WIPs 'N Chains

Kim Guzman, Crochet and Knit Design


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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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Cape Sleeved Cardi: Linked Double Treble

This will be my final post of the day regarding the Cape Sleeved Cardi. This is a free pattern, available from Caron yarns here. It has sparked a lot of interest and we are currently doing a crochet-along in my crochet-along group because it’s been so popular.

Unfortunately, in the past three weeks, there has been a YouTube video (which is now a series of 3 videos) and I was unaware of it (them). Yolanda has gone to a lot of work to make the entire garment on video. I respect that level of dedication and appreciate that she likes my design well enough to do something that labor intensive. However, without my knowledge of the videos, I was bombarded by emails for the last three weeks which made absolutely no sense to me. Communications were necessary, back and forth, between people who were experiencing trouble with the pattern and I couldn’t figure out why.

If I had known about these videos, I could have handled this from the very beginning. I would have known what these people were talking about and I would have been able to answer their questions much more quickly. But, instead, I have been receiving huge numbers of emails which have required enormous amounts of time. It’s kept me from my work, from my sleep and from my life.

What Yolanda has done is actually one of the beautiful things about the internet. Imagine someone doing an entire garment right before your very eyes. No more questions! But, alas, parts of her video are completely incorrect and therein lies the problems I’ve been facing.

Now that I’ve discovered what has been going on, I’ve decided to make a video about linked stitches. This video starts off with an explanation about linked stitches. Then it moves on to a demonstration of the linked double treble which is used in the Cape Sleeved Cardi. I intend to make videos of all the linked stitches in my swatch in the video, but I wanted to get this one up for you immediately.

I have also included a presentation of linked stitches at the beginning. If you prefer to jump directly to the linked double treble instruction, it is approximately at mile marker 7. Note that the actual video is in HD. If it’s too far over to the left because I couldn’t find the center this first time of using this camera, please click the YouTube link to view it there. And, the video is currently jumping all over the place. I think it’s because something has been “fixed” by YouTube. I will try to get the original back and, if I’m unsuccessful, I will upload it again. It’s all a learning experience as I try to use a different camera.

Please feel free to use Yolanda’s videos (except that it seems that the videos are not currently available as of the time of this posting which is going to make the rest of my blog post moot, but I’ll post it anyway just in case the videos come back up). Perhaps she will post them again at some point. Click here for her YouTube channel. There is a lot of useful information in the videos. But, realize that the yarn used is not the recommended yarn and is in an entirely different weight category. Without changing the hook size and adjusting the pattern, you will end with a very bulky, stiff garment.

Also, the stitch she is demonstrating is a linked treble, not a linked double treble. You may think there isn’t that much of a difference. But, it’s the difference between a pattern saying to use a double crochet and you use a single crochet instead. That is a lot of height difference once you’ve repeated it 10 times.

And, on a more cosmetic level, the insertion points Yolanda has used for her linked treble are not the same I used for the pattern. Again, this is purely cosmetic and only affects the actual look of the linked stitch.

All of these items are in the pattern itself. Please read through your pattern. You should be able to discover the inaccuracies and fix them. The instructions in the pattern were not followed for these videos. Some things were simply made up without trying to figure it out first. Other things are spot on.

I apologize that some of you may have been working on this cardigan pattern and have suddenly run into problems which require ripping out. But, this is what happens on the internet. You should not always trust every resource available. And, YouTube is a perfect example of inaccuracies. It would be impossible for me to somehow monitor the internet so that I can find instances where people are giving bad advice on my designs and patterns. Thankfully, I have now discovered it and can respond to questions easier and quicker now.

I really think this is such a cute design. And, it’s really easy and quick once you get the hang of working in linked stitches. I encourage you to give it a try. Be sure to review and practice the stitch, using my video. Use Yolanda’s videos for other elements. And, feel free to join my crochet-along. There is also a wee bit of errata which you should review as well.

Please be aware that it’s possible that Caron yarns may request that the inaccurate videos be removed. There is a slight issue of a copyright violation, although it’s kind of a gray area whether or not someone can demo a free pattern without permission. But, more significantly, Caron paid for the pattern, yarn, completed garment, photography, modeling, makeup, styling, tech editor, layout and web design. All that to give you a free pattern for your use. Demo-ing an entire garment pattern owned by Caron with a competitor’s yarn would be, at minimum, a faux pas.

All in all, I feel like a mountain has been created out of a mole hill. But, hopefully this blog post will resolve all issues. This cute little design shouldn’t have ever caused these kinds of problems. But, I can only hope that now that you’ve found me, the designer and pattern writer, you can go forth and conquer this design without further issues.


