Tunisian Oval Placemats
Fingering to worsted weight
Tunisian hook 1.5-2mm larger than suggested for yarn, and regular hook in size suggested for yarn
Abbreviations: DC (double crochet), HDC (half double crochet), Inc (increase), TSS (Tunisian simple stitch), TPS (Tunisian purl stitch), St (stitch), SC (single crochet), Yo (yarn over)
Inc: insert hook into the return pass chain, Yo and pull up a loop, keeping the loop on the hook. 1 st added.
TSS: Insert hook into next st, Yo, pull up a loop and keep on hook.
TPS: Yarn forward, insert hook into next st, Yo, pull up a loop from left to right and keep on hook.
These ovals are worked in the round, so you need a double-ended Tunisian hook. They are a great introduction to oval construction in the round using the wonderful Tunisian method. I find they look better with a few bands of textured honeycomb stitch worked in. You will need 2 balls of yarn - colour A for the forward pass (purple & white below) and B for the return pass (peach below).
You should be able to identify 4 Tunisian stitches fanning out in a semi-circle; the first one is right on the edge. Each one has a front and back loop and goes through the return pass chain (peach colour):
The 3rd one always has a conspicuous bump at the base of it that helps you know you're in the right place. Once you have identified those first 4 stitches, work them as follows:
Round 1: With colour A, chain 27. Working into the back bumps, create 4 St in the 2nd bump from the hook, as follows: (TSS 1, Yo, TSS 1) all into the 2nd bump from the hook. Working into the back bumps, TSS 24.
Create 4 St into the last bump as follows: (Yo, TSS 1, Yo, TSS 1) all into the last bump.
[Start working return pass here with colour B: Push stitches to the other end of the hook, turn the work, and attach colour B to the project by wrapping it around the hook and pulling it through the 1st loop on the hook:
Then Yo and pull through 2 stitches on the hook, and repeat this until 2 stitches remain.
Turn work and push stitches back to the other end, and continue with the forward pass. Throughout the pattern, work the return pass whenever stitches accumulate on the hook and make it hard to proceed; always Yo and pull through 2 stitches on hook for all subsequent return passes.]
Skipping the 1st stitch which has the attached yarn tail and slip knot, TSS 24 along the other side of the starting chain, working under both loops of the chain:
Here is what your work should look like after you have finished round 1 and worked a return pass until you have 2 stitches on the hook:
You should be able to identify 4 Tunisian stitches (purple), each with a front and back loop, and they should each run through the return pass chain (peach) and radiate out around the semi-circle:
The first one is right on the edge; the third one always has a conspicuous bump at the base of it that helps you know you're in the right place. Once you have identified those first 4 stitches, you're ready to work round 2 as follows:
Round 2: (TSS 1, Inc) 4 times. TSS 24. (Inc, TSS 1) 4 times. TSS 24. 58 St
So, you will work a TSS into stitch #1 in the photo above, then work an increase by pulling up a loop in the return pass chain between #1 and #2. (TSS is worked by inserting hook from right to left under the front loop of each stitch). Then repeat this (work a TSS into #2, then pull up a loop in the return pass chain between #2 and #3). Once you have done this a total of 4 times, you simply work a TSS into each stitch down the straight side of the placemat (24 times), which brings you to the semi-circle at the other end. Identify semi-circle stitches #1-4 as above, then start the semi-circle with an increase this time, followed by a TSS; do this a total of 4 times, then work 24 TSS down the other straight side of the placemat. That completes round 2. Remember to keep taking breaks to work a return pass whenever it gets hard to proceed - you are going around curves with a straight hook, so when too many stitches accumulate on the hook things get tight and the stitches become deformed. Work a return pass half-way around each semi-circle if you need to. Once you've finished round 2 and worked the return pass, your project should look something like this:
Place a marker on or directly below the last stitch of the round.
Round 3: ֍ TSS 2, Inc, TSS 4, Inc, TSS 26. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 62 St.
This is what you should have at the end of round 3. Move the marker up after each round, or just follow it up visually. The pattern is straightforward after round 3. I think the easiest mistake to make in these early rounds is mis-identifying the Tunisian stitches you should work into on the semi-circles. If you are confused, use your fingers to pull on the outermost return pass chain, to separate it a bit from the work, and the stitches will appear as vertical bars separated into front and back loops by passing through this outermost return pass chain. If you see a loop that does not run through the outermost return pass chain, it is from the round before and should be ignored. In the photo above, the stitches to work into for round 4 are white and easy to identify; the stitches from the previous round are purple (my forward pass yarn is variegated, which helps!).
Here is a video that shows you the first 3 rounds in detail.
Round 4: ֍ TSS 1, Inc, (TSS 4, Inc) twice, TSS 25. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 68 St
Round 5: ֍ TSS 2, Inc, (TSS 5, Inc) twice, TSS 25. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 74 St
Round 6: ֍ TSS 1, Inc, (TSS 2, Inc) 7 times, TSS 25. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 90 St
Rounds 7, 8: Work evenly around in TSS. OR, for a textured look, work these 2 rounds in honeycomb stitch: (TSS 1, TPS 1) around. On the second honeycomb row, work the TPS stitches from the previous row as TSS, and the TSS stitches as TPS.
Round 9: ֍ TSS 2, Inc, (TSS 3, Inc) 7 times, TSS 25. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 106 St
Rounds 10, 11: Work evenly around in TSS or honeycomb St.
Round 12: ֍ TSS 2, Inc, (TSS 4, Inc) 7 times, TSS 26. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 122 St
Rounds 13, 14: Work evenly around in TSS/honeycomb.
Round 15: ֍ TSS 3, Inc, (TSS 5, Inc) 7 times, TSS 26. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 138 St
Round 16: Work evenly around in TSS.
Round 17: ֍ TSS 4, Inc, (TSS 6, Inc) 7 times, TSS 26. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 154 St
Rounds 18, 19: Work evenly around in TSS/honeycomb.
Round 20: ֍ TSS 5, Inc, (TSS 7, Inc) 7 times, TSS 26. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 170 St
Round 21, 22: Work evenly around, I suggest in TSS.
Round 23: ֍ TSS 6, Inc, (TSS 8, Inc) 7 times, TSS 26. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎. 186 St
Round 24: Work evenly around in TSS. To finish the Tunisian section, work return pass until 1 St in colour B remains on hook. Switch to regular crochet hook and use colour A or B for edging.
Round 1: SC in each St around, join with slip stitch to 1st SC of round.
Round 2: Ch 3. (Skip 1 St, HDC into next St) around. Ch1 and join with slip st to
2nd chain of the starting chain 3. To ensure placemat lies flat, work 2 adjacent
HDC-Ch1 (without skipping) 11-12 times around each semi-circle.
Round 3: Crab stitch around, slip st around, or work edging 2:
Round 1: SC into each St around. Join with slip stitch to 1st SC of round.
Round 2: Fan stitch: ֍ Skip 2 St, DC 6 times into next St, Skip 2 St, SC into next St. ֎ Repeat from ֍ to ֎ around until you have approximately 20-24 stitches left; count remaining stitches and adjust your remaining fans if the number is not divisible by 6, by skipping 1 st instead of 2 the number of times needed. (ex. if you have 20 stitches left, work 4 of the remaining fans over 5 stitches instead of 6).