WIPs 'N Chains

Kim Guzman, Crochet and Knit Design


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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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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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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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Short Rows, You Say?

A couple of days’ ago, I posted about one of my new books, just released by Leisure Arts, Short Row Tunisian Fashion.

This new book is available in hard copy here and in e-book download here.

Yesterday, the question was brought up in the Tunisian Crochet YahooGroup. What is a short row?

In this instance, the use of “short rows” is a technique. It is a shaping technique, most commonly seen and discussed around the subject of bust shaping of garments. But, the short row technique can also be used in other applications.

Here are the “bare bones” of it. You start making a row as usual. On the next row, you stop slightly before reaching the end of the row. On each subsequent row, you stop short of the end. With each subsequent row, the stitch number decreases. This produces a triangle, or wedge. You can see the wedges clearly in the cover shot of the scarf above.

I love using short rows. Working one wedge at a time makes the project move quickly. I never get bored because each row is different and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment as the rows get shorter and shorter. Here are a few of my short row projects.

The Sapphire Wrap from Short Row Tunisian Fashion uses short rows to create a long crescent shape in this shawl.

The ever popular Geo Scarf, available here, is made in short rows which is lovely with a self-striping yarn.

The Crescent Bag, available here, is made of short row wedges then felted.

This is the Swirls Baby Afghan, from Learn to Do Tunisian Lace Stitches, my book which includes the interactive DVD.

Short rows can also be used to shape garments as seen in the Puff Sleeve Cardigan and Riding Cape from Short Row Tunisian Fashion.

According to my search on Ravelry, it looks like I have close to 20 designs which use the short row technique. You can tell it’s definitely a favorite of mine.


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Learn to Crochet 1-2-3

I believe I’ve mentioned this once before, but it’s been months and there are now three issues of this magazine out there in the big, wide world. And, I need to write about it.

Crochet 1-2-3 magazine, website here. All projects for each issue have been databased on Ravelry here.

The magazine is available in Walmart. It can be found in the craft department or the magazine department. (There doesn’t appear to be consistency with location in the store.) Not all Walmarts had them. (Mine doesn’t yet.) But, I believe that’s going to change. The magazine is also available by subscription at the website. Back issues are available for purchase. If we all play nicely and buy lots of them, maybe distribution will grow to other venues.

The big thing about this magazine is that I have a pretty big part in it. And, to be honest, it’s been tough. Probably the toughest thing I’ve ever done. It sounded a lot easier than it turned out to be. But, you guys know me. I am always up for a challenge. And, this was a biggie.

With each magazine, I have a technique article. For the technique, I have three projects. These patterns are arranged in difficulty so that you learn the technique, then expand upon it with the other projects. You get to learn in 1-2-3 fashion.

Now, the other cool thing? Not only do you get three projects to learn a techique and a two-page article with close-up photos, you also get free online videos. And, that’s cool.

I am also doing the online videos. All by myself. Editing too. And, seriously, I’m trying to get them finished as quickly as I can. And, I’m getting better. I’m starting to do things in more of a system so that I have fewer “takes”. And, this is crucial. I have to sit on my feet with a tripod between my knees, leaning up next to the coffee table with haphazard lights strewn about.  I have to take frequent breaks because my feet fall asleep. From what I understand, I shouldn’t be crocheting when it’s painful. Feet falling asleep is PAINFUL! ha!

So, here we go with the techniques.

Issue 1: Working In a Spiral. Three hats to try out working in a spiral without joining rounds, in three different stitches.

Issue 2: Working with Beads. Three different beading techniques.

Issue 3: Crocheted Cables. Three scarves with three different cable stitch patterns.

You can jump over to the website and view the videos now as well. Except for issue 2. I hope to have those finished next week. And, things should run much more smoothly for me now that I’ve been doing this for several months. But, I tell you what. Between trying to figure out how to teach a technique using three progressive projects, doing the swatches, doing the videos, doing the video editing… It’s taken me awhile to figure out the most efficient way to do everything.


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Why Not Regular Crochet?

I receive a lot of emails asking me why I do so much Tunisian crochet. Why don’t I ever do regular crochet? While it’s true that I’ve been doing a lot of Tunisian crochet lately, it’s certainly not all that I do. I think that, because my name seems to be synonymous with Tunisian crochet, there is a misconception that ALL of my work is in the technique. But, it’s really not. It’s just that I do some unexpected things in regular crochet sometimes and there is an assumption that it is Tunisian, when it’s not.

Here are my most popular designs of all time. All in regular crochet.

