Will I Crochet-Along or Won’t I?

Remember I told you I had to finish a shawl (that I will probably never wear) before starting a new crochet project?

Well, it’s done.

I blocked it on the floor over a yoga mat and a bath mat – as one does –

-then I gave it to my ‘me’ mannequin to model it for you as it was Sunday morning and I hadn’t yet bothered to get dressed and, while wearing a shawl over a floaty summer dress, jacket or coat might work, wearing one over a nightie would just make you look like an old lady so I didn’t even go there.

She may be ‘accessorised’ in this way for some time to come although I might wear it as a scarf.

I did try to put tassels on the three points for scarf wearing purposes but my hand made ones didn’t look right so they came off again.

Still, crochet shawl made, at least that’s another ‘project in my head’ that has come to fruition and a ball of relatively expensive yarn used instead of stored away and contributing to stash overload.

So, I was now free to start the Nature’s Walk crochet along designed by Cherry Heart and organised by Black Sheep Wools.

Eight squares a week doesn’t sound like much really but, when you have as many other non-crochet projects on the go as I do, I found myself struggling a bit.

I made the test swatch whilst waiting for the yarn to arrive as I had used Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn before so had a bit left.  I am obviously a loose crocheter because I have had to drop at least one recommended hook size depending on the square in order to obtain the correct size.  The test square had little hearts on it so I’m hoping to use that design later on in the blanket or in another project.

As this is called ‘Natures Walk’ and, with the colour of the yarn pack I bought being called ‘Wild Hedgerow’, the ‘nature’  theme for the squares is revealed as the patterns are released,

This one is called ‘Gates’ for which I had to drop down to a 2.5mm hook.

This one is ‘Butterflies’ which I managed with a 3mm.

If you bought your yarn pack from Black Sheep Wools they issue you with a bonus square each week so you do four of the ‘ordinary’ one and four of the bonus one.  There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who aren’t getting the bonus squares but I guess it’s a marketing ploy by BSW which is obviously working.  Although, the bonus squares will be released in January on Ravelry for free so patience will be rewarded.

The current week’s squares are called ‘Wheat’ and ‘Berries’ and, if I manage to get them all finished, I’ll show you those next time.  I bet you can hardly wait.

So, will I won’t I?  It doesn’t really matter does it?  Some people only crochet and don’t do dressmaking or quilting or other crafting so they can whizz along.  Some people are at work all day or are wrangling small children so simply haven’t got as much time as others might have.  Some people do housework.  Whether I manage to stick with the schedule or not – I’m enjoying learning new patterns and there are plenty of people still waiting for their yarn to arrive and haven’t even started yet so I won’t be alone if I lag behind.  Nobody’s waiting on me to finish and there are no prizes.  I refuse to feel pressured when there’s no need.

How do you feel about CALs, QALs, WhateverALs?  Do you like them? Do you feel incentivized or under pressure.  I must admit this is giving me a bit of a push to get on with it and not let it become a longtime WIP but I’m not going to let it stress me out.

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  1. #1 by knettycraft on October 7, 2019 - 08:23

    I’m not sur about CALs or KALs… if I have enough motivation or not doesn’t depent on a *AL. I feel no obligation to finish something. If I lose motivation I would leave the *AL.
    I often need pressure to finish a bigger knit or crochet work. So I like to do testknits where you have a real deadline an a kind of obligation because you testknit for the designer. In this way I finished 2 sweaters and a big shawl this year (while a simple pair of socks is sitting in a box since May 😆

    • #2 by tialys on October 7, 2019 - 08:49

      I have also left a CAL before because I was finding the pattern really difficult and I was falling behind so getting stressed about it. In the end, the yarn I had bought for it was easily transferable to another project I actually have fun doing so I did give up on that one although, like a book I’m not enjoying, I do find it difficult to admit defeat.
      Being a pattern tester must definitely be encouragement to finish and I’m sure the socks will get done one day when you’re ‘in the mood’. 🧦

  2. #3 by katechiconi on October 7, 2019 - 09:13

    I enjoyed the embroidery SALs for a long time, but then found I was experiencing a sense of obligation to get something done by the due date, which kind of spoiled it for me. I expect I’ll pick it up again some time when I’m not in my mad WIP-finishing phase. I don’t think I’ll ever participate in another kind of -AL because I so rarely make things to patterns designed by other people. The only deadlines I set myself these days are the Ovarian Cancer quilts and F2F.
    I do like these squares you’re making, they seem small enough to be manageable, the designs are very pretty and the colours are beautifully soft and organic.

    • #4 by tialys on October 7, 2019 - 10:51

      I think those two deadlines are plenty!
      I like these colours too – there is a slightly brighter one in the mix which is sort of mustardy and I’m looking forward to using that.

