Tag Archives: crochet guild of america

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: How to Find and Join Your First (or Next) Crochet-a-Long

How to Find and Join Your First (or Next) Crochet-a-Long on Underground Crafter #Crochet #TipsTuesdayThere’s something about a crochet-a-long that makes it fun and easy to learn new things and actually finish projects. In today’s post, I’m sharing six ways to find your next crochet-a-long, and tips for joining in and having a great time.

This post contains affiliate links.

But first, what’s a crochet-a-long, anyway?

A crochet-a-long is a way of joining together with other crocheters to work on the same (or a similar) project. Crochet-a-longs are often abbreviated as CAL, and are also sometimes called make-a-longs (MAL). Mystery crochet-a-longs, where the complete project is revealed in stages, are abbreviated as MCALs.

CALs can take place “in real life” with a group of crocheters meeting up regularly to work on the project, or online with participants meeting up virtually.

Most CALs are for a specific pattern, but they can also be organized around a particular type of project (like crocheting your first garment), a charity drive (like crocheting hats for a local homeless shelter), a goal (like stashbusting), or the work of a particular designer.

Some CALs are ongoing and people can join in at any time. But others are time limited, and participants who join and/or finish projects by a specific date are eligible to enter giveaways for awesome prizes. (At least, those are my favorite types of CALs!)

By participating in CALs, crocheters can make new friends, ask questions in a supportive environment, and see some amazing crochet projects come to life. (And, don’t forget the potential prizes!)


6 Ways to Find Your First (or Next) CAL

If a crochet-a-long sounds fun to you, here are six places you can look for a CAL to join.

On Ravelry

Ravelry is my favorite place to look for online crochet-a-longs. Membership is required, but it’s free to join.

How to find your first or next crochet-a-long on Underground Crafter 1

On Facebook

Another great way to find online CALs is through Facebook.

Through Your Favorite Designers and Bloggers

Many designers and crochet bloggers routinely host crochet-a-longs.

On Pinterest

In addition to being a great source of “eye candy,” Pinterest is also a great search engine! Search for “crochet a long YEAR” and you’ll find some exciting pictures leading you to CAL announcements.

How to find your first or next crochet-a-long on Underground Crafter

My search results for “crochet a long 2016” on Pinterest.

At Your Local Yarn Shop

Local yarn shops are wonderful places for finding crochet-a-longs in your community. Stop by the shop or call and ask if any CALs are going on or planned in the shop. You may even find that the shop owner is willing to host your crochet group during your crochet-a-long if you buy your yarn for the projects in the store.

Through Your Local CGOA Chapter

You may have a local chapter of the Crochet Guild of America in your area. If you’re not sure if there’s one nearby, check out the CGOA Local Chapter List. You can also join the Cyber (online) Chapter or start your own! CGOA chapters often host crochet-a-longs.

How to join a crochet-a-long

Once you’ve found the right crochet-a-long for you, how do you join?

  • Some CALs are formal and you’ll need to sign up, while others are more casual and you pop in and out. Some CALs are free and others are paid. Typically, paid CALs require the purchase of a pattern and/or a kit including the pattern and yarn.
  • Read through the CAL announcement to find out where the action is. Whether it’s in a Facebook or Ravelry group, or in person in your community, you’ll have the most fun if you interact with other crocheters, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
  • Don’t be surprised if the patterns or projects include new-to-you techniques and skills. Go easy on yourself if you’re feeling challenged. CALs are great places to ask for help and you’ll be proud of yourself later when you learn something new.
  • If you feel confident about your crochet skills, don’t be afraid to help out. Share your abilities with other crocheters and you’ll be helping the group have a fun CAL.
  • And, just like elsewhere in life, be nice! It takes a lot of work to organize and host a CAL, but not every CAL is right for every crocheter. If the CAL doesn’t appeal to you, find another one that’s a better fit for your interests and skills.

Where do you find out about crochet-a-longs?

Expand Your Crochet and Knitting Skills with Craftsy Classes

Every year, I try to boost my own crafting skills by taking classes, reading books, and challenging myself to learn new things. It’s easy to make the same projects over and over, but sometimes that causes us to lose our passion for the crafts that we love.

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I’m lucky enough to live in New York City, so I have access to many amazing yarn shops, teachers, and events. But not everyone has so many crochet and knitting resources at their fingertips, and even I struggle with finding the time for it all.

