Book Review: Fair Isle Tunisian Crochet

Cover photo (C) 2016 Brenda Bourg

Today I'm sharing a new crochet book with you. This, is "Fair Isle Tunisian Crochet" by writer and designer Brenda Bourg, published by Stackpole Books. There are 16 designs in this book including 2 boot cuffs, a jar cozy, a bag, 3 headbands, 3 cowls, 2 fingerless mitts, 2 sweaters, and 2 afghans.

I love this technique! It produces a really thick fabric, so it is great for warm projects! I also think it will be great in a bag. If you've ever done intarsia in standard crochet, you know that you don't typically get clean crisp lines because of the wrong side rows. Not so with fair isle Tunisian crochet! There is no turning in Tunisian crochet, and therefore, no wrong side rows! Its fun to watch the pattern emerge as you work. It reminds me of watching my mom cross-stitch when I was little. I loved to watch the picture take shape as she worked!

(C) 2016 Brenda Bourg
 The projects are varied and lovely. Here are a few of my favorites. Above: Annabel Bag. I love the effect of the color changing yarn against the black background!

(C) 2016 Brenda Bourg
 Cora Sweater. Isn't that breathtaking? I would truly love to have such a sweater! It would be so striking, and warm!

(C) 2016 Brenda Bourg

Emma Afghan. I wish this photo were zoomed in a little more so that you could see the fair isle pattern better. You can see the picture better in the book and it is really pretty! Again, I would love such a warm blanket!

I had never tried this technique before, and was a little intimidated by it. I was determined though to try it, so that I could share my experience with you all. I have been wanting to make a small crocheted purse lately, so I decided to use this technique and base my bag off one of the patterns. I began with the pattern for the Sabela Cowl (below).

(C) 2016 Brenda Bourg

I worked 2 rows in Tunisian knit stitch, then began the colorwork. I made a piece of fabric just big enough for 2 flowers side by side. I'll fold this in half, seam 2 sides, and add a button, button loop, and strap. I finished the piece with maybe...4 or so hours of work. It's hard to estimate. I never pay enough attention to the time when working. Keep in mind that I had never done this technique before, and also that I don't typically crochet all that fast. I take it easy most of the time when I stitch.

Here's my piece:

In progress

All finished
One thing I'll say about my piece, my gauge is a little too loose. I should have used an L hook, but I don't have a Tunisian L hook (a Tunisian hook is longer than a standard hook and doesn't have a thumb rest). I had a Tunisian M hook, so I used that. No biggie. It still turned out pretty great!

What this goes to show is that the first thing Brenda takes care of in the book is to teach the technique. If you don't know Tunisian crochet, or fair isle Tunisian crochet, no need to worry. She walks you through both with lots of pictures. I've learned a few basic Tunisian stitches over the last few years, but had never tried or heard/seen explained the Tunisian purl stitch. Thank you Brenda! I've got that one in my bag of tricks now!

I highly recommend this book. In full disclosure, Brenda Bourg is one of my best friends, however, there is no false praise here. If this technique interests you, purchase this book with confidence, it's a good one!

Now for the fun part! I get to give one away to a lucky reader! It can only be shipped to a US address, sorry to my foreign friends. If you are in the US, please enter by leaving a comment below. I'll choose one winner on March 8th and do my best to get in touch with you. I recommend you come back and check because I sometimes have a hard time getting in touch with winners.

Happy stitching!


  1. I'm being a little greedy in commenting here, since I won the last Tunisian book you reviewed. But I loved it & this is really gorgeous work, so here I am, throwing my name into the hat. ;)

    1. Believe it or not, you are the winner again! I used random.org to select a winner, and #1 was chosen. Can you please message or email me your address, and I'll pass the info along to the publisher. Yay for fun new crochet books!