Posted on 28 Comments

Is Tunisian Crochet faster than Regular Crochet?

two hamds hold a large ball of warm yellow yarn on top of a painted white wooden surface. In the right hand is a crochet hook

I’ve wondered for years if Tunisian Crochet is faster than regular crochet.
Which uses more yarn? Do they come out the same size?
I decided to find out once and for all.
Let’s get into it!

Say it with me; “A test is fair if everything about the things being tested is equal, except for one, measurable difference.”
My science teacher in school made us all memorise that little saying.

In layman’s terms it means that if you want to answer any of the above questions, you have to keep everything equal.
You have to use the same yarn, the same hook, do it on the same day, while sitting in the same chair, watching the same Netflix show, and use the same number of stitches for both swatches.

In this test, therefore, the only difference I’ve allowed is the one we’ll be measuring;
One swatch will be using regular, traditional crochet & the other will be composed of Tunisian Crochet.

I’ll be using a 5 mm hook for each swatch, and Aran weight wool/Acrylic blend yarn.
Each swatch will have 15 stitches across, and will be 15 rows tall.

two hands hold a swatch of traditional crochet in yellow yarn against a painted white wooden surface

This is my Traditional, regular crochet swatch.

It took precisely 13 minutes to complete which – if you want to get technical – means each stitch took me an average of 3.4 seconds to make.
It used a total of 6 grams of yarn
and it measures 10 cm across x 9.5 cm tall.

Sooo close to being a perfect square! So close!

two hands hold a swatch of Tunisian crochet in yellow yarn against a painted white wooden surface

And this is my Tunisian crochet swatch.

This little lady took a smidge longer to finish, clocking in at 14 minutes, 30 seconds.
With the exact same stitch count as the regular crochet swatch, that means each stitch took me on average 3.8 seconds to make.
It used a total of 7 grams of yarn, and it measures 11 cm across x 11 cm tall.

A perfect square, well done, Tunisian!

So, in essence, the difference in speed is negligible.

A Tunisian Simple Stitch stitch takes .4 seconds longer to make than a traditional double crochet stitch (US single crochet), but that slightly slower speed could very well be eliminated and reversed if I had chosen to crochet the 255 stitches in the Tunisian swatch on a bigger hook. I found the 5 mm hook a little too small.

Tunisian is a denser fabric, so it’s no surprise that it used a little more yarn, but not nearly as much as I had assumed it would, which was an awesome surprise. The square also came out a little bigger, so when measuring by area, they pretty much work out equal.
So if Tunisian’s reputation as a yarn hog is what’s putting you off, it might be time for a rethink.

hands hold two swatches in yellow yarn against a painted white wooden surface

Both swatches turned out to be square (though, this Tunisian fan is pleased to see Tunisian come out bang on!)
The fact that both techniques have stitches that are as tall as they are wide makes them infinitely suitable to colourwork and charting using graph paper – and far more versatile than stocking stitch in knitting, which has stitches markedly taller than they are wide.

My conclusion, therefore is that between Tunisian and Regular crochet, the differences in yarn use and time taken are negligible, so feel free to choose the technique that YOU prefer and that’s right for the project you have in mind safe in the knowledge that it’ll all work out well in the end.

Did you enjoy this tutorial? Tell me in the comments below!
And hey, tell your friends too!


28 thoughts on “Is Tunisian Crochet faster than Regular Crochet?

  1. Thanks for taking the time to do this wee experiment Aoibhe. I’ve often assumed I use much more yarn with Tunisian stitches versus normal crochet – now I know that’s not the case. I’m delighted Tunisian also gives a perfect square. I think if there’s a curl to the work it can look the wrong size and shape till blocked.

    1. You’re right! That curl can be very misleading, can’t it?

      The nice thing about confirming that Tunisian Simple Stitch is a square is that it would also work well as a medium for cross stitch. The possibilities are endless!

      1. Yes, endless possibilities! I was thinking about the willow forest you are growing in your garden. It did cross my mind if anyone can find a way to combine basket weaving and Tunisian crochet, it was you! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with! 🤣

    2. Have not made anything with this particular crochet adventure but I would like to make a large blanket of king size blanket and I would like to know if it would be possible to get a big enough hook in order to make it and they have the two hooks together with the wire between so you can make it as big as you can hold it and then make the other part then sew it together for king size bed.

