WIPs 'N Chains

Kim Guzman, Crochet and Knit Design


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This Blog is Moving!

I have finally decided to move my blog onto my hosting site. This will be the final post here, but please do join me here. For those of you subscribing to this blog, you will need to resubscribe at the new spot for new updates. I apologize for that inconvenience. But, it was high time that I joined this century. Using the free WordPress software was no longer working for me.

Please visit and feel free to poke around. I’ve already migrated all the blog posts to the new site. I just have to do some cleaning up. But, don’t worry. You’ll feel right at home. The page looks exactly the same. :-)


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Tunisian Crochet Afghans

I was recently asked whether I had any Tunisian crochet books with only afghans. I’ve had several books published recently with a lot of different projects, but afghans are still a top pick for crochet projects. So, the answer is yes! Yes, I do!

Tunisian Baby Blankets

Available here. This book is still a huge favorite and has remained on the top 20 crochet list at Annie’s pretty consistently. It is, by far, my favorite afghan book.

Afghan Stitch Afghans

Available here. This was the book that started it all. This is my very first Tunisian crochet book. It was the first to use the monochrome technique so popular in knitting with forward and relief stitches forming a pattern.

Tunisian Baby Afghans

Available here. Hot on the heels of the Afghan Stitch Afghans book, I designed these, following the same technique but with more detail.

Tunisian Sampler Afghan

Available here. Due to the success of the last two, a sampler afghan was requested. Unlike other samplers, this one is made all in one piece. The squares are illusions. There is no seaming.

Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide

And, if you’re more in the mood to make your own one-of-a-kind afghan creation, you may be interested in my new Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide, available here, filled with stitch patterns which you can pick and choose for many, many different variations.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I enjoyed writing them for you. :-)


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Messy Food

My little man, Christian, is pretty particular about his food. He doesn’t like messy food. That’s okay. I don’t like messy food either. But, it bothered me that he won’t eat barbeque ribs with the rest of us. (We’re a rib-loving family, after all.)

Everyone has their little idiosyncrasies. Some people like to drink soda from the refrigerator with ice. Some people drink soda at room temperature with ice. Some people, refrigerated, no ice. Christian is one of the “no ice” people. I was surprised to find out that two of my cousin’s children also want to drink their beverages without ice, while the third prefers ice. These little things make up our unique personalities. It’s who we are.

I normally won’t eat corn on the cob unless I cut off the corn. I never eat fried chicken by picking it up. I use a fork. (Yeah, maybe Christian got this from me. LOL) Nevertheless, even a child can have his idiosyncrasies. And, he may grow out of it. Or, they could be replaced by new idiosyncrasies. It’s just a part of growing up and developing your own tastes and personality.

But, again, I was disappointed that Christian wouldn’t eat certain things that the rest of us enjoy so much because of that messy factor. Wheat Carr, a regular in my Tunisian Crochet YahooGroup, frequent commenter on my Facebook page, and owner of ItsAllJustString.com, hearing of Christian’s plight, identified what could turn out to be the craziest OR the most genius product on the market, depending on how you look at it.

Trongs

Wheat sent Christian a little box of them and Christian is very eager to try them and let her know what he thinks of them. My oldest son just rolled his eyes. ha!

I know that it’s a crazy idea. But, it’s one of those things that was invented by two “crazy” guys in the USA and now they’re marketing it. I love that! You come up with an idea and you market it and you sell it. Follow that dream!

The website gives all kinds of examples of different uses. The one about using them when egg/flouring your meat or vegetables before frying is brilliant!

But, me? Oh, yeah, this means I can now eat Cheetos while crocheting and not worry about orange-tipped fingers. :-)


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Nature’s Inspiration

Having moved out to the country, I suddenly found myself in a unique situation. I had land! Land that I could fill with flowers! The first flowers I put in were dutch irises. They have always been my favorite flower. You can see one of them from last year as my blog header. I love this photo so much, I also had it put on a coffee mug from CafePress. So fun!

I have discovered, though, that I have become particularly partial to unusual flowers. One of them is the Gloriosa Lily. Positively extraordinary flower. They change colors as they mature and the color changes look like a midnight fairy has gone out there with water colors and painted them for me. They start off as a pale green, turn to a yellow and red, then a full red which is almost more of a hot pink. Truly incredible!

I find myself looking at these photos and just imagining how they will influence my future designing.


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27K Sheets of Toilet Tissue

Alternate Title: Becoming a Full-Time Freelance Designer

Freelance designing is a tough business. The work never seems to stop. You can work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week and never seem to be caught up. You can work that much and never seem to pay the bills. It’s just the way it is with crochet. Because that’s what I’m talking about: crochet. Whether you have an etsy shop and you’re selling finished items or whether you’re designing and writing up patterns for sale, there simply isn’t a lot of money in crochet, no matter how you look at it, unfortunately.

