Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Little by Little - my new Mindful Project - Skimming Stones Crochet-a-long

It's been rather a long time since I last posted. Where are the weeks going? They're flying by. I've been up to so much and yet I haven't shared it with you, so I thought I'd make a start by sharing my latest mindful crochet project. It's the Skimming Stones Mcal (Mystery Crochet-a-long) by the incredibly talented and lovely Kat Goldin and Joanne Scrace, jointly known as The Crochet Project. Yet again, Joanne has surpassed expectations with her latest shawl design. It's looking beautiful, don't you think. It reminds me of a dragon's tail.

I'm amazed that I have kept up with week one, but I have been using this project as my daily mindful crochet exercise. Each day, for about 20 minutes I take out my Skimming Stones Shawl and work a few rows (usually at lunch time when my brain is hurting from too much tech editing and book editing). Sitting out in the garden and focussing on the stitch pattern and noting the birds tweeting is a joy. I feel the soft and woolly yarn between my fingers as I work, and the repetitive nature of the treble and double crochet stitches helps me to focus solely on the moment, and stop worrying about whether I'll meet my deadlines for the week. As my heart rate slows down, I eventually feel relaxed and refreshed, ready to tackle my afternoon's work. Perfect. I'm really feeling the benefit of my daily mindful knitting and crochet sessions.

I was intending to use stash for this crochet-along, because I'm following my 'use it or lose it' campaign, which means that my yarny purchases this year have been very limited. In fact, I have only bought a few skeins and balls of yarn, including this calming and pretty yarn pack from Victoria at Eden Cottage Yarns

For a very long time, I've been intending to use Victoria's hand dyed yarn in my designs and projects, so I'm happy to be fulfilling this aim. Everytime I see Victoria and her amazing stand at yarn shows, I'm reminded of the beautiful colours she creates. Her Nateby 4ply is so soft (75% extrafine merino wool, 20% nylon, 5% silver lurex) and the colour scheme is serene and calming. I can see a pair of socks and more shawls being made with this. The generous 400m per 100g is perfect for one-skein shawls.

My little stitch marker was part of a swap organised by Louise Hunt at Caithness Crafts. We had to send a set of stitch markers and a hand-written letter to our swap partner, and I really enjoyed reading the letter I received. This stitch marker is light-weight and doesn't tug on my stitches (which is one reason why I usually avoid stitch markers), so it's perfect. I  confess, however, that I feel I failed my swap partner as my letter wasn't very long, so I intend to surprise her with a follow-up soon.

I made a few little personal tweaks as I crocheted my shawl, which I have listed here, in case you're about to start:

1. Instead of working 3ch at the beginning of the treble rows, I only worked 2ch. This is because my 3ch were a little loose, and therefore created a little bump at the edges, but when I worked 2ch I managed a nice, neat edge. This is a personal tweak and will really depend on your tension.

2. After every double crochet row, I placed my stitch marker in the top of the centre stitch, just so that I was absolutely sure where to work the central spine. I tried without a stitch marker and I went wrong and had to frog quite a few rows, so I'd definitely recommend using a stitch marker, as instructed in the pattern.

3. I carried Yarn A as follows: I changed colour at the last yarn round hook of the last double crochet in Yarn A, by wrapping both old and new colours round my hook and pulling BOTH  colours through. Then I made the beginning chain of next row with both colours of yarn held together. Then I dropped Yarn A, to continue with the new colour. This meant that when I switched back to Yarn A after 2 rows, Yarn A is closer to the base of  my hook and at the top of the treble stitch, rather than sitting at the base of the treble stitch (which would result in a short, vertical strand of Yarn A being created across the back of the last 2 rows). I hope that makes sense. Even though you are using the yarn double for the beginning chain, it isn't noticeable.

I'm off to download part 2 of the pattern and keep my fingers and toes crossed that I can keep up.

I'd love to hear how you're getting on with your Skimming Stones cal if you're joining in too and I hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

Are you using up your stash? If you would like to share your makes you can join my informal Ravelry group. Click here to join the group.

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Happy Crafting, Lynne x