corresponding horizontal stitch 4 stitches below pulling treble up to current level of work *.
    4. Repeat from * to * down the length to within last stitch across.
    5. Single crochet in last row-end stitch, chain 2, single crochet in each stitch across to next corner, corner 2 **.
    6. Single crochet in first row-end stitch down length and repeat from ** to ** around.
    7. Join with a slip stitch to beginning crochet.
    8. Fasten off.
  2. Round (layer) 2:
    1. Join colour B in beginning single crochet, chain one and single crochet in beginning single crochet.
    2. * Single in next treble, treble in next corresponding horizontal stitch three stitches below pulling treble up to current level of work.
    3. Single crochet in next single crochet.
    4. Treble in next corresponding horizontal stitch 3 stitches below pulling treble up to current level of work *. **
    5. ** Repeat from * to * across to within 2 stitches from corner.
    6. Single crochet in next treble, single crochet in next single crochet (single crochet, chain 2, single crochet) in corner chain 2 space **.
    7. Single crochet in next single crochet.
    8. Repeat from ** to ** around, join with slip stitch to top of beginning single crochet.
    9. Fasten off.
  3. Round (layer) 3:
    1. Join colour C in beginning single crochet, chain 1, single crochet in beginning single crochet, and single crochet in each of next 2 stitches.
    2. *Treble in next corresponding horizontal stitches 3 stitches below pulling treble up to current level of work, single in each of next 3 stitches *,
    3. ** Repeat from * to * across to within 1 single crochet from corner, single crochet in next single crochet (single crochet, chain 2, single crochet) in corner chain 2 space **.
    4. Single crochet in each of next 4 stitches, repeat from ** to ** around to within last single crochet.
    5. Single crochet in last single crochet. Join with slip stitch to beginning single crochet.
    6. Fasten off.
  4. Repeat these steps for each panel.

Add this step to create a Panel Border to each panel once the embellishment stage is complete.

Creating Panel Side Border:

Work with right side facing you. You will be working down the length of the panel as directed in rows (layers) not rounds.

  1. Row (layer) 1:
    1. Join colour B in corner chain 2 space.
    2. Chain 1, single crochet in corner chain 2 space.
    3. * Single crochet in each of next 3 stitches.
    4. Work front post treble in next corresponding A treble stitch 3 rows below pulling treble up to current level of work *.
    5. Repeat from * to * across to within 3 stitches from corner.
    6. Single crochet in each of next 3 stitches, single crochet in corner chain 2 space.
    7. Fasten off.
  2. Row (layer) 2:
    1. Return to beginning of Row 1 and join colour C in beginning single crochet, chain 1, single crochet in beginning single crochet in each of next 4 stitches.
    2. * Front post treble in next corresponding colour B treble 3 rows below pulling treble up to current level of work. Single crochet in next stitch *.
    3. Repeat from * to * across to within last 4 single crochets, single crochet in each of last 4 single crochet, and turn.
  3. Rows (layers) 3 and 4:
    1. Chain 1, single crochet in each stitch across, and turn.
    2. Fasten off at the end of Row 4.

Repeat this process (rows 1-4) on the opposite side of Panel.

Repeat Side Border and add to each Panel once embellishments and Border Panels have been added to each Panel.

Joining Completed Panels:

Now that you have completed your Panel Borders, it is time to join the whole lot together. The process is simple:

  1. With right sides of two panels aligned (be sure to align each corresponding row of panel if you have used an embellishment that must be matched), slip stitch panels together on wrong side using back loops, matching stitches from corner to corner down length.
  2. Repeat this process until all panels are joined.

You can now weave in your ends and curl up with a good book beneath your new Afghan.

My latest Afghan in progress shows the completed joining process:

Alternating your coordinating colours creates a blended effect that adds an extra “pizzazz” to any Afghan. I chose three complimentary shades of blue, which produced subtle colour blending that enhances the shades present in the main design.

Clear as mud, right? Remember that I’m always happy to answer any questions you might have on this and other posts. Just email me your question and we’ll sort it out in no time at all. Above all, have fun, try something new … and …

Happy Stitching!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Zoe permalink
    February 21, 2012 6:25 pm

    Hello! I just found this page by a Google search. I’m designing a project in tunisian crochet and was having trouble joining the panels together neatly when the colors are not the same. The afghan panels pictured on this page are stunnning. Is this your own design? It is beautiful!

    • February 21, 2012 7:13 pm

      Hi, Zoe! I’m so glad you stopped by. Your kind words are more than appreciated. These are not my designs, but they are gorgeous. The afghans are covetted by many friends and my family. They are a job to piece together. If you have any questions, please don’t hestiate to ask. I adore Tunisian Crochet.

  2. March 25, 2013 10:42 pm

    I would like to find information about how to join squares or blocks of Tunisian Crochet together using single crochet. The afghan I saw has big colored blocks of Tunisian crochet with black all around each block and the edging.
    I’d love to find a basic pattern like this, or just advice about the process of joining them.

    • March 26, 2013 7:34 am

      I will see what I can do to help you.

  3. Rene' permalink
    June 18, 2013 7:15 pm

    I am in need of understanding a pattern..I am making a market bag – 1st 16 rows are done in TKS, no problem…. then I start the first side of the bag…
    Directions Row 1 For this row, you will pick up in the right side end of last 8 rows, pick up across 30 sts, then pick up in left side end of 8 rows for a total of 46 stitches, working in TEKS.
    To do this join in right side end of row 9, ch 1, (pull up lp in end of next row, ch1) 7 x.

    I am so confused…. can you help me?

  4. Kriystal Gray permalink
    February 8, 2014 7:16 am

    This is absolutely gorgeous!!! I am having difficulties with my project… It’s a graphghan, and I need to do it in 2 panels. How would I join the 2 panels, seamlessly… So that it looks like it was done in 1 piece?

  5. Dorothy permalink
    May 20, 2014 10:57 am

    I’m trying to make a baby blanket with the afghan hook but it is too stiff, baby is coming in 5 weeks, a great grandson.

    • May 20, 2014 12:13 pm

      Have you tried using a larger hook size or lighter weight yarn?

  6. April 10, 2014 7:26 am

    Definitely! It is one of my favourite techniques. I must write more about it.

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