WIPs 'N Chains

Kim Guzman, Crochet and Knit Design


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Ye Olde Giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

My portfolio of designs can be found on Ravelry here.

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

One entry per person.


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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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Copyright Piracy. Again.

Because I have Google alerts established for the names of all of my books, I was immediately made aware of someone uploading a copy of one of my books to the internet. Yes, another person scanning my book and giving it away for free. Seriously, folks, I’m not a party pooper. If your only source of income was royalties on a book and you made about 70 cents on average for a book, you need the book to be sold.

I’m a single mother. I am protecting myself and my children from copyright piracy. If you can’t afford the book, I understand. I can’t afford a lot of things either, especially when people are giving away my books. There’s always the library. But, don’t take what little money I make away from my family.

This particular copyright piracy was a bit different than what I normally find. What happens is that a person uploads a file to the document storage facility. They are given a link which they share on the internet and, in this case, the person is using a blog. When someone else visits the blog, then goes to the link, they are given a survey from an advertiser hired by the document storage facility website. That advertiser then pays the website who then pays the person who has uploaded the file. Essentially, the pirate makes money from every download. Dastardly pirate! Not only giving away my book, but also making money from it!*

Just say no to copyright piracy! You may think that book authors live a life a luxury and won’t really lose any money from piracy. I am not THAT kind of book author. I make very little money in this industry. We have a very difficult time financially and have to make a lot of sacrifices. But, I do it for the love of the craft. I do it for YOU! Don’t submit to the temptation of copyright piracy. Just don’t do it.

You may think that you’re only hurting the publisher, who makes millions of dollars and it couldn’t possibly hurt them. I don’t know how much the publishers make and it really doesn’t matter to me. All that matters to me is my portion of that book sale because I have to support my family.

If you see copyright infringement, don’t hesitate to let me know. I can be contacted at kim AT crochetkim.com. I will take care of it. Thank you for your help and support!

*And, just to make a point. I make about 70 cents on each sale of my book. This website is giving an entire dollar! Not only making money from giving away an illegal copy of my book, but making more money than ME!


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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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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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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!


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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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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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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.


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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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