Book Review: Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley

Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley book review on Underground Crafter - coverI’m sharing a review of a new crochet pattern book by Karen Whooley. This book features 12 patterns (well, really 13) inspired by the beaches and shores of California and the West Coast of the United States.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley was provided to me by Occhi Blu Press. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

A few weeks ago, Karen stopped by for a guest post about crocheting with and caring for hand dyed yarns, so you won’t be surprised to hear that the designs in Coastal Crochet are made with hand dyed and small batch yarns by indie yarn companies. Not to worry if that isn’t in your budget, because there is a section on yarn substitution!

Coastal Crochet opens with a visual table of contents including large thumbnails of each design. It continues to Karen’s introduction, which shares her love of the coasts of California. Her tone is warm and conversational, and that continues throughout the book. In the Before You Get Started section, Karen discusses gauge, making yarn substitutions (and how that may impact the drape of the finished project and the yardage required), reading patterns (including international stitch symbols and US pattern abbreviations), and blocking, which is critical to the look of many of her lacy designs. All of the patterns in this book are made with lace and fingering (0 and 1) weight yarns. (If you’re new to working with thinner yarns, you can find helpful tips here.)

The book then dives into the patterns. There are:

  • Five shawls (no surprise, since Karen’s last book was A Garden of Shawls, reviewed here),
  • Four tops,
  • Two neckwarmers, and
  • One hat and one set of mitts.

There are actually 12 patterns, but two are part of a set so listed as one. Each pattern includes an introduction by Karen, finished measurements, a detailed materials list, information about gauge (including whether the measurements are before or after blocking), an explanation of any special stitches used in the pattern, notes, and directions. The patterns are written in US pattern abbreviations with international stitch symbol charts and schematics with detailed measurements of each section.

While there is no difficulty level listed in each pattern, Karen does mention that the book is designed for crocheters who have mastered the basic stitches. The book ends with acknowledgments and a resources section including links to all of the yarns used, as well as the hooks and notions Karen uses.

The pictures of the patterns, set against beautiful coastal backgrounds, are stunning and they definitely make you want to pick up your hooks and get started. All of the pictures feature the same model, which is helpful for understanding the relative ease of each pattern (such as which are form fitting and which are oversized) but more diversity in the models would have been nice. As with all pattern books, your enjoyment will be increased if there are lots of patterns you want to make. You can see all of the patterns here on the book’s Ravelry page.

My favorites are Shoreline

Shorline shawl from Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley

BeachsideBeachside shawl from Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooleyand Coastline, a “swoncho” style sweater.

Coastline sweater by Karen Whooley from Coastal CrochetIf you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate crocheter who likes to work with thinner yarns (or is comfortable experimenting with gauge and tension), you’re sure to find some beautiful women’s garments and accessories in Coastal Crochet!

You can find more books by Karen Whooley on Amazon.

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