WIPs 'N Chains

Kim Guzman, Crochet and Knit Design


New Crochet Magazine Available Today

I am heartsick and sad about the recent events and I feel like I’ve wasted three weeks of my life, trying to do damage control. So, it will lighten the mood to let you know that we will all be the happy recipients of a new crochet magazine to discover. And, if all goes well, some of you may actually go to Walmart today and find it since the release date is today, September 18.

This is Crochet 1-2-3 magazine. It is available only on newsstands at Walmart and by subscription. Hard copy only. No downloads. You can find out more information at the website here.

My part in this issue is a technique article on working in a spiral. I take you through everything you need to know in order to work in a spiral and I’ve designed three hats to give you a chance to practice the technique.

The release date is today and I may have to run into town just to see if it’s there. :-)



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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New Designs for Halloween

Yep, I did it! I designed my very first corset. Pretty fun to design Halloween costumes. Even more fun that they’re free from Red Heart! Halloween is just around the corner!

I especially love the hats I designed for these sets. Really cute. And, the stitch pattern I created for the corset and scarf/sash is made to mimic lacing. Enjoy!

Halloween Wench Crochet Pattern. Free Pattern. Click here.

Halloween Pirate Crochet Pattern. Free Pattern. Click here.

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Valencia Wrap

The Valencia Wrap, from Tunisian Cables to Crochet, is an unusually-shaped wrap. And, by now, I’m sure you know how much I like the unusual shapes. It’s not really a crescent. Hmmmm…. maybe a long almond? A trapezoid? Let’s just call it “Wow! Look at that awesome wrap!”

In a wonderful thinking-outside-the-box design spurt, I’ve placed the cables at the edges for trim. A cabled trim, instead of something in the body of the wrap. It gives it an almost ruffly look.

I’ve made this wrap with just a touch over 1000 yards of Universal Yarns Classic Chunky. And, like all the designs in this book, you get to finish a knit look project in far less time it would take to hand knit it.

This was actually the first design I planned out for this book. It was in January or February of this year. At the same time I was planning the book, I was also planning my garden and getting tomato varieties ready to sow. It was very funny to me that the color of Classic Chunky I chose was called cherry tomato. No, I wouldn’t kid about something like that. It’s an orangey-red color and is called cherry tomato. One of the tomatoes I wanted to try this year was a Valencia tomato. You see where this is going, right?

At that point, I jokingly decided (and announced on my Facebook wall) that I planned on naming all of the designs in my new book after tomato varieties. ha! Drew Emborsky (you know him, right?) offered to model the beefsteak design. So funny. He’s so cute. Alas, as hard as I tried, with a list of 400+ tomato varieties, I couldn’t get much further than Valencia as a cute name for a design. I found a few others, but it just wasn’t the same. I, unfortunately, had to go in a different direction.

In the end, I decided to go with city names for all the designs in the book. And, how fun! The publisher kept the names. I kept Valencia for this design because it will always be a reminder of planning my garden and my book at the same time.

I did indeed grow the Valencia tomatoes. Unfortunately, it turns out that the orange-y tomatoes are a bit too acidic for my taste buds. But, my mother enjoyed them. :-)


Fingerless Mitts

Fingerless mitts. Hmmm….. So contradictory. Honestly, I didn’t get it. When it’s cold outside, my fingers are the coldest. Why on earth would I want fingerless mitts? But, they’re all the rage with the “kids”. It allows them to text while still maintaining a semblance of warmth.

Because of their popularity, I’ve designed some. Above are some quick-to-stitch mitts with a simple cable. This pattern is available in The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet, by Leisure Arts. I used Red Heart Mystic for the design. Just one skein. How cool is that? Just one skein to make a quick gift. I loved making them so much that I immediately grabbed another skein of yarn and made this pair in the same pattern. This time, Alpaca Love by Debbie Stoller’s Stitch Nation.

It was then that I realized that maybe I wasn’t giving these mitts my full appreciation. Honestly, one skein of yarn and just a little bit of time and I’ve got something that a lot of people, especially young people, are wearing all the time. It’s hard enough to find gifts for young people. And, here it is! So, I designed more.

These are the Lucia mitts, currently available at Kimane Designs. It was with this pair of mitts that I discovered that I could wear them even with my cold fingers.

I just put them over some store-bought gloves.

And they look great!

You know the kind of gloves you can get at the dollar store for $1? Wear the mitts on top of them for a really unique look. You step the gloves up a notch and it looks fantastic. So, I was really moving along now. Designing these mitts all over.

These are my Manchester Mitts from the soon-to-be available Tunisian Cables to Crochet.

And, this one is really hard to resist, isn’t it? The popular owl motif translated to Tunisian crochet, also available in Tunisian Cables to Crochet. This is just adorable!

And, I kid you not. If I found myself in a position to make some projects for craft fairs, you better believe I’d be making up lots and lots of fingerless mitts. They are wonderful to make. So quick. And, so wearable!


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. :-)


Playing with Swatches

Once every few months, I find it necessary to play with swatches. It’s something that has to be done in my design process for planning out new designs. I pool together lots of different yarns. Different colors. Different textures. Different hooks. And, I just play. No agenda. Just let go and create.

I had a bit of time in between deadlines so I planned a bit of swatching. I have a deadline for some writing, but I have some personal family worries right now that aren’t allowing my mind to settle enough in order to get it finished. So, I’ve been spending some time simply crocheting.

I have some gorgeous yarn I bought at Yarntopia in Katy, Texas when I was there for Drew’s book signing. The yarn is JoJoLand Melody. So beautiful. So soft. Blocks out beautifully. Alas, it turned out to be very difficult to use when making Tunisian cables. Maybe too soft? While I love the way it looks, I’ve decided to use this yarn later for something else equally scrumptious. And, I’ll try this swatch with a different yarn.

