WIPs 'N Chains

Kim Guzman, Crochet and Knit Design


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. :-)


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! :-)


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.


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. :-)


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!


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.


TCAL: Tunisian Cabled Mitts Starts November 15

I will be hosting a crochet-along for the Tunisian Cabled Fingerless Mitts shown above in my YahooGroup here, beginning November 15. These are cute little gifts, just in time for the holiday season. Read more about fingerless mitts here.

You will need to purchase the book, if you haven’t already, in order to participate in this crochet-along. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet, published by Leisure Arts, can be purchased by hard copy here or by e-book download here. It is also available at off-line shops and other online vendors, if you prefer not to purchase directly from the publisher.

I have created the following YouTube video for purposes of this crochet-along:

Other videos which you may need are:

Foundation Row
Tunisian Knit Stitch
Binding Off

See you there!


Tunisian Crochet: Stop the Curling

Tunisian crochet curls. It’s the nature of the craft. And some stitches curl more than others. Sometimes, you can take advantage of the curl, like with this hat. It curls wonderfully for a rolled brim.

But there are times when you don’t want the curl, and here are some tips to help reduce or remove the curling.

  1. Use a larger hook.
  2. Work a few rows of Tunisian Reverse Stitch at the beginning.
  3. Work a few rows of Tunisian Purl Stitch at the beginning.
  4. Work a few rows of any variation of seed stitch at the beginning.
  5. Use a pattern in which the designer has provided the method of removing the curl.
  6. Use a fiber which will block out after finishing.
  7. Apply a heavy border after finishing.
  8. Work one or two rows of Tunisian Double Stitch at the beginning.
  9. Work one or two rows of Tunisian Extended Stitch at the beginning.
  10. Work in a lace stitch pattern which rarely curls much.
  11. Add ribbing at the beginning.

All stitches mentioned above can be found in my free online videos here.

The hat is available in my online class here. (And, yes, that’s me in the photo.)

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Tunisian Crochet Meets Laceweight

Tunisian crochet has that very popular myth attached that says that all projects created are stiff and dense and like a bullet-proof vest. Surely you can’t create something soft and airy and light, right? Welcome to Tunisian crochet and yummy laceweight yarn.

How about a lightweight vest made in JaggerSpun Zephyr. This cute little vest weighs only three ounces. I don’t think you can get much lighter than that. The design is available in my new book Ultimate Beginners Guide to Tunisian Crochet in both hard copy here and PDF download here.

Mariposa, available exclusively from Kimane Designs here, is one of those amazingly wonderful and unusual shawls that you don’t often see. You see triangle, rectangle and square shawls. And, more recently, crescent-shaped shawls. But, one shaped like the wings of a butterfly? Extraordinary! Another lovely example of Tunisian crochet in laceweight, using Ivy Brambles Romantica.

I really like unusual shawl shapes and this one is no different. It’s a triangle, but it’s not a right angle triangle. It’s more like a l-o-n-g rectangle. It gives you an opportunity to wear it in all manner of different stylings and is such a nice lightweight accessory, made in the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace. This design is one of the designs available in my class at Annie’s Online Classes here.

Don’t ever be shy about busting myths! With the evolution of Tunisian crochet, you never know what wonderful discovery may be right around the corner!

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Time to Sign Up for November 3 Classes!

On November 3, I’ll be in New Braunfels, Texas for all kinds of crochet fun! Although I’m really sad that Hooks in Texas was cancelled this year, I’m very pleased that I have this opportunity to visit you all in Texas again.

We’re planning a full day of book signings, trunk shows, demonstrations and two Tunisian crochet classes. With the classes, I’ve got something for beginners and something for intermediate and, even as a beginner, you can take both!

Please visit the website here and sign up through email, telephone or through the website form. These classes are going to fill quickly since there is a 15-student maximum. So, please register early!

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New Crochet-Along: Tunisian Cabled Mitts

I will be hosting a crochet-along for the Tunisian Cabled Fingerless Mitts shown above in my YahooGroup here, beginning November 15. These are cute little gifts, just in time for the holiday season. Read more about fingerless mitts here.

You will need to purchase the book, if you haven’t already, in order to participate in this crochet-along. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet, published by Leisure Arts, can be purchased by hard copy here or by e-book download here. It is also available at off-line shops and other online vendors, if you prefer not to purchase directly from the publisher.

Please feel free to join the YahooGroup anytime. We are currently in the middle of the crochet-along for the Cape Sleeved Cardi. So, if you like, you can join and change your mail to a “no mail” setting until the start of the new crochet-along. Then, you can change it to mail later.

I hope to see you there! :-)

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Join Me in New Braunfels!

Since I’ve signed up for the Lucky Ewe newsletter, I received the announcement in an email tonight that I’ll be there on November 3. :-)

Check out the Lucky Ewe website here for address, phone number and email. Be sure to reserve your spot by calling or emailing. More details to come, but for now, let’s just say book signings, Tunisian crochet demonstrations, trunk shows! Oh, my!

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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.


Next Stop, New Braunfels Texas!

During the weekend of November 3, I’ll be in that very special spot in Texas called New Braunfels. I’ll be at the Lucky Ewe Yarn Shop.

We are in the planning stages, but the date is officially set and I’ll be flying into Texas for a weekend of crocheterly fun. We’re considering a book signing, a book discussion, a Tunisian crochet demonstration, a trunk show and one or two classes. It will be so much fun!

And, to top it off, you could actually make an entire weekend of the event, just like I intend to do (except I plan on a 4-day weekend, but who’s counting? LOL). The New Braunfels Wurstfest is at the same time! How exciting is that?

And, here’s the thing, you could make it a family weekend! Those crocheterly types can be at Lucky Ewe Yarns for a day of crochet fun while the rest of the family can enjoy Wurstfest. Seriously, can you get better than that?

Mark the date! November 3! And, stay tuned for further information.


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