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Ready to Throw in the Towel

This post will be about the Cape Sleeved Cardi which is a free pattern available at Caron yarns here. I am very appreciative that someone likes my design well enough to spend hours and hours and hours demonstrating the entire crocheting of the garment on YouTube. The videos are separated into three parts so I know how much work went into them. Just watching them will take over 1-1/2 hours. That doesn’t take into account the extra time prepping and re-takes. However, it has caused me nothing but grief.

Someone has committed a lot of time to make three videos showing how to do the entire Cape Sleeved Cardi. That is a lot of work. And, wow! Potentially very helpful. However, she has made mistakes that have generated questions like this one that I received last night:

“I have some DK weight yarn in my stash. Can I use it instead of Super Saver?”

I was dumbfounded by the question because the pattern is written in DK weight yarn, not aran weight yarn (Super Saver). Through investigation, I finally discovered why I was getting such strange questions.

The videos aren’t just casual videos. She has a huge YouTube channel and 12,000 subscribers. That is a lot of “fall out” which is coming to me.

1) She has done the stitch incorrectly. I work into a different bar of the stitch. And, this is just like Tunisian, you can work in any old bar to produce the stitch. That part will only affect the stitch cosmetically. However, she has shown how to do a treble stitch, not a double treble. I don’t know. Maybe when the stitches get high enough, people think it doesn’t matter. You can just do any old stitch in there and call it a day. But, in truth, it is like telling people to replace a double crochet with a single crochet. Imagine the difference in gauge after 10 repeats of that. When she was asked in comments why she has only 4 loops on her hook when the pattern says 5 loops, she simply said that is how she learned it and it is correct. People are coming to me because they can’t get gauge, which isn’t unusual except now I’ve got all these people who can’t get gauge because they’re working the wrong stitch.

2) While I am mortified that someone has done the pattern in an aran weight yarn and then were confused that the finished item could practically stand up by itself, I could let that part go. Of course, it makes me look like an idiot who can’t design clothing. But, I can let that part go.

In the end, I already get a lot of emails from people about my designs. I am fielding questions constantly. I can’t keep up with the questions I am receiving due to this misinformation.

The last couple of weeks, I feel like I have answered some of the most bizarre questions about this design. I have stayed up all hours of the night responding to questions. I have spent hours and hours answering questions. And, while I don’t mind answering questions, the sheer numbers of emails I have received with questions that made no sense has been overwhelming. I can’t get any work done. I was literally up until 4 am dealing with this and got up 5 hours later and I’m still dealing with this. I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t go on this way. I can’t get any work done because I’m answering questions due to the misinformation given in these videos.

I’m sorry, guys. As much as I love the internet, it has also proven to be a curse. It is the bane of my existence right now. And, I am so ready to simply throw in the towel and admit defeat.


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New Design: Cape Sleeved Cardi

ETA: This design has been selected for a crochet-along beginning September 15. See here for more information.

ETA2: Please see the end of this post for a small amount of errata.

WARNING: There are 3 videos on YouTube demo-ing this design. While I appreciate the enormous commitment the person has placed in my design, incorrect instructions are given in the videos. While you can certainly review the videos and I’m sure you’ll gain some answers to your questions, you should understand that they are incorrect. In addition to other mistakes, the demo of the linked stitch is incorrect. And, this wouldn’t be a huge issue. But, the person demo-ing is using Super Saver, at least a 2 size difference from the yarn used in the pattern. The videos would take me about 1-1/2 hours to review in depth. So, I gave up watching them in their entirety. I am not trying to “call out” someone for doing something incorrectly. We all make mistakes. I am solely trying to reduce the numbers of emails I am receiving because people are confused by the contradictory video instructions.

Welcome to my new free pattern from Caron International Yarns. Cape Sleeved Cardi in Caron Simply Soft Light. Same Caron Simply Soft, in a lighter weight version. (That link right there in this paragraph is the link to the free pattern. Just click on the words “Cape Sleeved Cardi.”)

If you subscribe to Caron Connections, you would have received this introduction of my design by email.

Delicate lace and broomstick stitch details come together with a flattering cape sleeve silhouette in designer Kim Guzman’s Cape Sleeved Cardi. Crocheted in Caron Simply Soft Light, this charming cardigan is a lightweight layering piece that you’ll want to wear all year.

I don’t want there to be any confusion. This design isn’t made in broomstick lace. I think that it may have reminded someone at Caron of something looking like a broomstick element. But, the design is actually made in linked stitches, not broomstick.

You may not have heard of linked stitches. But, they are certainly worth knowing. I like them because they produce a thinner fabric. And, since the stitches are linked, there aren’t big holes in between the stitches, even when working with the tall ones. Because the fabric is thinner, you use less yarn. Linked stitches don’t use yarn overs in the traditional fashion. You pick up loops on the side of the previous stitch and these serve as your yarn overs.