  3. #5 by claire93 on October 7, 2019 - 09:33

    the only *AL I really stick to is the xstitch SAL with Avis, but that’s because there are no set deadlines, no set projects, and it’s just a way of showing progress on whatever every 3 weeks. Without it, there would be times when I don’t xstitch at all these days.
    I knew when I first checked out this CAL info that I wouldn’t even try to keep up because 8 squares a week would mean I do nothing but crochet all the time – I must be slow compared to some crocheters. So I decided, from the start, just to save charts as they come out and do things at my own pace. I don’t have FB or other social media so won’t feel any of the pressure.
    Your squares all look lovely, and thanks for head up about maybe needing to go a hook smaller for the Gates.
    Your shawl looks very yummy. Last photo show all the gorgeous colour changes . . . and I can understand why you chose that yarn!

    • #6 by tialys on October 7, 2019 - 10:54

      It’s true that an ‘AL’ is a little ‘push’ to get you back in to something you don’t do that often or serves as a challenge to progress a bit. Like you, I hadn’t worked much with squares before and, although I’ve made blankets, they have been in rows rather than squares – apart from the Eastern Jewels one which was hexagons of course. So – there’s something different I’ve done thanks to the CAL plus I’m enjoying seeing the different designs you can make with basic crochet stitches.
      What size hook did you use to get the tension right in the heart test square and what yarn are you using?

      • #7 by claire93 on October 7, 2019 - 23:59

        I’m using Stylecraft Special DK. Used a 3.5mm hook for the heart square and it came out at 16cm before blocking. I will be careful when I do the Gates though, since with all those chains & holes, it’s likely to come out a tad bigger, so I’ll check after 4 rounds and use a smaller hook if necessary..

      • #8 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:41

        The chart is actual size so I’m using it to keep track by placing the crochet square on it as I go along. You probably knew that though.

  4. #9 by Dartmoor Yarns on October 7, 2019 - 11:44

    LOVE! the shawl. It’s gorgeous. Do hope you wear it. BTW I would like to see the look with the nightie – go on, you know you want to show us.
    We spotted your CAL blanket pack at craft for crafters the other week and thought of you. Eight squares a week does sound rather intense when one has a life.
    I’m not a CAL or a KAL person. That would mean me doing doing something someone else was telling me to do and you know I’m not good at that.

  5. #12 by tinaor on October 7, 2019 - 12:52

    The shawl’s pretty – though I am with you on the ‘would I wear one’ shelf. I love scarves and cowls but not so much shawls. The colours are wonderful, maybe you will grow into it. I love the new squares too – small hooks mind you! Am currently crocheting on 7mm so hoping mine will grow quickly, even amongst the 103 projects I have on sticks and hooks! Looking forward to seeing how you CAL progresses. Love the idea of a CAL or a KAL but can’t make myself join in. I just about keep up with my bookclub books and my crafting is always done in my own time.

    • #13 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 13:46

      I will wear it but only as a scarf.
      I’m finding out that I must be a loose crocheter as the recommended hooks are 3.5 and 4 I think but I’ve had to go down as low as 2.5mm for one or two of the designs so far. Maybe I should work on my tension. I don’t think I’ve ever used a hook as large as 7mm – what are you making?

      • #14 by tinaor on October 23, 2019 - 15:32

        Using a 2.5 would freak me out – not only because whatever I was crocheting would take forever but I am rubbish at locating my glasses so would squinting all the time as I tried to hook! 7mm one was for a chunky yarn for a lap blanket. I would usually go for a 6mm but to make it flop better the 7mm was best.

  6. #15 by KerryCan on October 7, 2019 - 13:36

    Will you really not wear the shawl? That would be a shame–it’s so very pretty! Nice to have it done, either way, and I’m sure your mannequin feels pretty, being all dressed up in it. I am not an “AL” gal. I’ve only done one and it turned out that having the deadline just strengthened my will to resist. Just an oppositional nature, I guess . . .

    • #16 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 13:44

      I am learning that quite a few of my readers have an oppositional nature – an interesting phrase but I wonder what it said on your school reports, or is this rebellious streak a more recent development?

      • #17 by KerryCan on October 9, 2019 - 13:52

        My school reports all said I talked too much! And I don’t see my oppositional nature as so much rebellious–it seems more passive-aggressive to me. Who am I hurting but, maybe, myself?!

      • #18 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 13:59

        Unsurprisingly, my reports said ‘inclined to chatter’ which was quite a polite way of putting it I suppose.

  7. #19 by nanacathy2 on October 7, 2019 - 14:59

    I think the shawl is lovely, and I think floaty dress and Mr T taking you out to dinner is needed just so you can wear it and show us. 8 blocks a week is a lot, especially in the crafty run up time to you know what begining with a C. I have done a CAL organised by a fellow blogger, we aimed for three blocks a week which was enough. I even managed to finish… No I don’t like having to work to someone else’s time line, because some days I just want to read or walk, never dust! I shall enjoy watching your progress and reading your final thoughts.