Sweetheart Ripple Afghan from Reversible Ripple Afghans here. Truly an unexpected surprise because of the ripples on one side and the hearts on the other. The immediate assumption was that it was double-ended Tunisian crochet. I had to work very closely with the Annie’s catalog staff for awhile there in order to word the description in such a way that there was no question that it was regular crochet because many people emailed me about it being Tunisian.

Dreams Shawl, published at Kimane Designs here. Before you could find laceweight crochet shawls by the hundreds on Ravelry, this shawl was published. It shot up to many favorite lists. But, I’m still seeing it labeled as Tunisian crochet. Just yesterday, I saw it labeled as Tunisian crochet on Pinterest. But, it’s not.

Clarice, published at Kimane Designs here. So easy! So popular! And, it’s popular world-wide. While we’re thinking about making afghans during the winter here in the US, this pattern is popular in Australia because it’s their summer. (And, have you heard of the record-setting high temps in Australia this year? They had to add a new color to their weather maps because the heat got up to 129-degrees Faranheit!)

Of all my designs, the most favorited pattern on Ravelry is this pattern called Elegant Hat, a free pattern from Caron here. Although it’s never been confused for Tunisian crochet. ;-)

And, there you have it! Tunisian crochet isn’t all that I do. My most popular patterns of all time are actually regular crochet. It’s just that, here lately, Tunisian crochet has been coming into its own. You see it quite frequently. But, it’s not new to me. I’ve been publishing books in Tunisian crochet for almost 15 years. I was Tunisian before Tunisian was cool. But, now that it is cool, I’ve got a lot of books in it right now. :-)


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Spreadsheet Chaos

Oh, my goodness! Last week, I was grading (sizing) a pattern and I had the biggest mess of Excel spreadsheets on my computer screen. If only you could have seen that mess! Oh, but wait! You *can* see the mess. Here’s a screen shot.

And, if you want to see the mess bigger, here you go: embiggen.

So, what in the world caused the need for three separate spreadsheets? Well, I’ll tell ya. I’m crazy, that’s what. I am forever coming up with oddly-constructed designs. They are cute! They are clever! But, they may be the death of me in sizing for 6 different sizes. ha!

Through a lot of research and hands-on experience, I can size a garment without much of an issue. That part is easy. The hard part is making it work in a pattern. Patterns need to be concise. They need to be step-by-step for all the sizes. You can’t write a separate pattern for each size for a publisher. I could do it, if necessary, when writing for my own line of patterns, of course. And, I have done that, when necessary. But, the restriction of having to say something like this makes it tough:

“Repeat previous 2 rows 5 (6, 6, 7, 8) times more.”

… when you really need to write:

“For sizes small, medium and large, repeat previous 2 rows 5 (6, 7) times more, but for size 1X, do this instead, but for sizes 2X and 3X, do this instead.”

So, why do these problems arise? It comes into play because, as the body grows, height and shoulders do not change much, if at all. So, while it’s a breeze to write the size small with the shoulders and chest fitting into a nice, cute little box, it’s crazy difficult to get from the shoulders to the bust on the larger sizes without making some radical changes. The diagonal line drawn from the top of the garment to the bottom of the armhole for a size small is pretty slight. But, you have to make a much greater diagonal line to get from the top of the garment to the bottom of the armhole in the larger sizes. Crazy quick increasing in about the same amount of space. That’s tough!

Then, let us talk of necklines. With a size small, the neckline usually starts above the armhole decreasing. While the armhole increases as the size increases, the height of the human being doesn’t. There is very little fluctuation in the neckline. The neckline starts to overlap with the armhole decreasing as you go up in sizes. But, that’s not a good thing for a pattern because once again, you would have to have two separate instructions for the variations. It’s crazy talk!

So, as a pattern writer, you can’t always get perfection. It’s not like we’re cutting out fabric where you can be precise. It takes some clever number crunching to get the pattern. Sizing is easy. It’s the pattern that’s crazy.

For all the new designers, I feel you! I know it’s difficult. It takes lots and lots of practice. Don’t dispair. It *does* get easier with time and practice. But, even with my 10+ years of experience, I still have patterns that make me want to throw in the towel. But, don’t give up! With each new pattern, you will get better and better. I promise. :-)


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How Do You Like To Learn?

Learn Tunisian Crochet from Books

I’ve noticed a lot of emails and posts about people wanting to learn Tunisian crochet in the new year. How would you like to learn? No matter how you’d like to learn, I’ve got you covered.

