I am going to record my progress with the Scheepjes 2016 CAL in memory of the designer Wink a creativebeing who sadly took her own life after lifelong suffering from depression last year. Wink was working on the concept of “last dance on the beach” before she died and her friends and fellow bloggers decided to finish the project in her memory with Scheepjes the Dutch yarn manufacturer. This CAL ( crochet -a-long) is huge with a massive Facebook group working on the CAL.The Last dance on the beach theme has been designed in three colourways, last dance in the rain, last dance in the sea and last dance under the stars and Scheepjes have produced kits for each of the themes in a luxury “Merino soft” yarn (retails about £104) and an acrylic “ColourCrafter” (retails about£33.95) choice to suit every type of pocket. The merino soft luxury kit came with some lovely extras, a Scheepjes beach bag, decorative scissors, a sachet of Eucalan, stitch markers, a scheepjes button and a label for the blanket, the acrylic pack comes with just the blanket label both yarns are absolutely gorgeous for the type they are – the merino is soooo soft and a dream to work with, and the acrylic ColourCrafter is also beautifully soft for a budget acrylic. In addition 2 euros is being donated to the MIND charity by Scheepjes for every kit purchased ( whichever type)
I decided to purchase 2 of the kits, one merino soft kit in the dance under the stars colour way for myself and one ColourCrafter kit in the dance in the sea theme for my youngest son. each week the pattern for one square of the blanket is released on the group Facebook page and on the Scheepjes website, it is also on the blogs of many of the designers involved, as well as written patterns one of the bloggers Esther Dijkstra provides excellent videos to show you how to create the square which enables beginners and more experienced crocheters alike to make this beautiful blanket.
Scheepjes have recommended the use of a gauge square with this project as due to the number of different designers on the squares the tension can vary significantly. The size for the merino squares is 19 x 19cm and the ColourCrafter squares are 18 x 18 cms, the merino soft blanket will be be larger on completion. I had to go up to 5.5mm hook from the suggested 4.5 mm for my merino and up to 5 mm from the 4mm suggested for the ColourCrafter
The square for the first week (starting 20th April) was designed by Esther from www.happyinred.blogspot.nl and is a gorgeous fun popcorn stitch design which evokes thoughts of seaweed/ kelp found on the beach. the merino soft (Stars) colour is Matisse 635 and the ColourCrafter colour is Almelo 1316. The pattern was straightforward and fun to work on, some crocheters in the Facebook group had issues that the design was not symmetrical, personally I didn’t see the issue as I’ve never seen symmetrical seaweed 🙂 I used a 5.5mm hook for the merino yarn and a 4.5mm for the ColourCrafter acrylic.
Blocking for the squares is recommended by the designers, I tend to wet block anyway as it improves the drape and lie of the fabric you create. Unusually they also recommended blocking of the acrylic ColourCrafter as well, I did this as well – and I have to say it also improved the feel and drape of the acrylic square, I didn’t need to block to make my squares bigger because they were fairly spot on so I don’t how the acrylic would have responded to stretching.
Thoroughly enjoyed my first week of the CAL I think Scheepjes and the designers have done a great job on the project so far and their patience in moderating the huge Facebook group is to be admired.