I’m hosting a Crochet Along at the minute and it has got me thinking. It’s easy to assume that every crocheter/maker knows exactly what a CAL is but it turns out that’s not the case at all. Since the beginning of the “great” Granny CAL of 2018 I’ve had a fair few folk ask me what it’s all about and I thought a more in depth look would make a pretty good blog post. Soooo…
What is a CAL?
The acronym CAL means Crochet Along, just as KAL is Knit Along and MAL is Make Along. Whatever kind of Along it is, it’s usually a themed virtual get together where everyone makes the same thing. For fun.
The CAL I’m hosting is the Granny CAL and the idea is to crochet something in the granny stitch. That’s all. Nowt tricky. However, there can be loads of different sorts and loads of different reasons why a CAL pops up. Let’s have a look.
The biggest element of a CAL I’ve discovered is the community. Joining in CALs really got me chatting away to other crafty people online and I’ve made new friends by taking part. I admit that this didn’t even occur to me when I first entered my finished crochet items on Ravelry. To be honest I just wanted to show off my new stuff and be in with the chance of winning a prize!! The social side was an unexpected perk but now it’s one of the main draws. I now know there’s not much chance of getting a prize (CALs are mighty popular and get super busy) but I’m genuinely not fussed about that. The sharing of ideas, as well as tips and tricks brings a disparate bunch of enthusiasts together, enriching what can be a quiet and solitary hobby. In other words, it’s loads of fun hanging out with your crochet mates!
There are lots of different platforms you can choose to hang out on. I’ve seen CALs hosted on Facebook and Instagram whilst I mainly find them on Ravelry. Check out this thread from The Crochet Circle Podcast which lists the CALs happening in 2018. Also, have a look below for a few that are happening right now!
It’s an opportunity to try something new too. Perhaps you’re not crazy about handmade socks but don’t want to dismiss them. Why not try making them with others in a sock along? Maybe their positivity will rub off on you! Want to make a snazzy shawl but not that confident? Join in the chat and you’ll be helped and supported by people all over the world! A CAL (not to mention the people participating) can give you focus and encouragement so you can achieve your goal without the energy wearing off.
There are other benefits too. It might be that the pattern or colour palette is picked for you so it removes the pressure of working out those details (that’s one of my favourite things to do but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea). And let’s not forget the potential for a prize or two!
There are also many reasons why people host CALs. In my case, the idea popped into my head one day, maybe I was just jumping on the bandwagon but a seed was planted. When I mentioned it on an episode of the Z&R Crochet podcast, there was such a wonderfully positive response that it would have been silly not to do it. The most important aspect was that it had to be fun and easy, with no pressure to buy a pattern or any extra yarn if you didn’t need to, the granny is the perfect stash buster after all!
It is also a fabulous way to raise money for charity. The host asks lots of people to contribute a small piece of crochet to make up one impressive, giant project. And then there’s the publicity angle. What a great marketing strategy for advertising a new yarn, or pattern release. Whatever the motivation, every single time, it enables people to come together to do what they enjoy and there isn’t much wrong with that.
I don’t think CALs are going anywhere. Here are just a small handful that are happening at the moment:
- The Fortune Cookie CAL by Crochet Luna, grab a fortune cookie, crack it open and use the saying as inspiration for you project.
- Coastal Crochet’s Seaside Stash busting CAL, a gentle paced blanket, taking place over the next few months,
- Fays’ Different Desginer CAL, choose a designer whose patterns you’ve never used before.
- The Knitted Knocker CAL, hook up some breasts for women who’ve had mastectomies.
What do you think of CALs? Have you taken part in one? A couple? Loooaads?! Let me know your thoughts. X