If you like a more traditional style of learning from books, I’ve got four great books that can take you from the beginner level through the more intermediate level.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet takes you through all the common stitches and then you progress to higher levels with projects sorted in order of learning. You can learn all those little extras like how to seam, how to change colors and more.

Learn to Do Tunisian Lace Stitches first takes you through all the basic stitches then combines them to make lace stitch patterns. Practice the stitches with some beautiful lace projects. And, it comes with a DVD which you can pop into your computer or DVD player so that you get one-on-one video lessons on all the stitches and complete videos of the lace stitch patterns.

Tunisian Cables to Crochet is a step-by-step guide on learning to make beautiful cables that look like hand-knit and can be made in 1/3 the time of hand-knit projects. Although I knit as well, when it comes to gift-giving crunch time, I would rather pick a Tunisian cabled project over a hand-knit project.

Lastly, a stitch dictionary. Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide is a new, one-of-a-kind stitch dictionary which includes many never-before-seen stitch patterns. Just flipping through the book, you will see its uniqueness in the pineapple stitch patterns you can create with Tunisian crochet, something that I’ve read cannot be done. I apparently have a problem with being told I can’t do something! ha! This book is scheduled for release in March, but is available for pre-order now.

Read more about all of these books on my Amazon author page here.

Learn Tunisian Crochet from Online Video Classes

Now, if you like to learn from classes, but you’re unable to attend one of my live classes, how about a video class? I have two fabulous online classes at Annie’s. And, with online classes, you can watch the videos over and over, as many times as you would like. And, there are wonderful patterns to go with them!

Hard to believe that you can get this fabulous hat from a beginner class, right? But, it’s true! Read more about my online Annie’s classes here. I have two classes at Annie’s. One is a beginner level with 4 great projects. The second expands upon that knowledge with cables and lace. Here is the lovely cabled project. I enjoyed this project so much that I couldn’t make a firm decision with what project I wanted to do. So, I’ve included instructions for making a scarf, shawl, baby blanket, wrap AND and throw.

With so many Tunisian crochet patterns now available, now is the perfect time to learn. If you’re still unsure about Tunisian crochet, browse my Pinterest page here with some Tunisian crochet eye candy. And, if you need some research on the hooks, have a look at my Hooks page here. Enjoy!


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New Tunisian Crochet Stitch Pattern Book

Yes, I have been clicking on Amazon and checking the book listings every Monday night for as long as I can remember in order to get a first glimpse at one of the two books which will soon be available. And, this Monday night, I finally hit the jackpot!

This book is tremendously exciting for me. I’ve never done a stitch pattern book before. But, I was so excited about it that I couldn’t resist. As many of you know, in a Getting Loopy interview with MaryBeth Temple, when asked about stitch pattern books available in the United States, I told the world on live radio to just give me a chance; I have Tunisian crochet stitch patterns falling out of my ears. Leisure Arts must have heard that and this book was born.

I’m a bit timid to say the exact number of stitch patterns in the book without seeing it first. There’s always the possibility that something could have been dropped due to publishing. So, I will wait until later to give you more specific information. Some of the book covers classic Tunisian crochet stitch patterns. But most of them are straight out of my head. All new stitch patterns, most never-before-seen. I say “most” because, although they came out of my head, it’s always possible that they could have come out of someone else’s head at some other time as well. You just never know. But, I can safely say that I created almost every stitch pattern in the book. It’s not a compilation of stitch patterns which I pooled together from other sources. It’s all me. And, seriously, if you were to see only the pineapple stitch patterns in Tunisian crochet, it will leave you with no doubt that this is something very new to the Tunisian crochet world.

I have written about a dozen books on Tunisian crochet over my career and this is the biggest and best accomplishment for me. I’m so excited about it and I can’t wait until it’s available. But, wait, we must do. The book, although listed on Amazon here, will not be available until March 2013. Yes, yes, I know. Three months is a long time. But, don’t forget! I’ve been waiting since 2011. ha! Three months doesn’t sound as long now, does it? :-)

For those of you asking about e-reader availability, it is still too early for me to know whether the book will be available for e-readers. Chances are good since the last book with this publisher is available in that format. But, it’s simply too early to be certain.

I recently wrote a post on Ravelry about my love for Tunisian crochet and I want to share it here with you here because it’s so appropriate to the introduction of this book.

I am having a love affair with Tunisian crochet. But, my love affair isn’t a short one. It’s not at all a flighty affair. I’ve been writing books on Tunisian crochet since 1998. I’ve got 11 books so far, in amongst the others in regular crochet.