When working with linked stitches, you’ll just want to remember that you are working with the same number of loops as a traditional crochet stitch. A linked half double will involve three loops and you pull through all three loops at once to close. A linked double will involve the same three loops, but you’ll [pull through two loops] twice. A linked treble will involve four loops and you’ll [pull through two loops] three times. Here is a video I’ve done for a linked half double.

You see how you aren’t actually yarning over to make the stitch. You are using loops already available. The stitch is the same, though. You’re just joining them together so there isn’t a lot of bulk.

For this new design, Cape Sleeved Cardi, I’ve used linked double trebles. Usually a stitch this tall will have wide open spaces between the stitches. But, through the beauty of joining them, the stitch is more evenly distributed. And, really, I kid you not. When you don’t have yarn overs throughout, you literally use less yarn.

One other thing you may discover, especially when working with the taller linked stitches, is that they are hugely similar in mechanics to Tunisian crochet. However, please be aware that my linked stitches, that I use in all my projects with linked stitches, use the vertical bars on the side of the previous stitch, not the horizontal bars (making it exactly like Tunisian Simple Stitch).

For clarification, if you know Tunisian crochet already, I am not using the standard simple stitch bar. I am using the bar that is for the closing chain that runs up the middle. Neither method is incorrect. You can literally use any Tunisian crochet stitch to link the stitches. Linked stitches are nothing more than join-as-you-go Tunisian crochet. For me, I prefer the look of using the bar out on the side. All the current YouTube videos show the more typical Simple Stitch method. I’m not fond of the look of Simple Stitch, so I use a different spot for placement. Please review my linked half double crochet video to see which bar I mean.

And, for anyone who has not yet tried Tunisian crochet, don’t be scared! You will pick this up in no time! It’s just a linked stitch. A stitch made by picking up loops in the side of the previous stitch. Easy peasy!

In my next video shoot, I’ll try to get the other linked stitches so that you’ll have them for reference. But, in the meantime, I really think you’ll understand the concept through your knowledge of traditional crochet once you see the video for the linked half double.

Just a note: This design also includes a reverse single crochet. Stop being scared of it! See my video (and all my other videos) here. I used it only for embellishment, so it can be easily omitted. But, you should get over that fear. It’s only crochet. Nothing at all to be scared about!

Top-Down Construction

This design is worked in one piece, starting at the neck, splitting at the armholes, working from the armholes down, then joining to complete the sleeves. I’ve not worked in the round with the sleeves due to it changing the stitch pattern, so there is a very slight amount of seaming at the sleeves only.

For those of you craving that top-down construction, this design answers your call! But, if you’re looking for a fitted sleeve design, this isn’t it. I was requested to make a cape-sleeved design, which is basically a kimono style sleeve. It isn’t fitted.

This garment is one of those things that you’ll want to throw on for a chilly evening. Or, have available at the office when the air conditioner puts too much chill in the air. Nice, comfortable fit. Sleeves at 3/4 length so they don’t get in the way. Light-weight fabric, without a lot of bulk. Really tall stitches so that it works up quickly. Worked from top-down so that length is easy to adjust. What more could you want in a cardigan??!! :-)

And, remember that my natural tension is a little on the loose side. If you tend to crochet tightly, you’re going to automatically want to go up in hook size in order to meet my gauge.

Even if you’ve never made a crocheted garment before, this one is a truly enjoyable starter project. Even if you don’t want to swatch, you can use your garment as your swatch. See this search on gauge for more information. You can start it and get through the yoke. Measure it against the schematic or on your body to see how it fits. If you have to take it out, the garment is so quick-to-stitch that it’s not going to be a life or death situation if you have to take it out and start again with a different size hook. And, besides, why not? You’ll be practicing and perfecting your tension on a new stitch and stitch pattern. It doesn’t hurt a thing to take it out and start again. The benefit of working in acrylic is that washing isn’t going to produce a lot of significant change in gauge. The fabric is light. It’s not going to be too weighted down. Lastly, it’s an easy fit cardigan. This is the perfect choice for a first garment! Don’t be scared! Jump in with both feet (and both hands).

Enjoy!

Errata: There appears to be a one-stitch difference in stitch count for the beginning of this project. Please use the following in order to maintain the stitch count:

Row 1 (RS): Sk first ch, *sc in next 4 ch, 2 sc in next ch; repeat from * to last 4 ch, sc in each of 3 ch, 2 sc in last ch, turn-83 (89, 95, 101, 107) sc.

Round 2 of the trim (the reverse single crochet round) is worked into the front loop only. Then, when you get to round 3, it is worked in the unused back loop of round 1.


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Designing Shawls

I’m not huge on wearing shawls. But, having a shawl can come in handy during the winter, when it’s just a tad cool in the house, propane bills being what they are. I’ve found that I prefer some shawl shapes over others.

