Gray Days, Gray Yarn, Gray Shawl

One of the most impressive aspects of crochet is the way it can be used to focus the mind on a singular task, and thus, to push aside those all too constant unwanted thoughts. Sometimes what’s needed is a complicated, intricate stitch pattern for complete absorption. At other times there isn’t enough mental function left over from all the stressors to navigate any more complication so a simpler, rhythmical stitch pattern is the best. There are times when even crochet can’t help, they are indeed dark times.

Winter months tend to weigh heavier on me than do the warmer months, mostly because it was during the autumnal times when the bad things happened and the body has this way of remembering even when the mind thinks it’s forgotten. Sadness can be triggered by such small and seeming insignificant things, a fragrance, the way the light shines across the treeline, the colour blue, the hour of the day or night.

In need of another project, having completed that last big project, and the incidental Dish Cloths, Wash Cloths, Tea Towel Toppers and various mending bits I had been both catching up on, and distracting myself with, it became time for another project to occupy my mind and my hands. I kept returning to the the gray tweedy Bergere de France Initial Gris Clair in my stash.

I didn’t want a pattern that would be too challenging, but I also need to make garments that are useful to me, so it sometimes takes time to decide. Multiple searches through my favourite pattern designers ended with me choosing Mine Once More, a shawl pattern by Michele DuNaier that I have made before, so am familiar with. My arthritic hands didn’t want to deal with the fineness of the chosen yarn, so I assessed the amount I had, and needed, and working from two balls at the same time, worked with a thicker yarn than called for, but which would suit my purposes.

The pattern formed itself at the command of my hook and fingers, the drape of the fabric was adjusted by changing my hook size until everything just fell into place. The gray colour was perfect at soothing my over-anxious brain, the yarn amenable to being manoeuvred, and the pattern repeats just interesting enough to hold attention, yet easy enough, to be pleasant rather than problematic to work through.

I think it took a couple of weeks to finish, and being still cool enough I took every opportunity to wear it, with someone complimenting me on it at each outing.

There is something to be said for the softness and comfort that can be found in the gray days; they are neither oppressively dark, nor harshly bright, meaning one can move with greater ease and peacefulness.

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