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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Because I Love Tomatoes

So, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my garden. Up until three years’ ago, I had never had a garden. It’s not been possible. But, once I moved out to the country, all things are possible. I’ve always loved homegrown tomatoes from my mother’s garden. But, I never grew them myself.

I’ve basically been experimenting for the last two years. I’ve been growing things from seed to save costs. And, I’ve discovered the wonderful tomato varieties available. There are hundreds and hundreds of different varieties.

Last year, I tried a lot of different varieties just to see what they were like. I tried some really unusual varieties. But, what it boiled down to was that I liked the really dark tomatoes. My favorites were Black Krim and Prudens Purple. They were so good last year, but I didn’t get very many in my experimentation project.

So, this year, I’ve got the following list of tomato plants.

2 Prudens Purple

2 Black Krim

2 Cherokee Purple

1 White Cherry

2 Yellow Pear

1 Arkansas Traveler

The Black Krim was the first to set fruit.

By now, they all have wee tomatoes on them.

I’ve also got some peppers growing.

4 purple bell peppers

2 sangria peppers

1 cherry pepper

1 jalapeno

1 poblano

My experience is that peppers like me a LOT and I get way too many. So, I tried not to start too many. The Sangria peppers were the first to set fruit. They’re small so they’re already starting to ripen.

I experimented with some potatoes last year. Because I don’t have a huge amount of space for them, I’m not sure they’re worth it. I had potatoes, yes. But, not enough to really make a huge difference. Nevertheless, I was wondering how to save the tubers without them going bad so that I would have some for this year. As it turns out, there was no need. I must have left some potato in there because I had these volunteers and it’s almost time to harvest.

I had an unusual development with the potatoes, though. When I went out to check them, the flowers had set fruit. It was certainly unexpected, so I had to investigate.

They look a lot like tomatoes. But, beware! They are NOT tomatoes. They are toxic. They are so toxic that ingesting them will make you very sick and, for children, it’s far worse. They produce viable seeds, but may not be the same as the parent plant. They look like tomatoes because tomatoes and potatoes are both a part of the nightshade family. Just don’t eat them!

I also have lots of other things growing, including flowers. Growing flowers from seed is a tricky business. They start off so small. I had to start them in February. My favorite is impatiens. But, this year, I may have changed my mind. I grew columbines from seed two years’ ago and it just finally produced flowers this year.

An amazing beauty!

I also have onions, melons, sweet potatoes, eggplant, asparagus, green beans, sweet peas, Christmas lima beans and cucumber. Oh, and basil. Lots and lots of basil. Pesto==very good stuff. Gardening is fun, but watering every day can be a chore, let me tell ya! But, I persevere in the hopes of awesome harvests.

And, as you might guess, it’s the tomatoes that I’m most looking forward to eating, all by themselves, sliced and still warm from the sun. :-)


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Where Has Kim Been?

Well, it’s like this. I’ve been sick. Bronchitis and sinus infection. The first round of antibiotics didn’t do it and I’m currently on the second round. I’m six+ weeks behind in my work. And, there’s no telling whether I will ever get caught up. But, I’m trying.

Right before I got sick, my daughter was hospitalized at 29 weeks’ pregnant. My little grandson, Ryan, is a very determined little guy and, he was born a week later, on April 15. So, my mind has also been a “little” preoccupied.

Sweet, sweet little boy.

Ryan is still in the hospital, but is doing better. He still has a feeding tube which is the last real obstacle he needs to overcome before he can go home. His actual expected date of arrival was June 10, so he’s still premature. But, he’s getting stronger everyday.

Here are more current photos.

I want to thank everyone for all their well wishes, thoughts and prayers for the little man. You’ve all been wonderful. :-)


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Learn Crochet Post Stitch Cables

Are you baffled by post stitches? Or maybe you want to learn how to do post stitch cables but they’re confusing for you? I’ve got a great article in Issue 3 of Crochet 1-2-3 magazine. If you were unable to purchase this issue. You can still purchase back issues of the magazine at the website here.

In each issue, I’ve provided a technique article to teach you something new, with three terrific projects so that you can practice the technique. In this issue, I have three cabled scarves to get you well on your way to learning how to do post stitch cables.