The current trend toward Tunisian crochet is a direct result of tool manufacture. When I first started, we had only the 14” regular afghan hook. With the manufacture of different hooks in all different materials and even interchangeable hooks, the craft has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 5 years. (Be sure to check my Tunisian crochet pages here to research the advances made in Tunisian crochet hooks.)

This has always happened in our crafting history. If there are no readily-available tools, there are no designs. You can directly map out the transitions in crafting solely due to the availability of tools.

I remember specifically looking at a Crochet Fantasy magazine and seeing a few extraordinary pieces. But, I was so disappointed when I read the materials list and saw that it included the long afghan hook. I was scared of it. I thought I would have to learn something new. But, those projects always crept into my mind and I yearned for the knowledge of it. I was just scared.

Then, in 1998, I was given some swivel hooks by Annie’s Attic and I was asked to design with them. I was forced to sit down and learn. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was so easy! Naturally, because I am me, I stuck with Tunisian crochet instead of double-ended which they requested. But, it was all good. I sold three books in one sit-down meeting.

Since then, I’ve worked and worked on Tunisian crochet along with my regular crochet. I love its versatility. I love that I can use yarns that don’t always work in regular crochet. I love that it’s such a baby and hasn’t been fully explored. I love that stitch patterns just fall out of my ears. I don’t need stitch pattern books for it. I create the stitch patterns myself. I create so many stitch patterns in Tunisian that I even wrote an entire book on stitch patterns alone. Not stitch patterns copied from another book and re-written and re-charted. Stitch patterns right out of my head.

What do I like most about Tunisian crochet? I can get the look of regular crochet, hand-knitting or woven. I can get all those things out of it. I don’t consider Tunisian crochet to be an evil step-child of the crafts, or someone’s attempt to get the look of knitting from regular crochet. I don’t consider it the worst of both crafts together in one. On the contrary, I think it’s the perfect craft. One craft can look like all those three crafts and more. It can look like hairpin lace, broomstick lace, macrame. If I were to choose only one craft, it would certainly be Tunisian.


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New Design: Rosaline Tunic

Introducing the Rosaline Tunic from Kimane Designs. Please click here for further information.

Rosaline is made in a gorgeous all-over drop stitch ripple with so little shaping that you’ll be surprised that you’re finished! Rosaline is designed to be worn over a camisole, bathing suit or tank in warmer months. Or, it can be worn over a warmer long-sleeve top in the colder months.

The drop stitch is made in a special broomstick lace alternation developed by Kim Guzman and special accommodations have been made to the technique in order to get the best effect with such a silky yarn to ensure that the drops stay in place.

Although 100% silk has been used for the model project, it would look equally lovely in DK weight rayon or bamboo. For best results, natural fibers should be used to get the full benefit of blocking out the drop stitches.


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Kenzie Cowl

The Kenzie cowl available here showcases two different weights and types of yarns for a truly unique look. It introduces the use of a double-ended hook to learn Tunisian crochet in-the-round in a spiraling technique. It is worked in continuous rounds and there are no seams.

The unique look is made using Blue Sky Alpaca’s Alpaca Silk (292 yards required) and Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe (330 yards required). Size L-11 (8mm) double-ended Tunisian afghan hook used. Finished size is 12″ x 40″ circumference. Finished piece is very stretchy and will accommodate sizes small-large. Differences in gauge or yarn may not produce the same stretchiness which may require more yarn and/or adjustments to the starting chain. Adjustments for size can be made by increasing starting chain length and will require additional yarn.

This pattern was previously available only in an online class. The class includes: 2 PDFs, 3 12-minute videos and live help during the pendency of the class (1 week). Due to popular demand, I am also making the individual pattern available. The other class materials are not included.


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Why So Much Tunisian Crochet Lately?

I’ve been designing in Tunisian crochet since I first learned my first foundation row in 1998 or so. And, I’ve written about a dozen books on Tunisian crochet in that time. I’ve had two books published this year and, in just a couple of months, I’ll have two more. So, why this amazing resurgence of Tunisian crochet? It’s been around for over a century, but only now are we seeing a tremendous number of patterns. Check out my Pinterest page for the recent patterns I’ve seen on the internet.

When I first started creating projects in Tunisian crochet, I was very limited. There weren’t sufficient tools available. We don’t get patterns if the designers don’t have sufficient tools available to design and write patterns. No one will publish patterns if the customers can’t buy the hooks.