    • #20 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:58

      It’s true about the run up to C*******s. Once I’ve finished Mr. T’s shirt, I’m going to put everything else on hold and get on it. I usually only crochet or knit in the evenings as I find watching T.V. without doing something else at the same time annoying but, with this CAL, I’ve had to fit in a square or two at other times of the day in order to keep up. The jury’s out as to whether I’ll keep up the pace. Watch this space!

  8. #21 by Laurie Graves on October 7, 2019 - 15:28

    That’s the spirit! Creative projects should enhance your life, not drive you crazy.

    • #22 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:55

      Exactly – that’s why I don’t do cross stitch 🤣

  9. #23 by CurlsnSkirls on October 7, 2019 - 15:47

    Love this shawl and hope you find yourself tossing it over your shoulder or head many times. No. I do not work to someone else’s schedule these days. ‘Nuff’s e-nuff!

    • #24 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:54

      I am almost completely routine free these days – apart from dog and cat feeding/medicating and dog walking, tasks that stand still for no man – but, every now and again, it’s good to have a bit of discipline thrust upon me. Whether I put up with it for the whole CAL is another matter but at least I’ll have tried.

  10. #25 by thecontentedcrafter on October 7, 2019 - 19:37

    I like your shawl very much – it will make a fabulous big warm scarf for the cold days to come!! I have only done a couple of CAL’s one to use up some of my stash which I really enjoyed because it was only ever 5 or 6 rows a week and the second I went renegade on and completed to my own pattern as I found the person very hard to understand and follow as his instructions were often garbled. I’m not a fan of doing CAL’s that require me to purchase a particular brand of yarn either, so I don’t do ’em at all often. I do love a good pattern though and your various squares look very nice.

    • #26 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:52

      I only did this one because I had used the yarn before and knew I liked it. I’m having fun with the squares – even though one of them takes me two hours to crochet. I binge watched a whole series on Netflix last night to keep me going.

      • #27 by thecontentedcrafter on October 9, 2019 - 19:58

        Do tell – I’ll be looking for a new series to binge on soon enough……..

      • #28 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 20:22

        Well, the only light and fluffy (a necessity whilst crocheting) ones I’ve been watching are not available on Netflix NZ. Two are very British and one U.S. The only one I can see available on Netflix NZ that I’m finding quite amusing, featuring quite monstrous people but with good hearts is ‘Schitts Creek’.

      • #29 by thecontentedcrafter on October 9, 2019 - 20:32

        I do like my British series – I recently binged on Doc Martin and loved it – now I’m doing Jane the Virgin…….. I’ll have a hunt for the creek. I’m not sure why, but we tend to be considered ready to watch only the older stuff by Netflix……. And yes it has to be lightish to allow for keeping the pattern straight 🙂

  11. #30 by Emmely on October 7, 2019 - 19:42

    I’ve never done an anything along. My schedule just doesn’t work like that and I prefer to choose whatever I want to work on without any pressure or guilt that I should be working on something every week. (yes, stupid to feel guilty about something like this but I might)

    • #31 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:50

      I would never have done it when my children were young so I completely get it.

  12. #32 by magpiesue on October 7, 2019 - 20:16

    I like the Stitch Along that Avis and Claire host because, like Claire said, it makes me at least try to get some stitching done that might otherwise not happen. But I get to work on whatever project suits my fancy at the time. Like Kate, I’d rather do my own patterns and things than follow someone else’s directions. Still, there’s a place for learning new patterns and techniques through a *AL. Meanwhile, I’m embracing being an old woman. I wear shawls nearly all winter long, courtesy of my sister’s knitting. In our cool, damp climate I find them just the thing to stay warm without being too warm. 🙂

    • #33 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:48

      The reason I do the F2F quilt with Kate is so that I can keep my hand in with patchwork – left to my own devices I would make very simple quilts.

      I refuse to embrace the old woman inside me struggling to get out and, if I wear it at all, the shawl will be worn as a scarf and only outside. (Having a husband who is younger than you is a good incentive)

  13. #34 by Kim on October 7, 2019 - 20:22

    I love the idea of an *AL but I don’t seem to have the fibre to stick with. You appear to have made a good start 👍

    • #35 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:43

      I don’t do them very often but I was just ‘in the right mood’ when I saw this one come up and bought the yarn pack on impulse.

  14. #36 by craftycreeky on October 7, 2019 - 21:02

    Your shawl is beautiful 🙂 Eight squares sounds a huge amount to me!! It looks gorgeous though, I do like a good stitch-a-long.

