There’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.
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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.
Ravelry is my favorite place to look for online crochet-a-longs. Membership is required, but it’s free to join.
- The KAL Fanatics Group has a special thread for CALs every month, so you can find one that is happening right now.
- Designers often announce CALs in the Needlework News & Events forum.
- Many designers have Ravelry groups. In the Underground Crafter group, I often host CALs.
- Many multi-designer CALs, like the Holiday Stashdown Crochet-a-Long, have a dedicated Ravelry group.
- You can even search for Ravelry groups with “-alongs.”
- If you’re new to Ravelry, read this post to find out how to add a project to Ravelry for an online crochet- or knit-a-long.
Another great way to find online CALs is through Facebook.
- The CAL – Crochet A Long group maintains a calendar of CALs going on around the web and also hosts in-group CALs.
- Announcements for upcoming CALs are often shared in many of the large crochet groups like Crochet Addict, Free Crochet Patterns, and My Hobby Is Crochet.
- Many designers have Facebook groups where they host CALs. For example, Melody Rogers frequent hosts CALs and Knit-a-longs in the Melody’s Makings group.
- Many multi-designer CALs, like the Holiday Stashdown Crochet-a-Long, have a dedicated Facebook group. Others, like the Wonder Blanket CAL are hosted by a multi-designer Facebook group, like Crochet with Us.
Through Your Favorite Designers and Bloggers
Many designers and crochet bloggers routinely host crochet-a-longs.
- A great way to find out about upcoming CALs is to subscribe to the newsletters or blog RSS feeds of your favorite designers and bloggers. (You can sign up for the Underground Crafter newsletter here. I share information about CALs all the time!)
- Oombawka Design has a frequently updated list of 2016 crochet-a-longs here.
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.
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.