What Are These Crochet Alongs all about?! What is a CAL?

My first (and maybe only!) entry into the Granny CAL 2018

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.

This is a spin off blanket from Cherry Heart’s Spice of Life CAL from 2016. This is Spicier Life!

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 2018Also, have a look below for a few that are happening right now!

The Three Springs Shawl was entered into Addydae Design’s Accessories CAL last summer.

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!

My failed Winter Wonderland CAL attempt – this is still UFO so not the greatest example!!

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!

A couple of squares for Lottie & Albert’s Squares for Grace.

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:

What do you think of CALs? Have you taken part in one? A couple? Loooaads?! Let me know your thoughts. X

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18 thoughts on “What Are These Crochet Alongs all about?! What is a CAL?

  1. This is a lovely article Rosina. I have to admit I joined my first CAL because it offered a variety of Tunisian crochet stitches I had never tried before (and bonus – I won a set of interchangeable Tunisian hooks in that CAL!) One thing your article didn’t address however is that they can be addicting! I am presently joined in at least 6 different CALs at the moment only two of which am I using the same project (commonly called double dipping). Admittedly I have negligible self-control and cannot say no. Hahaha!

    1. Thank you!!
      Wahoo for winning a prize! How exciting! And it’s great motivation for learning Tunisian crochet too. I should probably do a bit more of that, it’s been over a year since I tried any. I kept forgetting that it wasn’t normal crochet and kept slipping into crochet autopilot!
      Six!? That’s loads! I forgot to mention double dipping in the article (and triple dipping etc)! 😀

  2. I have watched all the CALs happening via blog, IG or YouTube and have thought at times that it would be nice to do but it was the GrannyCAL that sparked me off. I just had to do it. I love the basic granny square anyway and had a stash of acrylic so it was easy and didn’t involve any effort and it was such ‘comfort crochet’ to do. I haven’t been very good at the Ravelry threads or anything but I love seeing the pictures pop up on IG. I have commented on your YouTube channel etc that I was so happy that you did this and now it’s nearing the end, I feel inspired to try some others so thank you from a CAL virgin!!

    1. Hurray for the granny, I’m glad it convinced you to try a CAL!!
      I too had seen a lot of different ones about the place before I joined in my first.
      I can’t believe there’s only a week left. Where did the time go?! 😀

    1. I go through phases. Sometimes I say I’m gonna join in but fail miserably. If it fits in with what I was going to do anyway, then that’s always a bonus! 😀 😀

    1. No worries. You’re welcome! I doubt you’ll see the numbers that you’ve sent my way but I’m happy to spread the word!!
      I think more people are happy to join in online these days. We used to be a suspicious lot but now it’s kinda normal! 😀

  3. Hi Rosina, well I was another CAL/KAL virgin but decided to try your granny CAL, which I actually managed to post on to IG. Not much of a user with Ravelry unless I’m looking at patterns and I just could not fathom out how on earth to post a pic on there so gave up on that one.
    I did find the CAL motivated me which was great and I love looking at what others have posted on IG. Loving your podcasts on Youtube, definitely one of my favourite podcasters. 🙂

    1. Ravelry can be really frustrating. I don’t know anyone who thinks it’s easy!!
      I’m so chuffed that you chose to join in the granny CAL as your first go.
      Thank you so much! xx

  4. Never heard of it what a great idea. Crafting and crochet can be solitary crafts..but the Internet has changed all that! 💞

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