But, there’s more! There are also videos to go with the issue so that you can more clearly understand how to do the cables. Check out these three videos I’ve done for the issue and I’m certain you’ll be doing post stitch cables in no time at all!


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Garments: Designing vs. Pattern Writing

So, you’ve decided to stitch up your own garment. That’s terrific! I know you will do well!

As you’re stitching up that garment from a pattern, you may discover little things along the way that may make you scratch your head. Things like “Now, why did the designer do that when *this* is so much easier?” may crop up in your mind.

The first thing you need to remember is that a pattern isn’t a bible. It’s really just a guide. You can tweak it along the way to suit your own needs and desires.

The next thing you need to realize is that there is a big difference between a designer and a pattern writer.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I feel like most crocheters are indeed designers, even if it’s just a tweak of a pattern and even if you have no intention of writing the pattern.

It’s not the same as coming up with a design for publication, of course. Those need to be original designs, not altered designs. But, you *are* altering patterns to suit your needs. Even changing a bow to a flower is a design element that you make on your own.

How many times do you start off making something and then change it along the way to suit your needs?

Even a simple hat. It doesn’t meet gauge so you don’t take it out, you continue increasing until you get what you want. Yes, I see you, my crocheting friends. I know what you’re doing. :-)

It’s really no different with a garment. You may decide you want a few more rows. You may decide you would like to do increases in a different way. You may discover that you need a lot more width really fast because you thought you were on gauge, but you’re not. These are all things you can do to tweak a garment while stitching.

But, let’s get to the title of this post:

“Designing vs. Pattern Writing”

So, let’s just say that you get to a point in the pattern and you can’t for the life of you figure out why the designer did something a certain way. And, I’ll tell you. I’ll bet the “designer” part of the project thought the very same thing. But, once the “pattern writer” got finished talking, it had to be done a different way.

You see, designers and pattern writers live in the same brain. Designing comes so easy to me. I would love to design all the time without a care in the world about a pattern. I would love to have the uplifting freedom it would give to me if I didn’t have to write a pattern. I know it’s only in my dreams, but a book of one-of-a-kind crochet garments from the designers of the crochet world would be a truly extraordinary thing to behold if they could just design and stitch away, without worry about the pattern writing later down the road.

But, alas, I have to keep my feet on the ground. No freedom of design for me. While designing, I can’t do the stuff of dreams. I have to do the stuff that will actually work in writing and will actually make a pretty, concise pattern that will accommodate six sizes.

I can’t have a pattern that requires a separate written pattern for each size bodice. I’ve done it before and I can tell you that publishers would certainly frown upon me. I had to self-publish that one.

So, you see, you may indeed find a different way of doing things from the pattern. And, the designer may have seen that as well, but couldn’t implement it. But, that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t implement it! Don’t hesitate to use that freedom and make your garment the best it can be!


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Day 24: A Tour Through Crochet Country

Note: This is really Day 25, but I posted early and got my days mixed up. Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain! ;-)

If you’ve been following “A Tour Through Crochet Country”, welcome to Day 24! If not, jump over to this link here and you’ll see all the links to all the wonderful posts in celebration of crochet during National Crochet Month. This event was organized by Amy and Donna of Crochetville and it’s been such a success. Next year’s event is already being planned.

All blog participants are Associate or Professional members of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). I am a member of the CGOA and I have been for a very long time. There are a lot of fun benefits to being a member of the guild, but I have to admit that I am a member mostly because I like the idea of there being a guild for my favorite activity. I like the idea of a guild devoted to the furtherance of crochet. I like that there are so many members who, like me, love all things crochet and there are opportunities to meet so many people of like minds, altogether in one place. And, just recently, I’ve been helping even more by becoming the editor of the member-only newsletter, Chain Link. CGOA means a lot to me and has done so much for so many. I wanted to give something back.

As a group, the participating designers selected a very special charity to support this month: Project Night Night, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides over 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children. Each package consists of a new sturdy tote bag with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal. These comfort objects help to reduce the trauma of homelessness for the children served by Project Night Night. Both the handmade blankets and stuffed animals provide the children with objects of love and security. Please click here to find out how you can help.

