Looped Fabric

The double-ended tricot hook

The long cylindrical hook normally associated with Tunisian crochet doesn’t differ physically from a hook-tipped knitting needle. The past few posts have considered evidence of that tool having been co-opted for some form of crochet before the first descriptions of Tunisian stitches were published. In contrast, the double-ended hook appears to have been taken into the yarnworker’s toolkit specifically for Tunisian crochet, if not devised outright for it. (This is not the same implement as an ordinary crochet hook with different-sized heads at either end of a shorter, often contoured shaft.)

The first mention I’ve thus far located of a double-ended tricot hook is in an instruction for an “Infant’s Afghan” published in 1904 by Anna Schumacker in the 5th edition of The Columbia Book of the Use of Yarns. It is made with a “Fancy Tricot Stitch” requiring a “Wooden Double End Crochet Hook, 20 in., No. 13.” The stitch is described in relation to an “afghan stitch” illustrated under the heading “Fancy Stitches in Crocheting” but worked in what is recursively termed “tricot style.” This is now widely called the Tunisian Simple Stitch and the fancy version is similarly well known as the form of TSS produced with a double-ended hook.

The 1st edition of the Columbia Book was published in 1901 but I haven’t located a copy and don’t know if the same instruction appeared in it. Nonetheless, if double-ended tricot hooks were available in a range of lengths and gauges in 1904 and prescribed without any indication of their being either difficult to obtain or in any way novel, it seems certain they had been in use for a while prior to that date. This suggests, in turn, either that earlier descriptions remain to be located or that crocheted fabric requiring a double-ended hook was being produced for an indeterminate period before appearing in the fancywork literature. (NOTE: I have since found an earlier reference and described it in a subsequent post.)

The Columbia Book was expanded more or less annually. The 8th edition was released in 1907 and includes the same instruction for an infant’s afghan. The only difference is that the fancy tricot stitch is called a double-hook afghan stitch. It is described in additional detail, together with an illustration of a double hook in a separate section on “Detail Stitches of Afghans” that includes both ordinary and long-hook crochet stitches.


The 8th edition includes a second instruction using the double hook (which may also be in the 6th or 7th eds., that I haven’t examined, either). This is for a “Men’s Golf Vest” using both the basic afghan stitch and the double-hook afghan stitch, worked on a “bone crochet hook, 12-inch, No. 6” and a “double-ended crochet hook, 12-inch, No. 7” respectively. (Some authors make a clear distinction between tricot hooks and crochet hooks, but Schumacker is not among them.)

Skipping over another sequence of revisions, the 17th ed. published in 1916, makes no mention of the double ended hook. However, it does appear in the 19th ed. from 1918, used to produce one of a number of “Detail Stitches of Afghans.” This “Double Hook Afghan Stitch” is not presented as being in any way noteworthy. It is identical to the “fancy tricot stitch” published in 1904 and had apparently moved toward a more central position in the repertoire of crochet stitches in the interim.

Other instructions in the earlier editions of the Columbia Book still call the basic long-hook stitch a tricot stitch but do not invariably prescribe a long hook for it, sometimes calling for a “crochet hook” and leaving its length to individual preference. The inverse situation also applies and ordinary crochet stitches are illustrated on far longer hooks than they intrinsically require. This may be for the sake of pedagogical clarity rather than describing everyday practice. However, as noted in the preceding post and will be further exemplified in a coming one, an illustration of someone using a long hook does not conclusively demonstrate that they are engaged in Tunisian crochet.

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7 June 2017 14:51

Great sleuthing!

19 February 2020 03:02

Enjoyed reading!