Enter Craftsy. In addition to being a marketplace for patterns and crafting supplies, Craftsy also offers an incredible array of online classes in crochet, knitting, sewing, baking, photography, and pretty much every other craft imaginable. You can keep your skills fresh by taking classes on your schedule.

Expand Your #Crochet and #Knitting Skills with Craftsy Classes on Underground CrafterNow, some people may worry about taking classes online, but I’ve taken several Craftsy classes myself, and I’ve even shared class reviews and interviews with several Craftsy instructors before:

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet Craftsy class reviewed by Underground Crafter

My review of Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet, taught by Dora Ohrenstein. Image © Craftsy.

Everything you ever needed to know about tapestry needles and new Seaming Crochet Craftsy class - guest post by Lindsey Stephens on Underground Crafter

Guest post by Lindsey Stephens, teacher of Seaming Crochet. Image © Craftsy.

Interview with Beth Graham, teacher of Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches, on the Crochet Guild of America blog.

Interview with Beth Graham, teacher of Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches, on the Crochet Guild of America blog.

I have my eye on some other classes, too.


Have you ever wondered what Craftsy classes other people are taking?

Not only have I taken Craftsy classes and enjoyed them, but so have other Underground Crafter readers. Recently, Craftsy shared a list with me of all the classes Underground Crafter readers have bought through my affiliate links, and today I’m sharing that list with you!

Most-Purchased Crochet Classes by Underground Crafter Readers

  1. Quick & Easy Crochet Cowls, taught by Tamara Kelly (read my interview with Tamara here),
  2. Crocheting in the Round: Mix & Match Hats, taught by Stacey Trock (read my interview with Stacey here),
  3. Improve Your Crochet: Essential Techniques, taught by Edie Eckman,
  4. Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches, taught by Marty Miller,
  5. Save Our Stitches: Fixing Crochet Mistakes, taught by Andi Smith,
  6. Professional Finishing for Perfect Crochet, taught by Linda Permann,
  7. Crochet: Beyond Rectangles, taught by Linda Permann,
  8. See It, Crochet It: Reading Diagrams, taught by Charles Voth (read my interview with Charles here), and
  9. Crochet Mittens & Fingerless Gloves, taught by Brenda K.B. Anderson.

Most-Purchased Knitting Classes by Underground Crafter Readers

  1. Stranded Colorwork: The Basics and Beyond, taught by Sunne Meyer,
  2. Estonian Lace Explained, taught by Nancy Bush,
  3. Knit This: Mastering Lace Shawls, taught by Laura Nelkin,
  4. Knitting with Beads, taught by Laura Nelkin,
  5. Lace From the Inside Out: Advancing Lace Techniques, taught by Laura Nelkin,
  6. Improve Your Knitting: Alternative Methods and Styles , taught by Patty Lyons,
  7. Explorations in Cables, taught by Patty Lyons,
  8. Lace Knitting: Basics and Beyond, taught by Eunny Jang,
  9. Knit Lab: In the Round, taught by Stefanie Japel,
  10. Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know, taught by Sally Melville,
  11. Color Patterning With Hand-Dyed Yarns, taught by Laura Bryant,
  12. Twined Knitting, taught by Beth Brown Reinsel,
  13. Knit Original Toe-Up Socks, taught by Donna Druchunas,
  14. Next Steps in Fair Isle: Mittens & Hat, taught by Donna Druchunas,
  15. Celtic Cables, taught by Carol Feller,
  16. Essential Short Row Techniques, taught by Carol Feller,
  17. Perfect Knits Every Time: Understanding Knitting Patterns, taught by Kate Atherley,
  18. My First Infinity Scarf, taught by Vicki Square,
  19. My First Sweater, taught by Amy Ross,
  20. Mittens and Gloves Galore, taught by Marly Bird, and
  21. Knit Faster with Portugese Knitting, taught by Andrea Wong.

And, since I said I wanted to do more sewing in 2016,

Most-Purchased Sewing Classes by Underground Crafter Readers

  1. Building Better Bags: Interfacing & Structure, taught by Sara Lawson,
  2. Serger Solutions: Troubleshooting Techniques, taught by Sara Snuggerud,
  3. Zip It Up: Easy Techniques for Zippered Bags, taught by Joan Hawley,
  4. Sewing Designer Details with Simplicty, taught by Joy Macdonell.

What Craftsy classes have you taken? Which ones are on your wish list?

