Established crochet designer Karen Whooley has a new crochet book to delight us. A Garden of Shawls is a beautiful self-published book of one dozen lace crochet shawl patterns. They will help you fall in love with lace crochet, if you’re not already, although the patterns can be adjusted for working with thicker yarns should that be your preference. Head to the bottom of this post for some information on pre-orders and giveaways!
About Garden of Shawls Crochet Book
Of course, you might want to know more about the book itself. Here are some great features to consider:
- These are all lace crochet shawl designs, perfect for spring.
- The yarns are lace weight to fingering weight and have all been sourced from indie hand-dyers.
- Prefer working with thicker yarn? The book offers tips for adjusting the designs accordingly.
- The crochet patterns in this book all use simple stitches; beginners can work these shawls. “Each pattern includes charts, a special stitches section, as well as written text to help the crafter work easily and comfortably through the pattern.“
- From the press release (and I’d agree): “Written with Karen’s exceptional eye for detail, the book has a lovely variety of styles, shapes and designs to choose from, and Karen’s easygoing, down-to-earth approach will have you creating a whole collection of beautiful shawls in no time!“
Interview with the Author
I asked Karen if she could tell us more about her work as a designer, how it might have changed over the years and how this book differs from those she’s already published. Here’s what she had to say:
“I’ve considered myself a “designer” since 1998 when I sold my first design to the then Annie’s Attic for one of their crochet magazines. But I have been a designer from the start.
I learned to crochet in the summer of 1974 at the age of 7. My Nonna did not speak English nor could she read a crochet pattern written in English, so when we wanted to make a pattern we purchased the magnifying glass would come out and we would reverse engineer the pattern from the picture. Of course it never came out exactly the way it was in the pattern so even after I learned to read patterns in my teens I always changed things up and made them look the way I wanted them to.
What a lot of people don’t know about me is that when I learned to crochet, I learned all my basic stitches in one afternoon. I made a swatch that we used to cover a coat hanger (which my mom still has) and all the stitches from chain to triple crochet were covered in it. But the next time I saw her, a week or so later, I was given a size 6 steel hook and size 10 crochet cotton and I learned Italian lace – word of mouth. For 5 years at least that is all I did as far as learning is concerned. So imagine how a 7-12 year old felt about that! I stopped doing lace work for a long period of time because it felt like drudgery.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago, I learned to love my laces again. But the one thing that I had realized about my design work was that I was using that knowledge in lace in other types of crochet design. I got a hold of some lace weight yarn and fell in love again. Now if you look at my stash, I am all about the fingering and the lace weight. But the crochet world seems to do less in those weights these days and more in DK, worsted and bulky. I decided at that point to bring back my roots and help the world fall in love with crocheted lace again.
In my book, A Garden of Shawls, I am doing two things. The first is taking all that knowledge that my Nonna gave me all those years ago and bring some of it back into my life and send it out into the world. I am taking what I learned, making it more modern and fresh and giving it to you. I want that part of my own knowledge and lifetime learning to inspire! And for crocheters to learn to love the fine work again.
But I know from my years as a crochet instructor that not everyone likes the fine lace and fingering weights that I used in the book. Some hands cannot use that small weight successfully. In the book there is a section about using heavier weights. Starting in April, I will have some YouTube videos fleshing out some of the techniques to help you learn what nifty new things I am doing as well as teaching you how to convert them to heavier yarns and to customize the size of the shawls to work with what yarn and gauge you are working with.”
Pre-Order Garden of Shawls Crochet Book
You can pre-order the book now for its official release date of 4/4/17 and there are some great benefits to doing so. You can purchase the print book + ebook or the ebook alone. The first 50 print book orders will receive a special goody bag that includes mini skeins of yarn, stitch markers, online class discount codes and more. Additionally the author is doing a special USA-based drawing for anyone who pre-orders a print copy; 8 drawing winners will get a project bag with enough yarn to complete one of the shawls in the book. Karen says, “Each print book order through 3/31/2017 gets one
entry into the drawing. Winners will be announced on 4/5/2017 and the kit will ship with their print book order.” Giveaway details here.
Photographer Credit for this book: Anne Podlesak. See all 12 crochet patterns on Ravelry.