Tunisian Mock Cable Scarf

In honor of this event, I am introducing a new project video. The project is a free pattern, originally seen in the third season of Knit and Crochet Now!, a PBS television program owned by Annie’s. The free pattern for the Tunisian Crochet Mock Cable Scarf is available on the website here. And, here is my own video to accompany this project. This scarf is made in two colors of Berroco Vintage Chunky, a wonderful yarn and I love all weights of Berroco Vintage. If you follow me on Facebook, you may already know about my love of this yarn.

This is a unique Tunisian crochet project. Because it is made in narrow Tunisian join-as-you-go strips, you won’t need a long Tunisian hook (afghan hook). You can use a standard hook throughout. This is your chance to learn to do Tunisian crochet with a fun project. Then once you are “hooked”, you’ll certainly want a copy of my latest book, Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide.

And, here’s your chance for a signed copy of the book!

To be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of my book, please browse my Portfolio on Ravelry and post a comment below about the design you would like to try. That’s it. That’s the only rule. Just a comment about your favorite design.

On April 5, a name will be randomly drawn and I will email that person (so it would really be helpful if you included your email address). And, should your name be drawn, please do not take offense to my requesting your mailing address. If you don’t want to give me your address, please don’t enter, k?

ETA: Although I appreciate the lovely comments made on the Ravelry pattern database pages, in order to be entered into the drawing, please comment below. This is where the random generator will take the numbers for the drawing.

ETA2: Thank you to everyone participating! A name has been chosen by the random generator. Regina, I will send you an email for further information. Congratulations!


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My Mark on Crochet History

As a crochet designer and pattern writer for the last 15 years, this is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime moment for me. A stitch dictionary. MY stitch dictionary.

This book is that book. THAT book of which I have always dreamed. A book that would leave my mark on crochet history. Oh, I know. I’m probably being too prideful and I should get that in check. But, really, I am so pleased with this book. My pattern books will come along and be gone forever, but THIS book. I really hope that this book will be one of those books that stands the test of time. I hope that people 50 years from now are actively seeking it out as a wonderful contribution in the crochet world.

Several years’ ago, I “appeared” on Blog Talk Radio with Mary Beth Temple on her show, “Getting Loopy”. During the show, Mary Beth asked me about stitch dictionaries for Tunisian crochet. I told her to just give me a minute because Tunisian crochet stitch patterns just fell out of my ears. ha! But, it’s true! Tunisian crochet stitch patterns really do fly off my hook, new and different stitch patterns, never before seen. This book is the result.

What is interesting about this book is that it’s not a standard size. The cover says “Perfect pocket size–fits in your bag!” But, let’s not let the cover fool you. There is a lot packed into this little book.

My “master plan” was to provide 60 stitch patterns. A few would need to be standard, typical stitch patterns, but the book is predominantly stitch patterns out of my head, never before seen. If you’ve sought out and purchased the Japanese stitch dictionary, never fear. These give you even more. And, if you’re having a hard time reading the Japanese symbols, my book will teach you how to read them and understand them. So, don’t worry about having both books. They will actually compliment each other.

So, let me tell you what’s inside!

The first chapter teaches you how to read Tunisian crochet symbols. It teaches you how to do the basic stitches. There is a Master List of all the symbols at the beginning for quick referral. 14 basic stitch patterns take you through learning the stitches, symbols and step-by-step written instructions so that you can practice before getting to the remaining stitch patterns. Yes, these stitch patterns are written in symbols. But, don’t worry about that. I teach you how to use them first!

The remainder of the book is separated by stitch pattern types. The titles are “Typical Stitches”, “Color Stitches” and “Lace Stitches”. If I’m not mistaken, the Lace section is the biggest since I love Tunisian lace so much. And, naturally, I’ve included a couple of pineapple stitch patterns. I accept no boundaries. Pineapples are traditional for crochet therefore must be included in a stitch dictionary, even if pineapples haven’t been done in Tunisian crochet. They simply must!

When I first browsed through the book I was amazed. If only you could see the “mess” that I gave Leisure Arts. I mouse-drew every single symbol and then used a spreadsheet program to chart everything. It was readable. But, it wasn’t exactly what I would call pretty. The graphics department made it all so pretty! The editor made it all into a truly beautiful thing. To take my “mess” and turn it into this book is something I didn’t really dream possible. But, Leisure Arts did it and did it in a big way. I am really very pleased by the looks of the book.