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: How to make the most out of your first (or next) yarn show or fiber festival

#HowTo make the most out of your first (or next) #yarn show or fiber festival | #Crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground CrafterYarn shows, also called fiber festivals, are wonderful social events that span the course of a day or even a weekend. At a yarn show, you can visit the booths of many yarn companies and shops, see firsthand and purchase different types of yarn, take classes at a variety of skill levels to improve your crochet/knitting/yarn spinning/yarn dyeing knowledge, and interact with other likeminded attendees.

Whether you know many other crocheters (or knitters), or you feel like the only one in your community, attending a fiber festival can be a wonderful experience.

At the same time, going to a yarn show or fiber festival for the first time can be overwhelming. Here are four tips for planning your first trip (or your next trip) to a yarn show or fiber festival so that you have a great time.

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Find the Right Event for You

Many crocheters and knitters prefer to have their first festival experience close to home, while others want to combine travel with their love of yarn. The Knitter’s Review maintains one of the most comprehensive lists of fiber events throughout the world, organized by date. Although some of these events are knitting focused, more and more cater to crocheters, others are all about spinning, and some welcome a variety of yarn crafts.

Full Moon Farm booth at Vogue Knitting Live (New York) 2014.

Full Moon Farm booth at Vogue Knitting Live (New York) 2014.

Your local chapter of the Crochet Guild of America (or your local guild of The Knitting Guild Association) is another great source of information. Many chapters/guilds organize trips to local or regional festivals. If you want to spend several days away from home and meet enthusiastic crocheters from around the world, consider traveling to the annual Knit and Crochet Show, co-sponsored by the Crochet Guild of America and The Knitting Guild Association.

Plan Your Schedule

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed once you get on site, particularly at a large fiber festival. It helps to look through the agenda in advance and set up a tentative schedule.

Meeting the animals at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival is always fun.

Meeting the animals at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival is always fun.

If you’re on a budget, look for free events such as fashion shows, lectures, or book signings. You may want to ask local chapter or guild members, or friends from online forums like Crochetville or Ravelry, for suggestions about favorite activities. (If you are traveling for to an unfamiliar venue, don’t forget to ask about great food near the festival, too!)

Keep in mind that at events that are primarily knitting focused, crochet classes may be cancelled if enrollment minimums aren’t met, so registering early is important.

Although you may have planned out your schedule in advance, remember that flexibility is key. Your favorite speaker may be sick on the day of the event, or you may find that you would rather go to lunch with some new friends than shop.

CraftsyDress (and Pack) for the Festival

Your wardrobe and packing list should be customized for the festival you choose. Many attendees will showcase a special project by wearing it. Some crocheters or knitters spend the months before a large event working on show-stopping garments. A shawlette in a pretty yarn, crochet or knitted jewelry, or a fun hat are great last minute projects to wear.

Comfort is also important as fiber events typically involve a combination of walking, sitting for long periods, and carrying bags of yarn. For a large festival, comfortable footwear is critical. Dressing in layers can help at both indoor and outdoor festivals as temperatures may fluctuate.

Here's a quick project I made to wear to Vogue Knitting Live (New York) in 2013.

Here’s a quick project I made to wear to Vogue Knitting Live (New York) in 2013.

Bring a small day bag or purse rather than a large bag or backpack as you may find the marketplace crowded with limited aisle space. Don’t forget to charge your camera or phone so you can take pictures. If you are attending classes, bring the required supplies and any homework listed on the registration form.

Expand Your Knitting SkillsBudget for the Marketplace

It can be easy to go overboard on your first trip to a fiber festival, especially since most vendors now accept credit cards. You will be exposed to new yarn lines, fibers, brands, and colors that aren’t usually available in your local area, as well as delightful tools and accessories.

Before going to the festival, consider setting a budget. You can set your budget as a dollar amount, or as a limit to the number of yarn skeins or books you will buy. If your budget is strict, keep your charge cards at home (or in your hotel room) and bring only cash with you.

My yarn and roving haul from the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in 2012.

My yarn and roving haul from the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in 2012.

At a smaller festival, you may be able to walk through the marketplace once before purchasing anything. At a larger festival, that will be infeasible. If keeping to a budget is important, bring along a wish list so you can separate an impulse buy from a purchase you’ll feel good about later.

With a little planning, you can have a wonderful time at your first fiber festival. You may even find yourself hooked!

What tips do you have for yarn show/fiber festival newbies?