Do You Follow the CAL (crochet-a-long)? 10 Reasons You Should!

CAL’s (crochet-a-long) are extremely popular today. Almost every week I can see announcements about new CAL’s coming up. Some of them are quick and small, and some of them are very long, taking weeks. And even months. What is so special about the CAL phenomena? And why people like them? I was trying to think of possible reasons. From my own experience.
Last Dance on the Beach Blanket and 10 reasons to follow the CAL.
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The first CAL I came across was Sophie Universe designed by Dedri Uys from Look At What I Made. It is about epic large blanket with lots of colors and structure. And later last year I run my own first ever CAL Circles of the Sun, which is about 9 small squares in overlay crochet technique joined together into a pillow cover. But I have never followed any CAL’s myself. Until recently, when Last Dance on the Beach was released by Scheepjes. And I am a part of it.
Last Dance on the Beach. Week 1 and 2
Last Dance on the Beach. Weeks 1 and 2.
So what is CAL? As the definition "crochet-a-long" says, it’s an event connecting several (or many) people together who crochet one project at the same time.

CAL’s can be mystery and regular. In mystery CAL you don’t see the finished project till you come to the end: every week a new part is released and your wip is growing, but there is still a secret about the final look. And in regular CAL’s you can see the final product at once. Both variations have their advantages. Mystery CAL has a kind of secrecy and excitement. And in regular CAL there is more space for choosing right shades and thinking about possible color ways.

Last Dance on the Beach. Week 1
Last Dance on the Beach. Week 1 and creative chaos.
Some CAL’s make choosing yarns even easier, because there are ready kits available for purchase with exact amount of each shade you need. Sophie Universe and Last Dance on the Beach are very good examples, as both offer a variety of kits. You can check them on Wool Warehouse* (Sophie, Last Dance), Deramores* (Sophie) and Paradise Fibers* (US) – Last Dance.
Do you follow the CAL? 10 reasons you should!

By the way today a new square from Last Dance on the Beach was released, and it’s week 6 already!! It was designed by Carmen from Crafty Queens in corner-to-corner technique (you can download the pattern HERE, and video tutorial is available HERE). I am also following this CAL and here are my finished squares (blue):
Last Dance on the Beach. Weeks 5 and 6

This CAL is a kind of a challenge for me as I am learning new techniques and stitches every week. Last time I heard about seagull stitch, which was used by Nerissa from Miss Neriss in her design (here are the pattern and video). Isn’t this square filled with meaning and emotions? I LOVE it!
Last Dance on the Beach. Week 5

So what are the reasons to follow the CAL? I have created a list of 10 thoughts. The numbers don’t mean some of them are more or less important. But if you have never followed any CAL’s, I hope you will find a good enough reason for yourself.

  1. New fresh design. Many CAL’s involve newly created designs which have never been published before. And joining the CAL gives you an opportunity to be on the top of the trend. But it’s also true that sometimes designers decide to run a CAL with already existing pattern. Just for fun.
  2. Designer’s support. Because CAL is run in real time, the designer is also available for answering questions and giving help and advice if needed. Many designers have their own groups on Facebook and Ravelry, and it is very easy to reach them. By the way you can have a look at my own Ravelry group HERE. I will be happy to hear from you and see your finished projects. Or you can also share your pictures with me on Facebook HERE.
  3. Support from other crafters. Very often CAL’s unite hundreds and of thousands people, all passionate and excited about crochet. They hang around in specially created groups and are happy to help each other when there are any problems with understanding the pattern.
  4. Making new friends. Online community is amazing. When I started to design I got many new people to know from all over the world. And surprisingly many of them became my friends (though I am a total introvert, yes).
  5. Learning new tricks and techniques. As mentioned about I learn a lot from following Last Dance on the Beach CAL. It is all about new techniques and stitches. Every week I am introduced to something I have never known before. And feel how my general crochet level is increasing.
  6. A chance to (finally) finish your WIP. Do you have the same problem as I? Lots of unfinished wips and new projects coming in all the time. And CAL is really great in this situation because it motivates to finish what you’ve started. Because of the huge energy coming from the craft community and wish to interact with other people. It’s a little bit sad to give up and abandon the project when others are going on and their projects are growing.
  7. Crochet therapy. During the CAL you are forced (in a way) to crochet regularly. And great healing power of crochet is well known. When you follow the CAL, you are never alone. You can talk to other people and share not only your projects, but also your feelings and concerns. And it helps you to stay in line when you mostly need it.
  8. Discovery of new resources, designers and blogs. Following the CAL opens a window to the whole new world of resources and ideas you haven’t probably heard about… When I see a new CAL coming up, first thing I do is checking designer’s page and blog. And often I make wonderful discoveries and start following inspiring blogs.
  9. Building self-confidence. Because of the permanent support from designers and other fellow crocheters during the CAL, the problems with reading and understanding the pattern are being resolved themselves. And I believe with this support you can very often cope with something you would not be able to do on your own. And this definitely helps to raise self-confidence.
  10. Giving birth to your own creative child. Working altogether with one and same pattern, people sometimes begin to think of their own tricks and variations. I believe that following the CAL can help develop the freedom of crochet, and give space to some self-designed elements. You should though be aware of the copyright issue! :)

Here are my reasons to join the CAL. What are yours?

And here is how my Last Dance on the Beach blanket looks so far:
Last Dance on the Beach Blanket and 10 reasons to follow the CAL.

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  1. Great post and I completely agree! I have participated and hosted various knitalongs, but this is also my first crochet-along and I am learning so much and enjoy the community.Your squares are beautiful xxx

    1. Thank you Sarah! I love your squares. You are primarily a knitter, right? But you are doing just great with all those new crochet techniques!

  2. What a lovely colours you use for this CAL ! Really gorgeous.
    I finished two times a CAL and I am considering making this one. I find it a great design.
    I look forward to your progess
    With warm wishes Manon

    1. Thank you! I chose Dance under the Rain kit in Merino Soft, but excluded whites and browns.So my blanket will be all blue and grey :)

  3. I love this blog post! Last Dance on the Beach is the first CAL I have participated in after contemplating many many more. I love the structure of the CAL, knowing that each week my project will grow and eventually become something beautiful. I love that designers are approachable, fun and informative. Its like a masterclass of crochet techniques and from that I know my crochet skills will grow, and that I am learning constantly. You are so right about giving birth to our own creative child. I have thoughts and ideas racing through my head and have started keeping a notebook close at hand with yarn at hooks now permanently at my desk to play with.

    1. Just to "warn" you: once your creative stream is out it will be very difficult to hide it back. ;-)

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