There are 61 total stitch patterns in the book. I keep wondering about that one stitch pattern. I really thought I turned in 60 swatches. So funny. But, hey! Bonus! :-)

The book can be purchased directly from the manufacturer, Leisure Arts here. I believe an e-book version will also be available for e-reader devices.

It is also available at Amazon here and Barnes & Noble here.


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Why Is Afghan Stitch Called Tunisian Crochet?

I see posts everyday asking why Afghan Stitch is now called Tunisian crochet. Most of the time, it’s “Oh, Tunisian crochet? I learned that in the 70s. It’s dense, stiff and bulky. Tunisian crochet is just the new, modern name for it.”

But, here’s the real deal.

Tunisian crochet is the technique in which you usually use a longish hook with a stopper on the end. You pick up loops on the forward pass and then remove them with the return pass. It’s usually easiest to think of it as a combination of knitting and crochet. It’s easiest for me to explain as “assembly-line” crochet. You start your stitches all the way across, then you close your stitches all the way across. Because of this repetition of one step at a time, it’s far easier for beginners to learn, especially children, than typical crochet.

So, why do we now call it Tunisian crochet when it’s been known as afghan stitch since the 1970s? No, it’s not some hoity-toity marketing gimmick. Well, at least it’s not a marketing gimmick *now*. It certainly may have been when it was first called Tunisian crochet in Europe over 100 years ago.

The term “afghan stitch” is just one of the many stitches in a family of stitches called Tunisian crochet.

You see, what happened is that, in the United States, the afghan stitch was widely used to make graph afghans. First, you crocheted a huge, plain, one-color, afghan in afghan stitch (which is now commonly known as Tunisian Simple Stitch). You needed the tension to be tight so that you would have perfect little grid-like squares. Then, with that perfect grid, you used embroidery or cross-stitch for the design.

Due to the popularity of afghan stitch afghans with pictures, the focus was solely on afghan stitch. The vast variety of other stitches in the technique were forgotten in most publications. And, there were some amazing beauties crocheted in afghan stitch with embroidery or cross-stitching. Here is an example from Free Vintage Crochet. The free pattern is available here.

Then, we fast forward to about the year 2000, when Tunisian crochet publications started surfacing. No, we didn’t pick the name out of the air and try to confuse you with something new and fancy. The name Tunisian crochet had been around for about 100 years, first seen in publications from England, I believe. Here is a vintage 1907 publication from my personal library and although it doesn’t say Tunisian crochet on the cover, the first page says “The New Crochet or Tunisian Stitches.” For the most part, the stitch and stitch combination instructions still say “tricot” which was the common French word for Tunisian crochet.

For you crochet history buffs, I’ve typed out the first paragraph of the introduction to this publication:

“This useful work in its simple form is also known as tricot, tricote, idiot, fool or dolt stitch, and is greatly employed for scarves, sofa rugs and other articles that require a firm, close stitch. For light and dainty articles, it is quite unsuitable. In Germany and France, however, many varieties of the stitch are worked, some being close and others light and open so that they may be employed for every purpose, from couvre-pieds waistcoats and golf blouses to baby’s garments and shawls.”

You can purchase a reproduction of this publication from Iva Rose Vintage Reproductions here. But, be careful! Once you get to the site, it may be difficult to leave. ;-) I’ve purchased from Iva Rose several times. I’ve never been disappointed.

If you tried afghan stitch in the 70s and were left with the feeling that your project was heavy, dense, stiff, unwieldy, a huge yarn eater, etc., you may want to give it another shot in this century. Because, wow! Tunisian crochet has grown and certainly isn’t the afghan stitch of the past.

Be sure to browse the eye candy at my Pinterest page here to get a better understanding of modern Tunisian crochet.


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Writing Tunisian Crochet Patterns

Writing Tunisian crochet patterns is very similar to writing knitting patterns. If you’re familiar with knitting patterns, it will come naturally. Due to the evolution of Tunisian crochet, I’ve found that there are some things that I wish I’d never done in my older books. Once you write something down in a certain way and it’s published, it’s very hard to get something written differently in later publications. Things seem to stick, especially when you are the first to come up with different techniques or ideas. I had already had several books written before I discovered that some things are going to have to change.