My biggest tip for emerging designers/pattern writers is “Don’t quit your day job.” And, I mean it! I’ve been in this business professionally for 15 years. In the beginning, it was loads of fun to get that extra paycheck from freelance designing so that I could buy those extra things that you never seem to be able to buy on the regular paycheck. I remember getting my first washer and dryer from a freelance check, after years of going to a laundromat.

About 9 years’ ago, I was sort of forced into transitioning to full-time designing. When I got pregnant with my third child, I was making the long-haul commute to a high dollar law firm in downtown Chicago. I had been working for lawyers for 20 years. The commute to downtown Chicago was grueling. First, walk to the train station, then take a one-hour train ride, then walk about 8 city blocks to the office. Yeah, winters were not any fun at all. And, one morning, I fell, while pregnant. That was the end of my working outside the home for the immediate future. I had to turn my crochet into a full-time job from that moment on.

And, I won’t lie to you. It’s been a tough transition! With freelance, you never know when you’re going to get paid. Or, sometimes IF you’re going to get paid. You learn to cut corners anywhere you can. Beans and rice may become the best you can do. It’s either feast or famine. Some days might be Hamburger Helper kind of days while other days are Tuna Helper days. Your 8-year-old may have to settle for the three-for-a-dollar macaroni and cheese instead of his favorite, made with Velveeta. There’s just a lot of give and take. Being a single mom is no picnic. Being a single mom working freelance is nearly impossible.

We are still cutting corners. And, I’ve been doing this for 15 years! We’re in a unique situation at the moment, though. I’m living in somewhat of a glorified living-with-your-mother situation in that she happened to have an empty building where she lived and I moved in! The building is my grandmother’s former diner/cafe/country store and it had been vacant for close to 30 years. And, I couldn’t be happier! Here are some photos of it back in the day.

So, what has that got to do with toilet tissue? Well, I’ll tell ya! I suddenly realized that you can chart the rise and fall of income coming into my household directly with the amount of toilet paper I buy at a time. So funny!

Sometimes, I can only buy one or two rolls of toilet paper at a time. Sometimes four at a time. But, this last trip to the grocery store, I bought a 27-count package, 1000 sheets per roll! I’m certainly not rolling in money (although I might be rolling in toilet paper), but I’m not scraping together every penny I can find in the couch right now either (or, going to my mother’s house to swipe some of her toilet paper.) And, I know that another famine will show up in this constant roller coaster ride of feast-to-famine so it’s a good idea to stock up on toilet paper now. Maybe I should buy some more. :-)


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Crochet-Along: Sapphire Wrap

With it being summer in the northern hemisphere, I thought it would be nice to do something smaller and more lacy for our planned crochet-along.

The Sapphire Wrap is a perfect crochet-along project because there are new elements which you’ve not seen before, most specifically, working in Tunisian crochet pineapples (or pinecones, if you prefer). I’m looking at you, Ambar! ;-)

This crochet-along will take place in my crochet-along group on YahooGroups here. (Yes, I know. It’s old school. But, it’s worked great and why change a good thing?) As always, everyone who completes a project and posts the photo in the group will be entered into a drawing to win a box of yarn from me. (Always a mystery; I try to make each specific box suitable to the individual receiving it.) If you are not a member of the group, you will need to request membership through the link above. Note that I keep my crochet-alongs separate from the main Tunisian crochet group. It is not a part of the main group. It is a spin-off group solely for my crochet-alongs.

The crochet-along will begin on July 1 to give everyone an opportunity to collect their tools, yarn and pattern. The pattern can be purchased several ways.

Individual pattern, PDF download, directly from the publisher here.

The book, Short Row Tunisian Fashion, PDF download, directly from the publisher here.

The book, Short Row Tunisian Fashion, hard copy, directly from the publisher here, from a trusted independent online vendor here, from Amazon here, from Barnes & Noble here.

For more research about the design before deciding on purchase, please view the Ravelry listing here.

I hope to see you there! :-)


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Ye Olde Giveaway!

Have you ever stitched up something from one of my patterns? If so, you qualify to enter in Ye Olde Giveway! The rule:

Post a photo of your project that you’ve made from one of my designs on my Facebook page here before the end of the day on July 8.

On July 9, I will have a randomly-generated drawing and one lucky person will win a Mystery Box from me.

What will it be? Will it be yarn? Will it be crochet/knit tools? Will it be a signed book? Will it be all three??!! You won’t know until July 9!

If you have not stitched one of my designs yet, not to worry. You have an entire month.

My portfolio of designs can be found on Ravelry here.

Remember that, if you post a photo and your name is drawn, please don’t freak out if I ask you for your mailing address, k?

One entry per person.

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