But, now? Now, we have so many choices. There are manufacturers of hooks. There are individuals making custom hooks. There are even several manufacturers making interchangeable hooks. There are Denise hooks, Dreamz hooks, Tulip hooks. There are hooks in abundance, everywhere I look on the internet. There are bamboo hooks, there are dyed hooks, there are metal hooks, there are acrylic hooks.

We can’t have patterns without proper tools for a craft. But, now that we have those hooks available, there is really no telling where this craft will go and I love seeing its entire evolution process as it transitions from the stiff, dense blankets of the past to the lovely garments and accessories of the present.

To learn more about this design, click here.


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Book Confessions

For those of you who follow me around the internet (I really get around!), you may have read what I’ve said in the past about taking photos of your work. If you’re feeling critical about your work, before ripping it out, take a photo first. For some reason, this seems to give you a new perspective on your project and sometimes it convinces you that you have perhaps been too critical.

The same thing goes for color work. If you’re not really loving the colors you’ve chosen, taking a photo and viewing it on your computer screen could give you an entirely new perspective.

So, now for the confession. I hated this project. Not the making. I loved making it. I can hardly believe that I’m about to divulge to you that I thought it was ugly. I almost didn’t send it in with the rest of the book.

But, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have seen this:

You see what I’m seeing, right? It’s positively stunning! It’s now my favorite project from the entire book. It was chosen as the cover, for goodness’ sakes! This project is going to be very difficult for me to top in future publications. Truly amazing with three different kinds of cables. My mouth dropped when I saw it in print the first time.

And, here’s the proof of there being something about seeing a photo and changing your mind. If I had decided not to send it in with the other projects, I never would have known the true beauty of this piece.

This project is the Limerick Wrap from my new book, Tunisian Cables to Crochet, currently available in hard copy and PDF download here.


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About The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet

Tunisian crochet is truly the most versatile type of needlework I’ve ever encountered. It can look woven, knitted or crocheted, depending on the stitches used. It’s not only one technique. It’s like having all three, together with only one hook.

When I first contracted to do this book with Leisure Arts, my primary goal was to share some projects that had a knit look so that people could see how Tunisian crochet can look like hand knitting. I chose that individual look about the technique that looked so much like knitting, not because I want to turn crochet into knitting, but because I wanted to share with people the true versatility and depth of Tunisian crochet.

The projects in the book use knitting concepts and stitch patterns which look like knitting. Everything in the book from the stockinette scarf and hat to the hoodie vest to the cute little cabled mitts look so much like knitting that, at first glance, you would swear that’s it’s knitting and not crochet.

And, while I could have written a book solely with projects, I wanted so much more from this book. And, to be honest, perhaps I got a bit carried away. I literally put everything I had into the book. There are things in this book which you don’t normally find in project books. The entire beginning section of the book teaches the stitches used in the book and that’s pretty normal. But, then I wanted to give direction on those little things that I’ve learned from my students which tend to hinder their progress. There is instruction on how to change colors or skeins of yarn. How to seam, both horizontally and vertically. How to use self-striping yarn for best results. Step-by-step on hand felting. There is so much to discover in this book.

But, my dilemma? My dilemma is your gain. My dilemma was writing the next book. Ha! I have to admit that I had a rather difficult time trying to get the next book out of my head when I had already completely drained my brain of every single thing about Tunisian crochet. I apparently don’t know the meaning of saving something back for the next book. I’m actually sort of shocked that I was able to get three more books out of my head after this one.

Here are some things I’ve read around the internet about this book.

“This is a terrific, very informative book that should be in everyone’s library, regardless of skill level. Lots of pictures and terrific explanations. The reverse stitch substitutes wonderfully for Tunisian purl (which I’ve never liked), and will combine with cable stitches to produce a look very similar to knitting. Of course, I’m going to get Kim’s cable book when it comes out in August! Meanwhile do order Kim’s “Beginner’s” book-everyone can benefit from a new and very thorough perspective on Tunisian.”

“Even though I have not made any of the projects in this book, I have marked several that I will be making in the near future. The instructions are easy to read and the projects do not seem like they will take a long period of time to complete.”

“This book is amazing and the instructions are wonderful. Helps you learn different stitches and patterns. Love this book and am so glad I ordered it. If you want to learn Tunisian crochet this book is fabulous!”

I’ve heard that the book is available at most JoAnn’s, Michaels and Hobby Lobby locations. You can also purchase directly from the publisher at Leisure Arts here or through Amazon here. I hope you enjoy it. It’s one of my biggest accomplishments.

 

Update: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian crochet is also now available in e-book download format here.

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