  2. Thank you for doing this example! It’s so basic a question yet one never really takes the time to do the process. Just like the perception that knitting uses less yarn than crochet – logic says, it depends on the stitch!

    1. Very true!
      I might do a comparison between knitting and Tunisian next. I wonder how that will turn out!

  3. This is so interesting! I never really thought about it, but my immediate assumption was that normal crochet would be faster but also use more yarn than tunisian crochet.

    1. I’m glad I did the experiment!
      My assumption was that Tunisian would use a LOT more yarn, but it’s not really the case.

  4. Great read! Thanks for the experiment and results, and all the comments. Cheers!

    1. You’re very welcome, Jan! I’m glad I decided to give it a whirl.

  5. This is a great post! Thanks so much for sharing it.

    In my experience, I had to adjust my habits in order to get both my single crochet (UK double) stitches and my Tunisian simple stitches to be square. It took some practice, because my habit had been to pull up on the vertical strands until my stitches were significantly tall and rectangular.

    I’ve seen several videos by crochet experts online who pull their stitches up even taller than I did. So, I find it interesting that your stitches are naturally square.

    It’s also been my experience that making a hat with Tunisian crochet requires me to focus intentionally on keeping the return pass stitches wider than I normally would. Otherwise, the hat isn’t stretchy enough and is very uncomfortable to wear, even if I get the circumference measurement correct.

    1. Those are some very interesting observations, Cheryl.
      I’d imagine how I hold my hook has a part to play in how square my stitches turn out.

      Interestingly, I have a post planned in the not to distant future about Tunisian crochet ease and how to adjust your tension for better results!

  6. […] intrigued me, also taking into account the recent blog post by Aoibhe Ni about her own experiment, measuring the speed of regular crochet versus Tunisian […]

  7. I found this very interesting as well. What I am aware of is how much more “fun” I find Tunisian crochet than regular crochet. Maybe it’s because it’s newer to me….but I think it also has to do with the return pass. I like doing two different things and the variety of the forward and then return passes is somehow very satisfying to me… all things being equal, I would choose Tunisian any day! 🙂

    1. I agree!
      Tunisian is a heck of a lot of fun!

  8. I would appreciate a video of each style to compare

    1. I’ll see what I can do!

  9. I have long intended to learn Tunisian crochet, and after reading your experiment and how much everybody enjoys doing it, I guess it’s about time! Thank you for such an interesting post!

    1. I’m so glad you found my experiment inspiring! Debbie, you’re gonna love Tunisian.

      By the way, you don’t need to buy a long hook to get started. Any regular length hook works!

  10. Great post—I love your writing style! I recently finished a shawl in Tunisian that I translated from knitting. The stitches were fine (I made TPS for the knitted garter stitch and modified a lace stitch I found for the lacy knitted stitch). But the shape didn’t work out. It was a trapezoid (four sides) instead of an obtuse triangle. I still don’t know what I did wrong. Point being, if you have a better understanding of how knitting stitches work and how they translate to Tunisian, I’ll bet there are hundreds of crocheters out there who would pay for a guide to translating knitting patterns to Tunisian! I’m first in line. Regardless, thank you for all you do for the crochet community!

    1. Patty, thank you for the wonderful comment! And for the interesting idea! I’d love to see your finished shawl, if you’d be willing to email me a photo

      I’d love to help you figure out why it came out an unexpected shape.

  11. I always wondered if one style took longer and used more yarn than the other so thank you for your time to compare.

    1. You’re welcome, Sherry! I’m glad you found it useful.

  12. Thanks for doing such a scientific comparison! I’m trying to decide which type of crochet to learn and no one ever talks about the back! I love the front of the Tunisian crochet but I wonder what the back looks like? Can you pls post a photo of the back of each swatch? Thank you!

    1. What a very cool question! There’s an entire post in that question, I think.

      Thanks for asking!

  13. Very interesting and very nicely done….I love both but I’d rather do Tunisian…it’s really nice to know this..thk you…by the way there are a number of ways to keep the bottom from rolling…maybe should be a topic to compare…

  14. Make a Tunisian needle that has a wire attached so I can make a blanket with 350 stitches.

    1. Hi, Silvia!
      Those hooks exist already.

      All you have to do is look for “Tunisian Crochet Interchangable Hooks” and you’ll find a treasure trove of options.

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