Phyllite – free Tunisian crochet shawl pattern for beginners

Make a wonderful wrap for yourself or your loved ones using the instructions from this free Tunisian crochet shawl pattern. You’ll learn the simple stitch, also known as the afghan stitch, the easiest and most common of Tunisian crochet stitches (but one that has a tendency to curl). You’ll also learn an easy way to work increases.

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If you’re learning Tunisian crochet and looking for a beginner Tunisian crochet pattern that’s not a boring rectangle, this is the project for you.

Pattern background

I’ve told you before that I love buying yarn as a souvenir and the yarn for this wonderful project is no exception. 

I needed something to create a Tunisian crochet easy shawl pattern that would be at the forefront of the Minerals collection of shawls made with various shapes and various Tunisian crochet stitches and stich combinations.

I have a few shawls that I made with more complicated stitches, but didn’t feel confident in putting them out there just yet. So I came out with this transition piece that should lead you into the land of Tunisian crochet without much of an issue.

phyllite baby

I started the shawl on the beach, on vacation, as I was too excited about this idea to wait. I almost finished it on the long ride home, with only the binding and the tassels left to make after arriving home. 

I picked the Tunisian simple stitch for the main body of the shawl, so you can concentrate on learning the shaping technique and maybe to let the yarn shine. This one is a simple gray that could go with any outfit, but there are many yarns out there that would look great in this pattern.

About the pattern

The shawl grows similarly to the other rounded triangle shawls that I’ve made previously using gradient yarn. 

There is a central spine and the increases are done at the two ends and in the middle. This gives the sides a slight curve, which makes it perfect for draping it over your shoulders. 

If you’re wondering about the name, it comes from a rock. Phyllite is a metamorphic rock, which means it needs to go through physical and chemical transformations to get into its final form. It is composed of several minerals, among which the fine mica flakes give it a beautiful sheen, just like the little Tunisian simple stitches give the body of this shawl its light texture.

This is the first in a series of shawls with names and properties inspired by minerals, so watch this space. Until more are available and I can compile a collection, why not try your hand at Tunisian crochet?

The video is linked below and you can get the pattern now by clicking on this button. You’ll find all the information you need (yarn and hook) on the pattern page in the shop.

For the first five rows, you can follow along with the video tutorial or see the beginning of the pattern below.

If you’re left-handed, follow the video below.

Videos

Right-handed video

Left-handed video

Pattern instructions

I’ve decided to publish here the first 5 rows of the pattern, since they are also available in the video.

If you need instructions for more than the 5 rows, you can download the pdf file with full instructions from the shop (click on the big button above).

Skill level

Intermediate or enthusiastic beginner – you need to know how to make Tunisian simple stitches, Tunisian knit stitches and Tunisian full stitches, to be able to count stitches and to be able to recognize these stitches, as you will possibly be working off pattern after the first few rows.

Check out page 2 for the link to the video with the first 5 rows and the binding off.

Gauge

Gauge pattern: Ch10, 10 Tss, R, repeat {10 Tss, R} 9 times.

These 11 stitches and 10 rows should give you a square 10 cm by 10 cm.

Notions

  • Yarn: any yarn in your stash, preferably a DK weight, wool or acrylic (check out this gorgeous wool that would work perfectly with this pattern or maybe this other gorgeous wool yarn) – about 600 meters or 300 grams for a shawl as big as the sample; you can also work with a gradient cake and add the companion yarn to make it suitable for cold weather;
  • Optional yarn as companion to cotton/cotton blend yarn: a lace-weight mohair or alpaca yarn – same length as main yarn;
  • Hook: Tunisian crochet hook with a cable – 8 mm or hook 3 mm larger than the one recommended for your yarn – longer cables are better for this pattern (60-100 cm);
  • Optional: one stitch marker.
  • Scissors and tapestry needle for binding off.

Stitches

Explained for right-handed; for left-handed please mirror the instructions.

  • Ch – regular chain;
  • K – Tunisian knit stitch – insert hook between the two vertical bars of the next stitch, YO and pull up a loop;
  • Ls – last stitch – put hook through the 2 vertical loops at the end of the row, YO and pull up a loop;
  • PM – place marker or move marker from previous spot to the new stitch;
  • R – regular Tunisian return: Ch1, repeat [YO and pull through 2 loops] until 1 loop left;
  • Sk – skip stitch;
  • Sl St – slip stitch;
  • Tss – Tunisian simple stitch – insert hook from right to left behind the next vertical bar, YO and pull up a loop.

Observations

  • In the first row, the last Tss counts as Ls.
  • The numbers in the brackets at the end of the row mention how many loops you need to have on your hook before beginning the return row, including the first and last stitches.
  • You can place the stitch marker in the K stitch, to mark the middle, after the return pass. That way you can continue working in pattern without needing to count. You can put it inside the stitch (like in the video) or around the stitch. The marker is highlighted in the pattern with PM.
  • If you want to add tassels, decide on their number and placement before starting the body of the shawl. You will need two or three tassels in the last color you will work with. Make them beforehand and leave a few bits of yarn for sewing the tassels to the shawl.

Finished size and shape

If you use the recommended yarn, you will get a shawl that is about 200 cm or 78″ in length (not including the tassels) and 60 cm or 25″ in width.

Use wet blocking for wool yarn and steam blocking for acrylic yarn. You don’t need to stretch out the stitches, just leave the shawl to dry in place with its proper shape. The blocking is mostly necessary for increasing the drape of the fabric, so that you get a flowing and pleasant shawl.

shawl shape phyllite 2 11
This is a sketch of what the shawl should look like when you’re done and want to block it.

Pattern

Below you will find the instructions for each row up to row 70, plus the instructions for a simple bind off. If you want to stop before row 70, for binding off you will use the instructions for the row following the one that you stopped on, making slip stitches instead of keeping the loops on your hook.

Start with a slip knot on your hook.

R1. Ch6, 6Tss, R (7)

R2. [F, Tss] 2 times, F, K, PM, F, [Tss, F] 2 times, Ls, R (13)

R3. F, Tss, F, 4Tss, F, K, PM, F, 4Tss, F, Tss, F, Ls, R (19)

R4. F, Tss, F, 7Tss, F, K, PM, F, 7Tss, F, Tss, F, Ls, R (25)

R5. F, Tss, F, 10Tss, F, K, PM, F, 10Tss, F, Tss, F, Ls, R (31)

Binding off

After finishing the last row, you have the option to bind off normally or to add a border.

For binding off without a specific border, work the regular pattern, as presented below, but instead of leaving each new loop on your hook, you make a Sl St.

R71 as bind off. F, Tss, F, 208Tss, F, K, F, 208Tss, F, Tss, F, Ls, R

Once you finish binding off, add the tassels, wash and block the shawl into a curved triangle shape or a crescent with a middle point, like in the image above.


If you want to try out other Tunisian crochet projects, here’s a collection of my patterns. Some are free and some have free options.

If you want to know when I publish more patterns, articles, or test calls, please sign up to my email updates by clicking on the image below. You also get a free pattern.

Happy hooking! 

Andrea

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