    • #37 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:42

      Eight squares didn’t sound much to me to start with but I’m not that speedy a crocheter and one of the more complex ones takes me a couple of hours to complete so I have found myself striving hard to keep up again this week.

  15. #38 by kathyreeves on October 8, 2019 - 05:17

    I have enjoyed the Block of the month or week groups that I have participated in; but I don’t worry about staying on the schedule. I do find that i am more motivated to finish those in a somewhat timely fashion, which for me is a good thing!

    • #39 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 09:39

      Yes, I do like the added motivation and feel that, without it, I would take much longer to do this project which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but sometimes you just don’ want another WIP hanging around.

  16. #41 by Beads and Barnacles on October 9, 2019 - 12:10

    Hmm I have never really entered a *AL except a few of the all summer outfit alongs and they are a loose enough time scale that I don’t feel the pressure but it’s there just enough to give me the kick up the butt to get it done.
    Don’t stress out about it, you never know in a few weeks when you have a number of blocks to catch up on you might just have a nice shot of time to dedicate to it. This is one of the down sides to a *AL where they are released in steps for me. My time is so sporadic that if I have extra time at the beginning I can’t take advantage of it because the blocks haven’t been released yet…

    • #42 by tialys on October 9, 2019 - 13:03

      You’ve made a very good point about the disadvantage of the patterns being released in steps. Most people’s time isn’t organised tidily and, as you say, there’ll usually be times when you can do more than others. On the other side of the coin, I notice some people on this CAL are fretting because they have already finished this week’s blocks – WHAT? – and want to move on to the next but can’t because the patterns aren’t released yet. You can’t please everybody I suppose.

      • #43 by Beads and Barnacles on October 9, 2019 - 14:05

        Lol no you can never please people. But I would feed be one of those people that just wants to get it finished 😂 but then again that’s probably why that kind of thing doesn’t appeal to me

  17. #44 by Born To Organize on October 11, 2019 - 02:33

    I live vicariously through you. My only “commitment” and even that is sketchy, is Kate’s ScrapHappy theme. I like the free license to do what I want, but with a skosh of pressure and wanting to join in on the phone. I have a mental list a mile long of things I might like to do one day, but for now, my volunteer work is all-consuming (in a good way), but consuming nonetheless. My husband is younger than me too, and as I just turned 60 the 2.5-year difference sounds more substantial than it is. Your shawl/scarf is lovely. I would wear it around my shoulders in the evening in bed or while watching TV. I’m glad it is​ done so you can pursue your next endeavor

    • #45 by tialys on October 11, 2019 - 08:47

      Alys, you do amazing work for your community and you obviously enjoy it too. I could do more ‘hands on’ stuff for the dog refuges I support I suppose but my preferred method is to make things and sell them to raise funds – I feel more in control that way. A little bit of pressure to get something done is probably good for me really. I sometimes feel guilty that, the more time I have, the more I seem to expand into it and the less disciplined I am so ‘waste’ too much of it. My youngest daughter has recently left to live in the U.K. so I am adjusting to being alone much of the time and trying to avoid talking to the dogs and cats as if they were people. I sometimes think about when I was working full time, or when the girls were small, how much I could fit into one day and now I float about taking my time to do things and trying to organise appointments and things so I only have one on any given day. All this while Mr. Tialys is commuting between here and the U.K. and working hard to support me in my leisure time. Ah well, there have to be some advantages to getting older don’t there?

  18. #46 by dezertsuz on October 16, 2019 - 02:29

    QAL, sometimes I go one way and sometimes the other. If I do them, things tend to get done more or less on time. Usually. But sometimes I don’t like a part that comes out. Your crochet is lovely, the shawl wonderful color changes. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to wear that. It’s beautiful!

  19. #47 by dezertsuz on October 16, 2019 - 02:31

    P. S. I don’t think of shawls as old-lady things. I wore them when young, and I wear them now. I just like warm and pretty together!

    • #48 by tialys on October 17, 2019 - 10:33

      I know – it’s a bit like hats – I like them on other people but don’t feel comfortable wearing them myself.

  20. #49 by quietwatercraft on December 2, 2019 - 14:27

    I’ve only tried one CAL so far, and I must say it rather stressed me out. I’m willing to give them another chance though.

    • #50 by tialys on December 2, 2019 - 15:12

      Well, I’ve literally just finished joining the 48 squares together so that makes me about 4 weeks behind the official finish of the CAL. I fell behind by one week when I was making the squares but, by then, I knew I’d done enough to mean I would actually finish the thing – albeit in my own time. It worked quite well for me because it encouraged me to do more crochet in the week than I would normally do and the Facebook Group was helpful. Just got the border to do now but it looks like a big and quite busy one so whether it will be done this side of Christmas is anybody’s guess.

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