So, here are some things that come to mind due to the evolution of Tunisian crochet and how I’d like to fix them. In other words, if I had known then what I know now, I would have done things differently.

Typical Closing

When you’re working in Tunisian crochet, you have a typical closing, also called a return pass. Here is the typical return pass:

Yarn over and pull through one loop on hook, [yarn over and pull through two loops on hook] across.

This has got to change. That first instruction of “yarn over and pull through one loop on hook” is the culprit. What happens when you have to do that two or sometimes three times in lace stitch patterns? Here, let me show you.

[Yarn over and pull through one loop on hook] 3 times, yarn over and pull through 4 loops on hook,…

Now when you get to the next row, how do you specify where to stitch the last stitch? Do you say “insert hook in first yarn-over-and-pull-through-one-loop-on-hook?” That’s crazy speak.

Here is how I have resolved it. A yarn-over-and-pull-through-one-loop-on-hook is a CHAIN! Think about it. Yarn over and pull through one loop. Yep, that’s a chain!

Now, if we use this instruction, we can easily designate the next row as stitching into the first, second or third chain.

Chain 3, yarn over and pull through 4 loops on hook,…

Definitely, I’d like to see this idea start to stick in Tunisian crochet patterns. The Tunisian crochet evolution requires it.

Right-Hand Specific

Do you know how many left-handed people think that it’s impossible for someone to do Tunisian crochet because they’re left-handed? And, this is why:

Insert hook from right-to-left under the front vertical bar, yarn over and pull a loop through.

My preferred method is to say:

Insert hook from side-to-side under the front vertical bar, yarn over and pull a loop through.

There, fixed. It can be defined even further by saying:

Right-to-left for right-handers and left-to-right for left-handers.

Make 1

In one of my books, I defined a Make 1 as follows:

Insert hook from front-to-back of your work under the yarn over from the previous row.

I did this for one reason only. It was to distinguish the yarn over from the other stitches. You’re actually making a Tunisian knit stitch, but the stitch below looks a little different and sometimes the bars are hard to see. So, in an effort to distinguish it from other stitches, I called it something different.

This came back to haunt me when I did my Tunisian Stitch Guide because, in the stitch guide, the symbol is a Tunisian knit stitch…. because it IS a Tunisian knit stitch and has been all along. My effort to make things easier may not have been such a swell idea.

Abbreviations in All Caps

Is it necessary? Certainly not. You can capitalize the letters if you want, or not.

Row 3: Skip first vertical bar, TKS across…

is the same thing as

Row 3: Skip first vertical bar, tks across…

Skip First Vertical Bar

The typical Tunisian crochet row starts by skipping the first vertical bar… on every single row. There are exceptions, of course. But, this is typical. If you don’t want to write it every single time, that’s fine. Just put it up in the pattern notes that you will skip the first vertical bar of every row. It saves space and headaches down the road should you forget to write it every. single. time.

Typical Closing

You have a typical closing for most rows of Tunisian crochet. It is described up there in the top of this post. If you don’t want to write it every single time, define it in the pattern notes. Just say that the typical closing is “Chain 1, [yarn over and pull through 2 loops on hook] across, until 1 loop remains on hook”. There, you’ve said it in the pattern notes. When you get to the instructions, you can now say “close normally.”

Again, this is the typical closing. If you’re working with a variety of closings in the same pattern, such as intricate lace, you can’t do this. But, you certainly can do this with most patterns.

Turning Your Work

Stop telling people that, in Tunisian crochet, you never turn your work. I’ve already busted that myth with this project from Crochet World, October 2009.

And, besides, you *do* turn your work with double-ended Tunisian crochet, so it’s best to just stop passing around that rumor, right?

:-)

These are just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more, but they’re not coming to me right now. If I think of any more, I’ll be sure to add them for you later. I just really wish that I had known then what I know now. I had no idea when I first started writing these patterns almost 15 years’ ago that we would need changes. It’s going to be really hard for me to convince the new publications that a change is necessary.

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