You may recognize this stitch pattern as the well-loved hugs and kisses cable from hand-knitting. This is the Tunisian crochet version of it.

Next up is this swatch made of Louisa Harding Mulbery. Talk about luxury! 100% silk. Blocks out like an absolute dream. I bought 10 balls of this yarn and quickly turned it into a project. Because when you’ve got a swatch like this, you simply *must* make something immediately. The project is finished and blocking now. I hope to get some photos of it in a few days, if it works out. I’m trying out an entirely new construction technique. (New to me, that is.) And, I’m not yet 100% certain that it’s going to work. I should know in a couple of days. But, according to my in-house design-barometer, my daughter Brianna, the design is going to be a big hit.

And, although this swatch looks like the typical drop stitch in hand-knit, it’s actually regular crochet. Simple stitches, with a regular crochet hook. More to follow as soon as I get all the technical details ready.


New Book: Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet

Please take a look at my newest book on Tunisian crochet. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet, published by Leisure Arts.

I was asked this morning about what Tunisian crochet stitches were included. After thinking about it, I decided to write a list of everything the book teaches in Tunisian crochet. There are things in this book not covered in any other book in my library and certainly not altogether in one place. So, here we go:

Stitches used throughout the book in tutorials and/or projects:
  • Foundation
  • Tunisian Simple Stitch
  • Tunisian Knit Stitch
  • Tunisian Purl Stitch
  • Tunisian Reverse Stitch
  • Tunisian Extended Stitch
  • Binding off in different stitches
  • Tunisian Drop Stitch
  • Reverse single crochet
  • Tunisian slipped stitch
  • Right- and left-leaning decreases
  • Increasing
  • Adding new ball of yarn or changing color
  • 2-color and 3-color techniques
  • Seaming, row-to-row
  • Seaming, stitch-to-stitch
  • Tips on gauge, counting rows and loose stitches
  • Making a tassel
  • Tutorial for hand felting
  • Short rows
Stitch patterns
  • Stockinette
  • Seed Stitch
  • Slip Stitch rib
  • Tunisian rib
  • 6-stitch left-leaning cable
  • Mitered angle
  • The bag stitch pattern is popular in hand-knitting, but I can’t remember the name now (I’m sure it will come to me later)
And, then it applies the things learned to the 9 projects, which are presented in the book in an appropriate order for learning. They move on in an order which makes it fun and easy to learn.
In the coming days, I hope to review the projects individually here, but for a preview, you can jump over to the Leisure Arts site to see photos of them. Enjoy!


New Design: Limerick Wrap

I realize that I’ve completely neglected this poor blog. I’ve been so busy. I just haven’t had a chance to update. But, this design. Well, it’s brought me out of hiding because I can’t wait to show you.

This design is one of the projects I did for a new book called “Tunisian Cables to Crochet” from Annie’s Publishing.

Wait. What? That’s crochet? Yes, indeed. It is crochet. And, it’s cables. And, it looks like knitting.

I’ve been asked why I design something in crochet which looks so much like knitting. After all, I know how to knit. I’ve been designing in knit. Here is an example of something I designed in handknit cables.

I know that there are a lot of you who don’t knit, but love the knit look. Tunisian crochet offers you the opportunity to get a true knit look without having to knit. But, there’s more. The Limerick Wrap, looking every bit like true knit cables, took me three days to stitch. The pink wrap (published in Creative Knitting, July 2010), which is true handknit, took me nine days. It doesn’t take much thought for me to determine which one I’d rather make when I’m in a gift-giving time crunch. :-)

Limerick is made in washable/dryable Red Heart Super Tweed, so you can be certain that it will look the same from the day you make it and many years to come.

The book will soon be available from Annie’s Publishing. Although you aren’t able to order it now, there is an email form on the website so that you can be notified the minute they have it in the warehouse. My blog post about the project is a bit premature. I would have preferred to post about it after it’s been published. But, I just couldn’t help myself. I was just so excited when I saw the pre-publishing information on the website.


New Design: Precious Baby Blanket

Yesterday, I noticed one of my new designs on the Red Heart website. (Who? Me? A Red Heart website stalker?)

The Precious Baby Blanket is knit with Red Heart Soft Baby Steps. My discovery of a wonderfully tidy double decrease in knitting is what led to this design. My double decreases were never very tidy looking. When I discovered this particular decrease, I was amazed and immediately wanted to use it in a design. It’s a gorgeous right- and left-leaning decrease.

I noticed that the chart wasn’t published with the pattern. Below is the chart I prepared with Excel. Click to enlarge.


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New Books In 2012

I have to admit that I am quite excited about the new books I completed in 2011. They are going to be terrific and I can’t wait for you to enjoy them this year. But, it’s a new year and new accomplishments are awaiting.

I’ve just committed to doing another book. Yay! Ordering yarn for the book has got to be the funnest part of the job. Having those boxes show up on your doorstep and opening up all the goodies is fantastic!

As I await the new yarn, I have a couple of projects to get out of the way, not the least of which is getting this house clean! It clears the mind and clears the palette, allowing me to get down to the work of designing. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it!

It’s the weekend and the house is quiet with both of the kids currently asleep. Time to get myself a cup of coffee and get to work!


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.


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 Designs: Huggable Baby

Red Heart has released a book of 15 knit and crochet designs, all made in super soft Baby Clouds yarn. With a bulky yarn like Baby Clouds, you can complete projects quickly. I have three designs in the book (shown below). You can see all of the designs at the Red Heart site here.

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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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