Babies love blocks! A beautiful way to experience stacking, throwing, and gnawing is by offering baby blocks which are made with organic, naturally-dyed cotton yarn.
Tunisian crochet is a wonderful form of handwork that is similar to both knitting and crocheting. It is easier on the hands and wrists, too! It works up more quickly than knitting and uses less yarn than traditional crochet. These blocks feature the Tunisian Knit Stitch which looks like Stockinette stitch in knitting.
Organic, naturally-dyed, cotton yarn in at least three colors
Size J, K, or L Tunisian crochet hook
Organic wool for stuffing
Traditional crochet hook one size smaller than the Tunisian hook for optional edging
ch = chain
tks = Tunisian Knit Stitch
yo = Yarn Over
Tunisian Crochet the Squares
Make a total of 2 squares of color A, 2 of color B, and 2 of color C for each block.
1. ch 18
2. tks into the second ch from the hook, and then all of the subsequent chains (will have 18 stitches)
3. Continue to tks until you have around 17 rows or what appears to be a perfect square.
Tie a knot, cut the yarn leaving a tail of at least four inches, and weave in beginning and ending tails with a yarn needle. Set the square aside.
Assembling the Blocks
Once you have six squares, you are ready to assemble your first block!
With wrong sides facing out, sew two of the squares together along one edge with your yarn needle and a long piece of one of your yarns. Whip stitch or mattress stitch works well. This stitch will show a bit, so a contrast color might look nice.
Continue sewing squares together, alternating colors, forming a stair-looking pattern (see picture).
Sew edges together to form a cube. Leave one side open. Turn right-side out.
With wool batting or roving, wrap around your fingers, and then carefully stuff inside of the cube. Poke the wool into all of the corners.
Finish sewing up the opening. Knot, and weave in the tail.
If you want your edges to be more prominent and to keep the cube shape more square instead of round, add a row of single crochet with a contrasting color yarn and a traditional crochet hook around all edges, always grabbing a bit of the color from the two sides as you insert your hook.
Work three single crochets into each corner. Cut, knot, and weave in tails.
:: The closer the stitches, the sturdier the blocks, and the less likely that stuffing will escape!
:: Another option for sewing is to use a sewing machine or needle and thread by hand.
:: Coffee stir sticks and chopsticks work well for poking wool into corners.
:: Put enough wool inside and shape it so that the block will be sturdy and will stack, or use less to give it a softer look and feel.
:: Embroider or appliqué on the sides of blocks as an option. Remember that anything that you add to the sides could come off with little fingers and mouths.
Syrendell Etsy Shop Wood Tunisian Crochet Hooks
Babetta’s Yarn Café Fair Oaks, CA (will ship organic cotton yarns)
Little Acorn Learning Crochet eCourse (5 weeks worth of lessons, including Tunisian crochet)
Jennifer Tan, MA Jennifer is a homeschooling consultant, fiber artist, musician and aromatherapist. She leads workshops, teleseminars, eCourses and writes eBooks for parents in the areas of Waldorf curriculum, homeschooling and handwork. Jennifer lives in beautiful Davis, California with her husband, Waldorf teacher Dr. Rick Tan, and their four children. Jennifer may be reached through her website (sign up for the monthly newsletter), her Etsy shop which features Tunisian crochet supplies, her blog, and on Facebook.