Skimming Stones MCAL - Advice on Choosing Yarn

At the time of writing and publishing this advice the yarn choices and tension for the mystery pattern has been revealed but the shape and pattern haven't. This article doesn't contain any spoilers (I hope!!).


The yarns I chose for the project

I used the beautiful Carlisle fingering yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns for this shawl, it is soft, bouncy and light with a very slight soft halo to it. The colours I picked are quite muted floral pastel semi-solid tones that Victoria is best known for dying. Victoria is one of the very few people who has seen the shawl so that she could put together some packs that she felt would work well with the pattern. You can find these here.


The yarns I used are as follows:

1 100g skein Eden Cottage Yarns Carlisle Fingering (4ply weight, 100% superwash merino singles, 100g/400m/436yds) in Thunder (Col A)

4 20g skeins Eden Cottage Yarns Carlisle Fingering Minis (4ply weight, 100% superwash merino singles, 20g/80m/87yds) one each in

Wild Raspberry (Col B)

Dusk (Col C)

Pennine Mist (Col D)

Steel (Col E)


The shawl works to this tension:

21 sts and 12 rows in alternating rows of tr in BLO and dc to 10cm/4in using 4mm hook (or size needed to obtain tension)

(UK terminology is used throughout)


As usual, I did not use the entire skein of each to allow for variations in crochet technique and slight tension difference to try and make sure that yarn doesn't run out before the shawl is completed. Do check your tension as anything more than a small difference could mean you use a different amount of yarn.


Substituting to a different yarn

Weight substitution

We have used a 4ply yarn (also known as sock, fingering or Super Fine (1) in various parts of the world) You could use a different weight but this will change the finished size, the hook size used , the tension required and the yarn amounts required so we don't entirely recommend it and can't support it - ie we won't be making yardage or size calculations for you – enter at your own risk.


Fibre Substitutions

All of the yarn packs use wool bases. It may be that you don't like wool or can't work with it. If changing to a different fibre remember that different fibres respond differently in wear and use as well as when working. Cottons can be heavy and grow in length during wear. Try and choose an alternative that behaves as much like wool as possible. Certain acrylics and bamboo or cotton blends can be good choices. Something like Scheepjes Stonewash would be a good non wool option with great colour choices.


Colour substitutions

When making colour choices you may find it useful to know the ways the colours are paired. In the pattern B is always paired with C and D is always paired with E, B/C and D/E are normally broken up by the main colour but there are points in the pattern where B is next to E and C is next to D.

This pattern would look great in bold or saturated colours and will give a really different effect.

The pattern was designed for a solid or a semi-solid yarn. If you would like to use a speckled or a variagated yarn then I think the fewer colours and the lower contrast the better. However it is a matter of personal taste. I would suggest swatching the yarn in the pattern specified for the tension to see if you like the effect before making a final decision.


Ideas for working with fewer colours

To keep costs down and make the project more affordable we have offered some pack options for working with three colours (The milburn has 50g per ball so one ball can replace two mini-skeins).

You may also be stash busting and only have a few colours you would like to combine.


If you want to use three colours you have a couple of choices.

Option 1: Col A (100g), col B/C (40g) and col D/E (40g)


Option 2: Col A (100g) B/D (40g) C/E (40g)


Option 1 will give you fewer ends to deal with but Option 2 retains a level of detail that is lost in Option 1.


If you wanted to use just two colours then you could replace all the mini-skeins with a single 100g skein, you will loose some level of detail but it will still be a beautiful shawl. I wouldn't recommend using a single colour or a single gradient ball though as too much of the detail will be lost.


Top tip: If you are using fewer colours, when you are told to break a colour, check what you are using next to make sure you need to.


Ideas for working with more colours

If you have a large pile of small ball ends from other projects or you've chosen a set of smaller mini-skeins of 10g or 5g you could use them randomly in place of B,C, D and E or you could divide them into B, C, D, and E groups and alternate them each time the colour is called for.



Remember, with all yarn substitutions, make sure it has the same yardage and crochets to the same tension to avoid running out of yarn before the end of the shawl. Your tension swatch will also make sure that you like the yarn in the pattern and the drape of the yarn is right for a shawl (the swatch should not be stiff, it should flow freely in movement to make a good shawl)


I hope this has given you some ideas and sparked some creativity without giving too much away!

We look forward to seeing your yarn choices on your ravelry project pages, on instagram (#skimmingstonesmcal) and in our facebook group

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