Never let it be said that I don't try to run before I can walk. Fact is, I'm not much good at being a learner, which is why I tend to aim well above myself, often failing more often than I succeed. But, thankfully, this is only crochet, not some life or death situation, so failing really isn't a problem. It just means a few wasted hours of your life (all unpicked in seconds) and maybe a few soft, silent tears.
Since I was finding it impossible to match the free slouchy shrug pattern's gauge no matter which hook I used (turns out I'm not the only one - someone on Crafster said the same), I decided just to make a pattern up instead. I've got a baggy (knitted) shrug that I bought from Zara and, on inspection, it turned out to be a very simple rectangle-based shape stitched together. With that, and with the aid of the excellent Fluggy Pink Shrug Schematics on Crochetville, I dreamt up a pattern that I was convinced would work.
Only slight problem is, I think the lovely Rowan cotton I bought is just going to make it a bit too stiff. I got quite far up on arm before I decided that a softer, floppier yarn will work much better. It's a pain because buying online doesn't really give you an idea of what the wool will be like, but wool shops in London are very hard to come by - unless you want hand-dyed wool, spun by blind virgins in Wales, and then John Lewis can certainly help you. Lovely as that may be, if I buy enough of that to make a big slouchy jumper with, I'm going to be crocheting it out on the streets, with only a can of Gold Label and a dog on a bit of string for company.
PS. I like the little bit of sweater stitch I did at the cuffs end.