For instance, one of the most popular shawl shapes is the plain rectangle. I’m not too keen on designing the plain rectangle shawl. Seems almost like cheating. So, I’ve been considering different embellishments for them to make them more interesting. Perhaps beads. Or, oh! Beaded tassels! Yummy!

But, I have discovered that I prefer to design and wear shawls made of different, more unusual shapes. I love this shape. It starts off like a triangle shawl, but ends before you get to the point.

I used this shape in the Rolled Collar Wrap from Learn to Do Tunisian Lace Stitches. When I wear it, I wear it more around my neck, more like a scarf. The long edge closest to my neck. And, just let it hang down in the front. I love the look of how it has points at the bottom when worn that way. More visual interest.

And, by the way, if you’ve been holding out on getting this book, you better not wait much longer. Although it’s still available at some vendors, it’s been discontinued. Hurry! (Link’s on the right.)

The next shawl shape I’ve enjoyed is more of an “L” shape. I first discovered this shape when ponchos were so popular, about a decade ago. You would actually seam another of the sides in order to have a poncho. But, I discovered that I rather liked the shape for a shawl and I especially love how it hangs in the front and how it stays on the shoulders! Staying power is most desirable for me.

I used this shawl shape when designing the Christmas Country Wrap for Caron International Yarns.

It’s got a really unique stitch pattern that I just love. And, even though it seems really detailed, I found it to be very easy and quick-to-stitch.

Another really nice design that I love to wear is the ruana. This ruana, especially, has wonderful shoulder staying power. I used a slightly different approach than I’ve done with other ruanas and I really love the shape of it. The design is made from Plymouth Alpaca Grande. Really gorgeous yarn. So soft. So amazing. You almost don’t want to put it down.

This design will soon be available in Tunisian Cables to Crochet, a new book from Annie’s. You can sign up to be notified of its availability. I expect it to be in the warehouse in August.

This one, which I did last year, has a really unique edging. Not really handkerchief edging. But something similar.

Mariposa, a Tunisian lace design, is available at Kimane Designs.

I will continue to explore and experiment with different shawl shapes. I find it fascinating to come up with new and unique shapes. It’s in my nature to be adventuresome in my designing. :-)


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Published: City Kid

Several years’ ago, I started designing a vest for my little son. He was much littlier at the time. Before I had the chance to get it finished, I was commissioned to do other work and never got a chance to finish it.

When I was cleaning out my computer files last year, I noticed that I still had this vest design, unfinished. I felt it would be the perfect item for Vickie Howell’s new Sheep(ish) line of yarn and Vickie agreed. She even liked the original colors!

And, this is how the City Kid knit toddler vest was born. You can get the free pattern here.

As much as this design may look difficult, it is so much easier than it looks. The color changing doesn’t happen through an Intarsia method. It is a slip stitch method. The stitch pattern itself is actually a simple garter stitch throughout with slipped stitches to create the illusion of extensive color work. Very cool stitch pattern. One of my favorites.

Enjoy!


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New Design: Kansas City Cowl

Now that I’m trying to catch up, I’m happy to say that I’m blogging this design on the very day of its release! Aren’t you proud?!

Kansas City Cowl

“Designer Kim Guzman has created a stunning pattern that does triple duty as a cowl, a wrap and an infinity scarf. The Kansas City Cowl, knit in NaturallyCaron.com Country, features a gorgeous cabled center panel plus an intriguing drop stitch detail. This stunning one-color project will kick off your 2012 wardrobe in style.”

I love, love, love this design! And, I hope you do as well.


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New Design: Summer Mist Throw

Summer Mist Throw

You can perhaps say I’m biased, but this is quite possibly one of my all-time favorite afghan designs. Naturally, when I received the yarn, I was overjoyed because I’m pretty sure that I’ve established that I like purple, right?

But, there’s something so, oh I don’t know, artsy (?) about this afghan. I’m not sure what it is. It’s just so elegant looking and seems like it would fit with any decor from French provincial to a contemporary leather sofa. I love it and I hope you will too. Click on the link above to get the free pattern, courtesy of Caron International Yarns.


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New Design: Lucia Mitts

So quick to stitch, you’ll find yourself wanting to make several to match … everything. This popular accessory can be worn alone or try layering them over your gloves for added warmth. A functional, yet elegant accessory in a beautiful and unexpected Tunisian crochet lace stitch pattern. Click here for more photos and details.

Included with the purchase of this pattern is my Tunisian Crochet Symbol Directory for use in learning the symbols required for this and future patterns, together with direct links to my Tunisian crochet videos, where available. It’s a wonderful resource with so much information packed into its five pages. The symbols are also provided as a possible aid in completion of other charts where similar symbols are used. The symbols I am using are based on the Japanese stitch pattern dictionaries.

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